A simple and sturdy gingerbread house that kids of all ages will love to decorate!
for the gingerbread house:
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. salt
for the gingerbread house "glue":
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 tsp. cream of tartar
- 2 egg whites
assorted candies, cereal, etc. for decorating the house
- Make the gingerbread house. In a large saucepan, melt the shortening over medium-low heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add sugar and molasses, and stir to combine. Keep stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, and salt to whisk and combine.
- Slowly add 2 cups of the flour mixture to the saucepan with the molasses mixture 1/2 cup at a time and stir to combine. Place the dough on your counter or a silicone baking mat and add the remaining flour mixture. Use your hands to mix the remaining flour mixture into the dough, making sure it's thoroughly combined.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and roll each into a ball with your hands. Place each ball of dough on a silicone baking mat or a piece of parchment the size of a baking sheet. Roll each ball of dough into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick.
- Using a gingerbread house cookie cutter, cut the shapes you will need for the house (most likely 2 front/back, 2 side, and 2 roof pieces). Leave space between the cookie cutters when cutting the shapes so that there's space between the pieces when baking. Remove the excess dough from around the cut out shapes without moving the cut pieces. If you wish to cut any additional shaped into your gingerbread house (such as windows or doors), carefully cut the shapes using a knife but do not remove the extra dough, as it will help to hold the cut shape when the gingerbread bakes.
- With just the cut out shapes remaining on your silicone baking mats or parchment paper, transfer the mats or papers to baking sheets. Bake the baking sheets on at a time for 13 to 15 minutes or until the gingerbread pieces just begin to darken around the edges.
- Remove the tray from the oven and place the tray on a wire cooling rack. If you've cut any additional shapes into the dough, carefully recut those immediately after removing the tray from the oven while the gingerbread is still soft. Allow the gingerbread to cool completely on the tray. Once cool, do one final recut of any additional shapes and carefully remove the spare pieces.
- Make the gingerbread house "glue". In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and cream of tartar. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the egg whites until foamy. Then gradually add the sugar and cream of tartar and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and stiff peaks form when the beaters are lifted. (Note: If after you've completely mixed the ingredients together you're not able to achieve stiff peaks, you can add more confectioners' sugar, a Tablespoon at a time, until you reach stiff peaks. Conversely, if the mixture thickens beyond stiff peaks and begins to come together like a dough, it is over-mixed and will be impossible to pipe. Try adding a tiny bit of water to thing the mixture back to stiff peaks.)
- Use a spatula to transfer the "glue" to a piping bag fitted with a piping tip (or you can use a large zip-top plastic bag with a tiny corner cut off. Be sure to seal the glue when not in use (a rubber band on the bag and a piece of tape over the piping tip will do the trick).
- Assemble the gingerbread house. How to assemble your gingerbread house will vary slightly based on the pattern/cookie cutters used, but you'll definitely want to start with a sturdy base. A cutting board, marble slab, or piece of sturdy cardboard all make excellent bases for a gingerbread house.
- First, pipe glue along the bottom edge of your house's front and along the bottom edge and one side of one side of the house. Place these pieces together on the base so that they become glued to the base and to each other. Hold them steady for 5-10 minutes as the glue dries and hardens.
- Then, do the same for the house's back and other side so that all pieces of the house are glued to each other at the edges and to the base. Hold these pieces for another 5-10 minutes as the glue hardens. Let the house sit for an hour to ensure that all of the glue is fully hardened and the house is secure.
- Next, pipe glue along the top edges of the house and attach the roof pieces to the house. Hold the roof for 5-10 minutes while the glue dries, and let the roof sit for an hour to ensure the glue is fully hardened before decorating.
- Once the glue has all fully hardened, it's time to decorate the house! This is your chance to get creative and use whatever foods and candies you like to design your gingerbread house. Use the glue to attach these items to the house, or you can pipe designs onto the house with the glue.
This recipe makes enough gingerbread and gingerbread house glue to construct one gingerbread house approximately 7 inches wide by 7 inches tall by 7 inches deep. If you're making a larger gingerbread house or if you want to also make lots of gingerbread people, trees, etc. to accompany the house then I recommend doubling the recipe.
- Category: Holiday Recipes
Keywords: gingerbread, gingerbread house, homemade, from scratch, sturdy, Christmas