Gingerbread Houses (revisited)

This is another in a series of posts about making Gingerbread Houses.

If you haven't already please read our main post here: Gingerbread Houses, pattern and a tutorial

Here are two recipes for the dough you can use:
Gingerbread Cookies recipe
Gingerbread Cookies--Nauvoo Scoville Bakery recipe

My own family recently made our 2011 edition gingerbread houses and I took some additional photos to add to the collection.  They might give you a few more tips or ideas if you're making gingerbread houses for the first time. 

You can use Melinda's pattern for a small house (you get at least 4 houses out of one batch of dough).  Follow the link from our main post to get the beautiful pattern!

Another option if you want a slightly larger small house is to make a pattern from three 3x5 cards.  One batch of dough will make enough pieces for 3 1/2 of these houses (I made a double batch because I made 7 houses).

Cut one gable, one inch off of one card, and use the other card whole.

Some tips for cutting out your pieces--

On a pastry cloth (a closely woven cloth that you can cut on--if you have a stone counter top then you probably don't need one) roll out your dough into as big of piece as possible.  I like to flour my cloth and place several large clumps of dough around and roll that out to make one big sheet of dough.  (If you roll out one large mound of dough the flour tends to get absorbed in the middle and the dough sticks.)

My favorite tools are a long metal ruler and a pizza rotary cutter.  I use the pattern pieces as a guide to cut long strips of dough.

Then I cut the strips into the correct size pieces--as many as I need.  You need 6 pieces for each house--two roof, two sides, two gabled ends.  I usually cut all the rectangles first and then the gabled pieces at the end.  You can use a sharp knife to cut out around the pattern pieces or you can use the pizza cutter.

Lift the pieces onto a cookie sheet and bake.  My house pieces took about 11-12 minutes to cook in my oven (these are larger than small cookies and take more time). 
After they're done cooking, allow the pieces to cool on the pan a minute, transfer them to a wire rack to completely cool, and either store for later use or assemble.

I like to assemble all of the houses first before it's time to decorate.  That allows enough time for the icing to harden so the houses don't collapse.  For several years I used a buttercream frosting, but after several house collapses I started to make Royal Icing to glue the houses together.  It seemed like an extra, unnecessary step--but it does work better. 
Cap the side pieces with the gable ends.  Glue all four sides together and then glue the two roof pieces on.  (When I say "glue" I mean use a thick frosting or Royal Icing!)  I'll post the Royal Icing recipe in another post.

You can use the Royal Icing to decorate the houses with candy.  But, I really like to use regular frosting--either store bought frosting or a buttercream.  I'd rather eat the regular frosting!  For heavy candies you can use the leftover Royal Icing. 
Children each enjoy doing their own thing with the houses.  The older children tend to get more elaborate with their design--or like one son they load the house up with as much candy as it can handle!
You may have seen in the above pictures one lone house made out of graham crackers.  This was the house for my son who is allergic to eggs.  It was definitely much easier to make!  I used 6 graham crackers--4 whole and 2 with gables cut into them.  To cut graham crackers just saw gently with a serrated knife.  I stuck it together with (following Melinda's tip) some store-bought frosting thickened with some powdered sugar.  Did you know that store-bought frosting is dairy and egg free?  On this house it seemed to work better to have the side pieces sit to the side of the gabled ends (can you see in the photo?).  This was a much easier compromise than making up his own batch of dough, frosting, etc. 
Happy Gingerbread House making!

Comments

  1. This year I really didn't want to make royal icing and so I glued my our houses together. And when I say glue I mean I got out my trusty hot glue gun and went to work. It was fantastic and I just warned the kids to not eat the glue!

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  2. Becky--ha! :) What a smart idea! (...and it would be egg-free!)

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