My Favorite Gingerbread House Recipe

I love traditions...to me they make the holidays more exciting and special, something to anticipate...we have a lot around Christmas...here are some, just to name a few, sometimes they change, sometimes we don't fit them all in, sometimes we make new traditions. I would love to hear some of yours!
We always decorate the day after Thanksgiving, starting with going to get a tree from a farm (which sadly had to change as we moved south this year).
The kids draw names & get to go shopping for their brother or sister (this tradition started with my family when I was little...and we still do it, we draw families...which lightens the cost of Christmas a little, and is a lot of fun).
We have Christmas Eve dinner (so on Christmas we can just relax and eat leftovers) followed by reading the story of Jesus' birth and opening one present (always jammies from Shorty & Papa...Grandma & Grandpa).
One of our favorites that we added about 4 years ago is making gingerbread houses...sometimes one, sometimes everyone gets a small one...we always have a great time...they are never perfect, maybe when my kids get older we will have pristine, beautiful gingerbread houses...but I love the way they turn out now...with my kid's unbridled creativity flowing. One Christmas we spent with my family...every family decorated one and we had a contest (in which everyone won a category...ours was the yummiest) :)

Here is my favorite Gingerbread House & Royal Icing Recipes...


1 c. butter or shortening
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. dark molasses
1 egg
1 Tb. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
5 to 5 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1. Beat butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer (I use my kitchen aid...makes it easier) at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses until well blended. Beat in egg until well blended, scraping down side of bowl occasionally. Beat in ginger, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice and cloves until well blended. Beat in 2 cups flour at low speed until well blended, scraping down side of bowl once. Gradually beat in remaining 3 to 3 1/2 cups flour until stiff dough forms.

2. Form dough into 2 discs. Square corners. Wrap disks in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour or until dough is firm.

3. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease 1 or 2 large baking sheets (16 x 14 in. without sides). Working with one disk at a time, unwrap dough and place in center of baking sheet. Roll out dough evenly to cover entire baking sheet with lightly greased rolling pin.

4. Place sheet of wax paper over dough to prevent pattern from sticking. Lay pattern pieces on waxed paper at least 1 inch apart. Cut dough around patterns with a sharp knife; remove patterns and waxed paper. Lift scraps from sheet; press together. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate scraps until ready to use.

5. Bake cookies 8 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched in the center. Immediately place cardboard patterns lightly on cookie; trim edges with a sharp knife; discard trimmings. Return cookies to oven.

6. Bake 5 to 8 minutes more or until cookies are very firm. Cool on pan 3 minutes. Remove cookies with large metal spatula to wire racks; cool completely. If cooled cookies remain moist in the center, bake in 250 oven 20 to 45 minutes. Do not burn. Cool completely on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough and scraps.

Royal Icing:

1/4 c. meringue powder
6 Tb. water
16 oz. powdered sugar

1. Beat meringue powder and water in medium bowl with electric mixer at low speed until stiff peaks form.
2. Beat in sugar at low speed until well blended. Beat at high speed until icing is very stiff. Cover icing with damp cloth to prevent icing from drying.

To Assemble (I do this the night before):

Spoon icing into a piping bag (or Ziploc bag) cut off tip or use a large circle tip (line of icing squeezed out should measure 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick).

Pipe royal icing onto the bottom and side edges of one piece, "gluing" bottom edge to platter or covered cardboard, stabilize with two heavy cups or canned goods. Attach remaining sides. Allow to dry (I also like to pipe a bead of royal icing along the seams on the inside to reinforce). When dry pipe royal icing onto top edges and attach roof. Allow house to completely dry.

Decorate with candies of your choice, attaching with royal icing...have fun!

1 comment:

KayC. said...

We had so much fun that year, thank you for sharing your tradition with the rest of the family. I love your house this year. Also thanks for sharing your recipe...maybe next year when things have settled down I try my hand out it ;-)

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