If you’re a kid, gingerbread houses are wondrous holiday crafts. They’re pretty great if you’re an adult too. But have you ever made a gingerbread house from scratch? Holiday gingerbread houses are a ton of work, until now. You can create real, from-scratch, gingerbread houses. Follow my “Gingerbread Houses for Dummies” guide to learn more.
Too good to be true? I pinky-promise you and your family can build your own gingerbread house.
A simple house starts with a simple design. A-frame gingerbread houses are the definition of simple. They also offer plenty of “roof” for little hands to cover with candy and sugar-coated goodness. Not to mention, these houses are “dummy approved,” I guarantee. My inspiration came from Nikko of Tikkido. She was a former pastry chef at the White House. I decided if she can make sugary houses for the president, I can totally trust her. I mixed up a batch of gingerbread dough, using her presidential recipe and free cutting template. It was surprisingly empowering, in a National Security kind of way. My Kitchen Aid mixer never felt so prestigious.
The wall template is simplistic and awesome. It’s really just a triangle with a door. Feeling very Martha Stewart-ish, I baked them as directed, and much to my surprise the triangular walls and roof pieces turned out beautifully. We experienced only one gingerbread section casualty when I became over zealous with the spatula.
After the cookie sections cool completely, the gingerbread house “framing” begins.
But first, trim the edges with a long, sharp knife so you have straight (not rounded over) edges. Instead of regular cookie frosting, be sure to follow an icing recipe made for securing gingerbread houses. A good icing dries like cement. (When it came time to eat our houses last year, my kids used a lobster cracking hammer to break the sections apart.)
There are lots of great gingerbread icing recipes. This is one of my favorites.
(Note: please be aware that the recipe contains raw egg whites, but lots of other recipes feature stiffening agents such as meringue powder, instead.) If your kiddos are preschool age or younger, I suggest you slather the roof pieces with icing and decorate them before securing to the house. Next, add icing windows and more candy (think colorful and variety) to perfect your gingerbread creations.
My children are already talking about making gingerbread houses this holiday season. It’s quickly becoming a family tradition in our house. I hope you try new experiences with your family, including gingerbread houses. They might just become a new tradition.