Easy Gingerbread House Recipe
Gingerbread houses are the epitome of Christmas. Everything about them – from the warm, spicy scented gingerbread, to the sweetness of the icing, to the snowy look of them (that you probably created for fun as a family) all do their part to let us know that Christmas time is here.
Ironically, I’ve never made a gingerbread house. Not that I haven’t wanted to, it’s just not something my family ever did.
But this year, that changed. We made one, and we loved it!
There are a few things that set this house apart from the more traditional, candy-laden gingerbread houses:
a.) It’s gluten-free.
For those of you with gluten intolerance/celiac disease who like to eat your gingerbread, this is for you. I admit that I strongly considered buying a bag of wheat flour for this project, because I wasn’t sure how well gluten-free gingerbread would hold up, but I’m glad I didn’t. It not only held up beautifully, but my husband (who is allergic to wheat) really enjoyed getting to partake in the house building and scrap eating.
b.) This house isn’t decorated with candy.
I’m happy to let my kids eat homemade gingerbread, but I know that if we covered this house with candy, it would eventually end up in their mouths. Ick! No thanks.
c.) It’s very simple.
This seemed prudent since I’d never made a gingerbread house before. Besides, I’ve most often found that simplicity is beautiful. To make things super easy, we piped icing doors and windows, rather than cutting them out. I think this helped keep the house sturdy, too. There were no weak points to break on us as we connected the sides with icing.
So, with all that out of the way, let’s get to work! This recipe makes just enough for one house using the measurements specified, with very little excess. It’s definitely sturdy enough to make a larger house though, so feel free to double it and increase the dimensions or use a different template.
How To Make A Simple Gingerbread House
- 1/2 C. Butter
- 1/2 C. Brown Sugar
- 1/2 C. Unsulphured Molasses
- 1/2 t. Vanilla Extract
- 2-1/2 t. Ground Ginger
- 1t. Cinnamon
- 1/2 t. Fresh Ground Nutmeg
- 1/4 t. Ground Cloves
- 1-1/4 t. Baking Soda
- 1/2 t. Sea Salt
- 1 t. Guar Gum
- 1/2 C. Corn Flour
- 3/4 C. Light Buckwheat Flour
- 1/2 C. Brown Rice Flour
- 1/2 C. Cornstarch
- 1/4 C. Millet Flour
Preheat oven to 350 (or 325 in Convection oven).
Combine shortening and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with a paddle until light and fluffy. Add in molasses and vanilla and continue to mix.
Separately, combine all dry ingredients together. Add to the wet mixture. The dough will be crumbly at first but will soon come together.
The dough should be very stiff – perfect for rolling out!
Roll out to 1/3-1/2 inch thick and arrange your gingerbread house templates on top.
Cut out each piece (two long sides, two short sides, and two roof pieces) on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until slightly risen with a touch of color at the edges. Cool. Store in a airtight container for up to a month.
Make Royal Icing
- 4 egg whites
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Beat and egg white until frothy.
Add 1 lb. of powdered sugar and continue beating until icing is stiff.
The big key to royal icing is making sure that your tools, and work area, are free of grease. Since royal icing is a meringue, it begins to break down as soon as it comes into contact with oil.
So, if you use your decorating bags or tips for buttercream, make sure you clean them with vinegar before using them. I also recommend using either a new bag, or making one out of parchment paper, rather than risking using a greasy bag.
Decorate Your House
Decide where you want to put the windows and doors and decorate the roof if you want to. The key is to do all of this before you put your house together. It is so much easier to pipe icing onto a flat surface, or a cookie that’s being propped up on something solid, rather than trying to decorate the standing house without knocking it down.
Assemble Your House
- Prepare the surface on which you intend to stand your gingerbread house. I used a large wooden cutting board. You’ll want it cleared off and handy for the next step.
- Working quickly, pipe icing around the inside perimeter, and bottom edge of one of the long side pieces. Place the piece firmly down onto your cutting board (or preferred surface). The icing on the bottom will help it stay put.
- Now pipe icing onto the outside edges of the sides and bottom of one of the short sides. Place it firmly up against the insides of the long side.
- You may need to reinforce the sides by piping additional icing along the inner and outer edges, but if it’s too sloppy, consider whether your icing is stiff enough. If so, go back and thicken it up.
- Repeat with second short side.
- Finish the sides of your house by piping icing onto the bottom of the second long side and attaching it to the open side of your house.
- Now pipe icing all along the top edges of the standing sides and carefully place the roof on top. You may need to hold it while the icing dries a bit.
Pipe icing on your board to create landscaping and walkways. To keep things really simple, use liberal sprinklings of powdered sugar as snow.
That’s it! Read through the assembly instructions a few times before you start, and I promise you, you’ll find that it’s not as complicated as it first sounds.
If this is your first ever gingerbread house, like it was mine, you may make mistakes but the creation process is half, if not more, of the fun!
Whatever the case, be proud that you made a gingerbread house 100% from scratch!