It’s tradition on our home each year to make a gingerbread house. This year I made one that’s extra special! Here’s my how-to for our homemade colonial gingerbread house.
I’m so glad you’re joining me for Season’s Simplicity – Christmas recipes! Our host, Krista from The Happy Housie asked us to share a festive recipe today and I thought it would be the perfect time to share my family’s gingerbread house. Each year my family makes a gingerbread house, sometimes more than one. For a couple of years now I’ve wanted to try my hand at making our colonial home out of gingerbread. This year I was feeling pretty confident and decided, why not?
I used an adapted recipe from Food Network that I’ve used for years to make gingerbread cookies. This recipe creates a very rich, dark gingerbread. The smell of the gingerbread while baking is amazing. It’ll have your entire home smelling like Christmas!
I also tried my hand at making window glass out of melted sugar. It was actually easier than I thought it would be. I don’t know why I didn’t try to make them before. I love the warm color and when you place a candle behind them they give off the prettiest glow.
The gingerbread recipe and royal icing are both very simple. I’ve always had great luck with them both. This recipe is enough for the roof and three sides. I left the back off of my house so that I could put two battery powdered candles inside the house from the back. The soft glow in the evenings makes it even more special.
Gingerbread Colonial House
- 1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup light molasses or dark corn syrup
- 3 Tbsp. cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp. ground ginger
- 4 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 3 tsp. baking soda
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 Tbsp. water
- 1 lb. powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
- 2 Lg. egg whites, or substitute 4 teaspoons packaged egg whites and 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup water
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and baking soda together until the mixture is smooth. Blend in the flour and water to make a stiff dough. Chill at least 30 minutes or until firm.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll dough into a rectangle on parchment paper and cut out the following paper pattern for the gingerbread house template or cut your own custom house.
Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes until dough feels firm.
Place patterns on top of the gingerbread again and trim shapes, cutting edges with a straight-edged sharp knife. Leave to cool on baking sheet.
Bring sugar and the water to a boil in a medium saucepan; reduce heat, and simmer until thickened and light brown, about 10 minutes. Use immediately.
Using the caramel syrup, glue the glass windows to the inside of the house.
Mix all of the ingredients together using an electric hand mixer, until the icing is smooth and thin enough to be pressed through a pastry bag with a writing tip. Add more lemon juice, if necessary.
Glue sides, front and back of house together at corners using royal icing or caramel syrup. Place an object against the pieces to prop up until icing is dry (it only takes a few minutes).
Using a piping bag, pipe on details around windows, doors and roof. **Note - I find it easier to pipe on window and door details before assembling the house. This is just personal preference.**
I first started out by looking for a template online for a colonial gingerbread house. I came up with nothing, so I broke out some paper and got to work. I used to graph paper and card stock to make a template. You can print the template I’ve made here – Gingerbread House Front, Gingerbread House Sides, Roof Side 1, and Roof Side 2.
I made sure that the size of my house would fit onto my cookie sheets. I rolled the dough out into about an 1/8th of an inch on parchment paper. I used to sharp knife to cut along the edges of the template and the inside of the windows.
While the gingerbread was baking I made the sugar syrup for the windows. I used my template to trace windows onto some parchment paper. I put the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and once the syrup was to the right consistency I removed it from the heat and poured it onto the parchment paper, allowing it to run over about 1/2″ outside of the traced windows. You’ll be able to glue it to the inside of the walls easily. This caramel syrup hardens very quickly and is very hot. I found it easy to use a spatula to spread out the caramel for each window to make 1/2″ overhang.
Once the caramel is set you can peel it off of the parchment paper and snap each window off. Next time I make windows I’ll space them out a little more. It was a little tricky breaking each window apart from each other without breaking them completely.
Once the gingerbread was done baking and was completely cooled I piped on the royal icing around the windows and door. I find it easier to do before the house is assembled. Once the icing was set I reheated the left over caramel to use as a glue to attach the windows and walls together. I used a small spatula to spread the hot caramel on the edges of the house and working one side at a time, attached the font to the sides and the roof to the top. You have to work somewhat quickly. The caramel dries very quickly. Once it’s cured it very sturdy. I find it works better and is much easier to use than royal icing.
I used a narrow decorators tip for piping around the windows and door and a larger round tip for filling in the gaps on the corners and roof.
This was such a fun project and bonus, you’ll have a little dough left over for a couple of cookies! You can snack while you decorate. Is it tradition for your family to make a gingerbread house easy year?
Be sure to stop by the next blog and see what they’re baking up this holiday season! There’s so many delicious recipes. I’m not sure which one to try first. I’m so glad you stopped by today. Merry Christmas, friends and happy baking!
And today I’m joined by some friends who are also sharing their amazing holiday recipes with you!
How to Make Mulled Wine (Glühwein Recipe) at The Happy Housie
DIY Colonial Gingerbread House at Sincerely, Marie Designs
Christmas Wreath Veggie Pizza at Clean & Scentsible
Homemade Egg Nog at Town and Country Living
Easy Holiday Appetizer at Rooms FOR Rent
Secret Ingredient Gingerbread Cookies at Jenna Kate at Home
Snowball Cookies at Finding Silver Pennies
Easy Gluten Free Shortbread with White Chocolate and Toffee at Home Made Lovely
Brown Butter Sugar Cookies with Chocolate Ganache
The Best One Hour Orange Rolls at Summer Adams Designs
Cake Mix Quick Bread Recipe at On Sutton Place
Best Waffle Recipe Ever at The DIY Mommy
The Most Chocolatey Hot Chocolate Cookies at A Pretty Life
Eggnog Bread Recipe at Tauni Everett
Instant Pot Ham at TIDBITS Marci
Toblerone Shortbread with Browned Flour at Life is a Party
Spicy Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies at Modern Glam
Christmas Tree Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Toppers at The Turquoise Home
Easy Creme Brule for the Holidays at Hallstrom Home