How to make a Gingerbread House

Article by: Allrecipes  |  Picture by: munchkinjj
How to make a Gingerbread House
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Make a gingerbread house this Christmas for the perfect homemade Christmas decoration and creative fun activity.
Never made one before? No worries! This step by step guide will set you on the right path.
What you'll need
  • A gingerbread house recipe
  • Templates for the four wall panels and the two roof panels.
  • Rolling pin
  • Baking trays
  • Aluminium foil
  • Tinned food to use as weights
  • A solid base to support the house (double up heavy cardboard or use a cutting board)
  • Royal icing (stiff egg white-based icing)
  • Icing bag/s and tips
  • Some hard red and/or green lollies to make "stained glass"

  • Decorations: e.g small candy canes, jelly beans, smarties, extra icing sugar for "snow" etc

  • Time - Plan to make the house in steps over a couple of days - plan to bake the gingerbread on one day and then assemble the next day.

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You can double any gingerbread biscuit recipe to make a gingerbread house, or use this gingerbread house recipe. Either way, start by rolling out the chilled dough.
Yes, it's worth chilling the dough
Chilled dough is much easier to work with when rolling and cutting out the parts of your house. It also prevents the dough from spreading once in the oven.
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Roll out enough dough so you can cover all the templates you have for the house and roof.
Line your baking tray/s with baking paper, and lay the rolled dough on the paper in the tray. Place your template on top of dough; using the tip of a small sharp knife, trace the shape. Remove (and keep) the excess pieces of dough, and chill the tray/s in fridge for 15 minutes.
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When the oven is pre-heated remove the dough from the fridge. If you have cut out windows sprinkle some crushed hard red and/or green lollies in the windows. When they melt it will create a stained glass effect.

Place the trays in the oven and bake the gingerbread according to the time in the gingerbread recipe - until the centre is firm. Don't overcook.
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To build the house: First you need a base. The house will be around for a while so use an old cutting board or pieces of sturdy cardboard taped together. Work out where the house will go on the base and make sure there is enough room on the base for the house and any other exterior decorations - a yard, a fence - that you might want to use. Cover the base with aluminium foil to make decorating easy.
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The gingerbread pieces must be totally cold - they are best baked the day before.

Fill a piping bag with royal icing. Pipe a thick line of icing on the bottom (base) edge of the first side wall. Stand the side wall on your base, icing side down. Hold for about 5 minutes to set; use the tinned food to stabilise - one on each side of the wall - and hold it in place.
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Pipe a thick line of icing onto front edge of side wall. Pipe icing along base of front panel and press edges of walls together at a 90-degree angle. Hold walls together for about 5 minutes and then hold up with tins. Pipe more icing along the front of the vertical seam where the two walls meet, and along the bases to stabilise.
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Add second side wall to the front panel in the same fashion: stabilise with icing, hold to set and prop up with tins. Pipe icing on vertical seam and along the base.

Pipe more icing and reposition tins to stabilise walls, if necessary.
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Add back panel: pipe icing along edges of side walls and along the bottom of the back panel. Press the back panel into place and hold for 5 minutes. Carefully reach inside the house from above and pipe icing along all bases and seams to reinforce the walls. Use tins for support, if needed. Let stand for 30-60 minutes until dry and hard before adding the roof.
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Remove tins from inside the house before assembling the roof. Pipe a line of icing along the edges of the roof panel, as well as the base of the house where the roof will sit.
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Pipe a line of icing around the inside edge of the roof panel, and press it into place. The top edge of the roof should align with the edges of the front and back panels.
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The edge of the roof should create an eave, or an overhang of about 1.5cm or so. Hold the roof panel in place for 5 minutes. Pipe additional lines along roof joints, and carefully reach inside the house to pipe inner seams as well. Repeat with second half of the roof. If necessary, prop up the roof with tins to hold the panels in place. Let the house sit a minimum of 6 hours or overnight so that the icing can harden.
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When the house is assembled and dry, you can begin decorating! Start with the roof. Spread icing over the entire rooftop to make snow. If you like add biscuits or wafers for roof tiles.
Need Decorating Ideas?
Check out what other Allrecipes cooks have done with their gingerbread houses.
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Use whatever lollies you like to decorate - chocolate buttons, licorice strings, Smarties, candy canes etc - to decorate the entire house and the garden, including a pathway to the door.

Use more icing as necessary to glue the lollies to the house or base, and also use the icing to create a snowy wonderland.
Add Your Photo!
Upload a photo of your Gingerbread house so we can all share in the joy!
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Display the house somewhere prominent but keep it away from sun and excessive heat.
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