I saved this classic for last, because it’s a perfect holiday project for the whole family, and it’s one where you can let your creativity run free! The kids will love helping you decorate your gingerbread house, and in exchange, you can just pretend not to notice when they sneak a gumdrop.
- 1 1/4 cups packed dark-brown sugar
- 3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Baking sheets
- Rolling pin
- Pastry bag
- Various candies
Make the dough. This is not a recipe that I would use to make cookies, but it is great for building houses. Mix the brown sugar, molasses, butter, spices, and salt in a medium saucepan over very low heat until sugar is dissolved. This should only take a couple minutes. When the sugar seems dissolved, remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool. Once it is pretty close to room temperature, stir in milk.
Pour the sugar, molasses, and milk mixture into a large mixing bowl and add in the baking powder and flour. You may need to knead the dough a little to get all the flour mixed in. Wrap in plastic, and let the dough chill in the refrigerator for about six to eight hours.
Draw your template.
Divide the dough in half, and roll it out on two baking sheets to about 1/4 of an inch thickness.
Use your template to draw your house and cut it out using a knife. Remove excess dough.
Bake at 450 degrees for about 12-14 minutes. Since we’re not eating it, a little overdone is better than underdone.
Now it’s time to assemble your house! It is very important you let your gingerbread cool completely before you try to assemble it! If you don’t, the icing will melt and it will not stick together.
You will need a sturdy base for your house, such as a baking sheet or a double layer of corrugated cardboard covered in aluminum foil. Using your icing just like glue, apply the icing to the inside of your house to stick your four walls together. It does help to have an extra pair of hands for this part. Next, apply icing to the tops of all four walls to attach your roof. You may need to hold it in place for a few minutes to help the icing set. If it keeps sliding, use toothpicks to pin the roof to the walls.
Collect your “decor” & tools. This is the part where the pastry bag really comes in handy. You can use it to add texture to your house or just to apply candies.
Decorate! Get creative. As seems to be my theme this Christmas, I went with all white.
I used white gumdrops, white chocolates, and yogurt covered pretzels. I did scalloped shingles, “dusted” a little snow in the windows, and piped icicles. Play with different tips on your pastry bag to get different textures in different places. I finished it off with a marshmallow snowman and little marshmallows for light fluffy snow. You could also use shaved coconut for the snow.
Are you making a gingerbread house this year? Share your decorating ideas in the comments below!
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