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Is this for just one house? I have three toddlers coming over tomorrow and would love to do this. Should I just double the recipe?
Hi Caitlin, yes, this is just for one house. Just one house is plenty of work, so if it were up to me, I wouldn’t do a double batch. But if you have the energy and inspiration, go for it!
My daughter is having to decorate a cardboard graham cracker gingerbread house at school tomorrow. I just need ideas on decorating tips and ideas. I’ve never attempted any kind of gingerbread house and I’m not creative. Please help!
I love this recipe for ginger bread… I use this mold I found on Amazon to make the houses. Makes it very easy and looks great!!!
I am a beginning baker but decided that we would tackle this prefect instead of buying a pre-made kit. I’m glad we did it! Of course it took longer than anticipated and there were various setbacks, but it came out pretty good for a first attempt. I printed the patterns from a MacBook Pro and used them in the shaping of the rolled out dough, they resulted in a size that was about 1/3 less than it should have been according to the inches printed on the templates. I’m happy to say that the gingerbread house is still big enough to decorate and to have fun with. We made some cookies with some the leftover dough but still have about 1/3 of the dough left. The decorating was a free for all, so unless that’s what you desire, a planned layout of decorations might be the way to go.
I don’t like gingerbread can you use any other dough
Perhaps. I don’t know of any other kind that would work though. By the way, the gingerbread in the gingerbread house isn’t intended to be eaten. It’s for display. It is edible, but that doesn’t mean one should eat it. Especially if it’s been sitting out for a week.
Does this recipe only make 1 house? Just wondering, I’ve seen some other recipes that call for 2 cups of flour…just wondering. I am hoping to make 5- this will be our first time ever making the houses from scratch, we usually use the kits.
Yes, this recipe makes one house. If this is your first time making a gingerbread house, I would start with making just one (think of it a the “starter home” before you build the village) so you get the hang of the process.
I used the recipe put everything together looked great till I got up the next day and the roof had sagging in the middle and it was firm but spongy.Can anyone advise Thanks Sam
It sounds like there may be too much humidity where you are, or the roof pieces were not baked hard enough.
You COULD put an extra wall in the middle of the house
thanks for saying that shane! i used this recipe to make a bigger house probably about 2x the size and i almost made 2x the dough before reading your comment. i went with 3/2x the recipe and probably had a little more than i needed – 6 gingerbread men, a cat, a dog, 4 trees, 2 bushes, and tasting cookies with the rest of it,
Thank you Elise for this wonderful recipe. We had fun making our “cottages”. Merry Christmas!
Love it Donna! Adorable. ~Elise
My children (6 and 3) and I made our first gingerbread house ever yesterday using these directions. Everyone advised me to buy a kit, but stubbornly, I did not. I am so glad! Our house turned out so cute, and we had so much fun decorating it. Your directions could not have been more complete–they made the whole process run smoothly. Thanks.
I doubled the recipe to make two houses, but found it to be way too much. Along with the houses, we have an army of gingerbread men!
Thanks so much for the use of your recipes and ideas. First time I’ve every made gingerbread. I made one for each of my grands. I made marshmallow fondant shingles for two of them and also used the pieces for a stone sidewalk. Thanks again.
So happy to have discovered your recipe! I live in Sweden so I was able to find pre-made gingerbread cookie dough, but used your pattern. My pieces were not as crisp on the edges, after baking, but I cut them out only using the pattern on paper. The icing turned out beautifully, I used 3 egg whites and closer to 4-5 cups of powdered sugar to get the stiff peaks. But the icing was like cement and dried quickly when putting the house together. My girls are 2 and 4 and were so excited to help make their first gingerbread house. I found your information incredibly helpful for first timers like me. Thanks so much!
Wow this recipe is very detailed and just great!!
How long would you guess this takes from start to finish?
I’ve done it all in one very long, Bourbon-enhanced night. But I would recommend three nights for a more sane approach. One night to make the pattern and bake the forms. One night to construct the house and “glue” together with frosting. One night to decorate. ~Elise
l made one for my friend 2 weeks ago because l finished early to go to canada she is going to a different school so l am very sad… it was the perfect gift and though l an only 14 l think l did a good job
Wanted to know if I could make the dough and bake then freeze? I don’t always have a lot of time and if I had the pieces in the freezer, it would make it soooo much easier. I am an activity director at a retirement home and planning on making a couple for our holiday bazaar.
I would roll out the dough, cut it into forms, and then freeze before baking. Freezing after baking? I don’t know how well that would work. Upon defrosting the form might not keep its structure. But if you try it, please let us know how it works for you. ~Elise
I think that it was the best thing ever!!!!
I’m a first timer with GB houses, my son has been asking for years and I kept saying no because I thought it would a lot of work and a hard project. I finally gave in this year and I have to say it’s been pretty easy and been a lot of fun for the two of us. Thank You Elise!!!!!!!!!!!
I made a half of a batch of the icing with heating it in the microwave, it took additional 20 seconds to reach 160 degrees. In doing so some of the egg whites did cook so we had bits of egg white chunks. But after beating on high until stiff the egg white chunks had disappreaded. Thanks again Elise
This is a follow up post…here are pictures of things I made from two batches of this gingerbread recipe, done at two separate times. (Beach scenes, train, golf clubhouse.) I had a blast and am hooked! Thanks again, Elise.http://www.midfloridamilers.org/gingerbread%202010/
Those are great, what fun! ~Elise
Wow this recipe is amazing I made it with my mum and it worked great. Thankyou so so so much for posting this recipe and I had a lot of fun making it. Tilmann!
Alright, so, my girlfriend and I tried this recipe. The gingerbread pieces came out alright, even though we cut them free-handed, without layout pieces. We set up a piece of cardboard and started to ice the edges and hold them together for 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes… 20 minutes goes by and now we’re yelling at each other because not only won’t the icing stick to the gingerbread or the parchment paper (on the cardboard), but now almost 3 hours later the icing is just beginning to harden — except on the places where we didn’t want it to be, on the walls, the pots and pans, on the laptop and the table, in these places it’s harder than stone. We tried adding sugar, we even tried holding the damn house up with pink tape, but it kept falling apart and now most of the pieces are broken. This was a disaster. We followed the recipe and instructions to the letter. What could we have done wrong?
No idea. Royal icing firms up very quickly, and becomes really really hard. Don’t know why it is working for you in some places and not in others. ~Elise
Thank you Elise for the great post and your amazing blog!
I also only use melted sugar as glue -it’s a little tricky, because is does solidify so quickly, but you can start decorating immediately, if you want to. It is also stronger than the frosting. The hardest part is keeping kids away -there is a real threat of burning yourself with the sugar.
A couple of tricks that work well with houses (especially, if you don’t plan on eating it): use less leavening, so your pieces stay in their inteded shape better while baking. Add extra spices, and the house will smell stronger for longer (I love it, when I can get a whiff of the gingerbread house, when I walk by).
My aunt also makes colored “stained glass” windows on her gingerbread houses by placing a piece of candy in the cut out before putting the pieces in the oven. The candy melts in the oven, and makes a sheet of “stained glass”. She usually makes a castle or tower that is open at the top, and fills them with candy/treats.
If you do that with the candy for the stained glass window effect do you crush it first?
I just made my first ever gingerbread house and thanks to your fantastic instructions it went beautifully. However I am a little confused – and wondering if anyone has struck the same thing – the recipe made more than twice the amount of dough that I needed to make the house perfectly well (and there’s no way on the planet that the walls could have been any thicker).
Also I found that sticking the chimney on immediately before decorating was not a wise idea as it did try and slip off a few times!!
I also made it initially with blackstrap molasses – didn’t realise there were several kinds – and the dough tasted foul. So I started again and instead of buying more molasses, I used a mixture of treacle and golden syrup – it still has a really beautiful tangy gingerbread taste.
Lovely, lovely lovely recipe – it smells GORGEOUS and looks stunning if I might say so myself.
It’s one AM – off to bed after a night of stickiness.
Thanks! My 6-year-old and I had a blast making this, our first ever gingerbread house! We used a round pedestal cake stand for the base, and not only is it beautifully displayed that way, but we could spin it around on the table as we were putting it together and decorating it, very convenient! We used a pizza cutter to cut out the pieces, then transferred to parchment paper with a metal spatula (make sure everything is floured well, )worked great! The printouts were not to scale, so I had to make my own. Thanks again!
I made little gingerbread houses for a preschool party I hosted today. I made the same style house you posted as a template, only about half the size. It made 4 houses per recipe above (I doubled, and it made 8). I followed your recipe to a T, and they came out perfect. Your tips were the most helpful I found. Thank you! Because these houses were for five year old boys, I substituted the meringue powder you find at Michael’s for the egg whites. Worked great, although I did have to add an extra t. of water b/c of substitution.
I just used this recipe to make a eurofighter typhoon; premier fight jet of the German Luftwafte. It looks awesome, but now I don’t want to eat it because I’m too proud it. :(
How many houses does this dough recipe make usng your templates?
I have never made gingerbread anything before in my life. This post got me so inspired and intrigued that I had to try it. My goal was to make a gingerbread train and station, and a golf clubhouse and sleigh holding a golf bag. I didn’t want to deal with full sized things, so I scaled the templates down to half size and used the recipe as written. I had enough to make 4 complete houses, a train engine, 3 sleighs, with extra pieces of everything except the houses, and several gingerbread people, reindeer, even three guitars! I found cookie cutters for the sleigh and the people, and I made sure that when I made two of something to later be assembled into one thing, to flip one so that the “outsides” would match. I used the royal icing recipe from here and it worked great. I had my 10 y.o. neighbor helping me, so I made the dough Thursday, baked them Friday, built them Saturday and decorated them Sunday. We used everything from mints and m&ms to gummy wreaths and frosted mini-wheat cereal for roof tiles. We had a blast! I am so pleased!! Thanks for another great inspiration, Elise!
This is an awesome recipe and set of instructions! It’s no more difficult than making “Christmas cookies”. Wow! Thanks.
My 5.5 and 3.5 year old daughters loved making this house. This may just be a new tradition for our family.
Thank you for the great ideas! Your site helped my family and I create a WONDERFUL gingerbread house!!! This was our first one and we plan on making this a tradition in our family! The pictures were great and the information was very helpful. I would also like to thank the people that suggested using melted sugar as “glue” (we did this and it worked quite well.) When creating a gingerbread house with younger children, speediness is a must! Also, thanks for the idea to use a cardboard house underneath the cookie for support.The recipe we used for the gingerbread made pieces that were terribly soft, so without the cardboard underneath our house never would have worked. Again, thanks for the great ideas. Merry Christmas!
I made these with 120 Middle School Students in my Home Economics class and it was a success!! The kids had a great time making and decorating the houses. This year, gingerbread lanterns!
Had been making g.b. houses for about 17 years with my best friend and our 6 children. Now our kids have kids and last year I ‘hosted’ a g.b. house construction day, the day after Thanksgiving, with all 10 of my grandchildren (ages 1-11). My three daughters and my two step-daughters were the construction foremen with lots of laughter and lots of memories. The dining room was a wreck, but who cares…the kids will remember the day spent at Nana’s house. For some reason, none of the houses stood up long, even though I had cut and baked them a month earlier so they would be well dried by the time the kids got there. I thought the kids would be so discouraged, disappointed, and never want to do THAT again, but as each one of them left they were talking about ideas on how they wanted to do theirs next year. We had a ball and I plan to use your ideas next year…plus some cardboard for support. As far as eating them, the kids don’t seem to be too interested in the cookie, but love looking at the house and nibbling on the candies.
What if I don’t have dark molasses. Can the gingerbread be made without it?
This particular recipe uses molasses, it helps make the batter a dark color, and helps give the gingerbread its unique flavor. ~Elise
I also swear by using melted sugar as glue instead of royal icing. You can construct a large, elaborate house very quickly (the sugar hardens in ~5-10 minutes). It’s probably not the best thing to be using around kids (there’s no burn worse than a sugar burn; I speak from experience), but it will decrease the time they have to wait before decorating it. It would also be vegan, for all those people concerned with using raw eggs.
Can you eat it or is it just for decor?
Depends on how you make it. If you make it will all edible ingredients, then yes, you can eat it. Both of these gingerbread houses pictured were eaten. Or you can use them as decor. ~Elise
Hello,Thank you for the easy to use instructions. My son and I made a Ginger bread house as a father/son project. I used Gram crackers instead of ginger bread. It worked out and we cut the crackers with a bread knife and sort of pretended we were building a real house! My son loved it and thank you for helping to make our day.
this works it was great
Perfect directions, didn’t print to scale but was easily solved, gingerbread was great and we have a totally cool house!Thanks much!
There’s a recipe for Vegan Royal Icing (posted by a mom with a child allergic to eggs) here: http://www.grouprecipes.com/31155/vegan-royal-icing.html
Hi. Thanks for the recipe. I’m not sure if it was intentional for the dough to be very stiff? It was very crumbly and I had a hard time rolling it out. Eventually had to microwave it on half power for a minute or so to soften and even then, it was very crumbly esp around the corners. In comparing your recipe with others, I noticed that yours has ALOT of flour. Any advice? (Turned out but it was sure hard and took a long time)
Let the dough sit at room temp until it is pliable to roll out. I does need to be stiffer than regular cookie dough because you are using it to build a house. ~Elise
Any suggestions on making a larger sized house? Can’t wait to give it a try!!
Hi, I was wondering first timer trying to make a gingerbread house and I bought a premade one well box kit and how long does it take for it to go bad? Are you able to eat the house after if you want?
I suggest you check the instructions on the kit. The gingerbread house described here in this post is edible. The one you see was slowly devoured over a week by my nephew. ~Elise
I have a question before I attempt the house. What do you do with the remaining icing while the first parts are hardening to make sure it doesn’t harden? Does it stay soft and gooey if when left in the pastry bag/plastic bag?
Great question. Cover completely with plastic wrap (no air touching the icing). Or just make smaller batches of icing. ~Elise
Fun! We are actually sitting down today to make this year’s gingerbread house. I like the waffle pieces for roofing.
We’ve had success using sliced almonds for the roof. And like Jennifer above, we put broken life savers into the windows before baking for the stained glass look (remember to put parchment paper underneat or it can be hard to remove from the baking sheet). Then when you put a votive candle inside, you can get a nice glow through the windows!
You can see pics and tricks from our gingerbread houses here.
I used a very dark Jamaican molasses, and it wasn’t sweet enough at first, but I added more brown sugar to the dough and it came out well. The pieces came out a little warped so I think I should have cut the pieces out of a large sheet of baked gingerbread while it was still soft and warm. Still, it had a good flavor.
I just revisited this site after having made 2 of these houses last year — a first time attempt after always wanting to make them as a child. Now, I’m so excited to do it all again in just a few days! Thanks for a great recipe and set of directions.
This is the first gingerbread house I have ever attempted and found this recipe and directions the best! I decided to do a Train Station, so I made the station and 2 trains out of gingerbread. It was definitely a fun project, but amazingly time consuming. Thanks for the advice to make templates first! To see our train station, check out http://www.smooredezine.com/images/train_station.jpg :)
Ever since I saw a gingerbread house on a kid’s show when I was 4 I’ve wanted to make a gingerbread house. I’ve just graduated from high school now and so for the first time have had time to make one! It’s turned out really well. The icing dried pretty quickly as I’m from Alice Springs, Australia and it’s very hot at the moment! Thank you very much. After 13 years I’ve finally made one!
Hi from Iceland! My kids and I made your house today and it worked like a charm! I actually got a ton of gingerbread cookies out of the rest of the dough, totally could have made a second house. I did not need to prop the pieces up or hold them for very long, my icing dried really quickly. Thanks for the recipe and very clear instructions!
I have made Gingerbread Houses for years up North. Now I live in Florida and the humidity is something else. The dough does not dry out after baking, it just bends. I have had to make cardboard pieces and glue, with frosting, each piece onto the cardboard so the walls won’t bend. Any suggestions for humid areas??
How many houses can you get out of this recipe?
Thanks Elise for the great gingerbread house recipe! I wonder if it would be possible to substitute other types of cookie dough for gingerbread? Oatmeal raisin would probably be too crumbly, but perhaps sugar cookie would work?
My house collapsed heaps of times the first time I did it, but my friend and I held it for ages! Why is this?
We propped our house up with cans and left it overnight. The longer the better. ~Elise
I have made the dough and plan to cut and bake the house pieces tonight. Will I be able to make two houses with the 6 cups of flour recipe?
This recipe makes one house. ~Elise
I don’t have baking powder can I use baking soda?
In general you cannot substitute baking soda for baking powder, they have different chemical make-ups (baking soda is a pure base, baking powder is a mixture of baking soda and a dry acid) and react with the dough differently. That said, I have no idea what would happen if you did switch out one for another in this recipe. If you try it anyway, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise
Last year I got as great tip from a friend. To hold the pieces together, we put several cuts of sugar in a heavy pan and melted it. You just turn on the heat and keep stirring. When you are ready to put your house together, simply dip the edge in the melted sugar and join it to the other wall. It sticks so tight and there is no waiting for it to set. It’s awesome! Give it a try.
Hi i was wondering if the patterns for the roof etc are measured in inches?Love the website!Gg
Note from Elise: Yes! Good point. Inches they are.
Can the cookie dough be frozen for longer than 3 days?
A great gingerbread house project for little kids is to used graham crackers and caned frosting. Take two small, empty, milk cartons (like the ones kids would get in school) and glue them together. Viola, a frame to frost the graham crackers too.
Kids can spend all their time on the fun, decorating stuff, and you don’t have to worry about the whole thing collapsing. My first grade teacher was a genius!
He’s too young to make a ginger bread house with me yet, but I’m already thinking about it because I’m a baking fiend. However David, our baby boy, is allergic to eggs. Any idea how to make an eggless royal icing? Rather, how to make a mortar that is as effective as royal icing but egg-free? A head-scratcher, to be sure.
Greetings from South Africa, my sister and I decided not to do a Christmas cake this year instead we wanted to try Gingerbread houses. Your instructions were great and because of the hot dry weather here the construction dry in about a 1/2 and hour and we could decorate straight away and they looked wonderful. We also cut out various sized stars in gingerbread and stacked them to make trees which the children decorated, these will be given as teachers presents.
Wow! My mom enjoyed the gingerbread house we made so much that she decided that we are going to have a gingerbread house contest at my school! So excited!!! They are all going to use this recipe.
Hi there, thx for this website! I am a gingerbread house first-timer and thx to your site, I successfully pulled it off and now my neighbour has a beautiful house they are showing off with :)Just wondering if you could add how much your “serving” is, as I sat here and wondered for a while as to whether I needed to make as much as you have listed, but ended up making a big house anyway so just enough!
I used to make normal-sized gingerbread houses every year, but you can’t really do much with them – when my sisters and I got old enough we really didn’t want to eat all that cookie-and-icing-and-candy, the houses stopped. Then I started making small ones as gifts.
They’re only about 4 inches tall at the roof-peak, and have a cookie base as well so I can fill them with candy or cookies or whatever. The first couple years I cut them out with cardboard templates as you did, but got bored when my gift list exceeded 20 and made cookie cutters out of tuna-fish cans with both top and bottom cut out. I have a cutter for the ends, one for the bottom, one for the roofs, and a small rectangle that makes the door and the side windows; I use a test-tube for the end window.
Often (when I have the time) I break up hard candies (plain LifeSavers are excellent) and spread them in the windows; they melt nicely (but be careful they don’t burn) and I have stained glass windows.
Because the house is so small, the cookies don’t need to be baked quite so hard, but they still keep and are quite tasty by Epiphany (January 6th, the 12th day of Christmas). Or longer, but that’s when I usually eat mine. Thank you for reminding me – I didn’t make my small houses last year, but I’m going to try to do it this year. A whole week to go!