How to Build a Gingerbread House Without a Kit
Skip the kit this holiday season! Making a gingerbread house from scratch is easy, fun, and will result in a dessert you'd actually want to eat too. The two crucial elements needed are 1) a delicious gingerbread recipe, and 2) a sticky frosting! You can find hundreds of great, free gingerbread house templates online - here's a collection of 20 easy ones to start with - but here's a basic, great one you can try at home today!
"Swedish Gingerbread House from Martha Stewart"
GENERAL MATERIALS NEEDED
For the intrepid Gingerbread Architect, here's a basic outline of what you'll need to begin building.
Tip: make the dough 1 day ahead of assembly
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, soft
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup unsulfered molasses
- Sift together flour, baking soda, and spices in a large bowl.
- In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it's light and fluffy. Mix in eggs and molasses.
- Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Divide dough into smaller groups and wrap each in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour (or overnight).
- When you're ready to roll out the dough, let it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Roll out the dough on a wax paper parchment or lightly floured work surface, to about 1/8 inch thick. (It's a good idea to refrigerate the dough again for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to cut).
- Cut your gingerbread-house pieces out according to your chosen template. THIS is the template you need to re-create this beautiful Swedish-style Gingerbread House; cut out two additional 7 by 7 1/2 inch gingerbread rectangles to make the roof.
- Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until crisp - about 8 to 10 minutes. When they're done, remove them from the oven, let them sit for a few minutes, and then move them to a wire rack to cool completely!
- 2 egg whites
- 5 cups confectioners' sugar
- Lightly whisk the egg whites and gradually add all of the confectioner's sugar. The icing should be smooth and stand in firm peaks.
- Make more icing as needed to decorate!
- Use the frosting to "glue" all the sides of the house together, starting with the walls and moving upward to the roof and chimney. Let it sit for a bit so that the frosting can firm up.
- Put your frosting into a piping bag fitted with a medium, plain tip and carefully draw the detailing on the roof, around the windows and doors, et cetera.
- If you're using extra decorations like candy and cinnamon, just apply some frosting-glue to the back and apply it as creatively as you like!