Gingerbread House

The Ultimate Guide to the best Christmas gingerbread house

The ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a custom gingerbread house recipe and template (that I’ve included!) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way!

This is an ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a customer gingerbread house template and recipe ( that I've included) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way!

Building a gingerbread house from scratch is a fantastic activity to do with family and friends. This post will include a delicious gingerbread house recipe, tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way and my gingerbread house template – so you end up with the best gingerbread house you can!

I know that there are tons of gingerbread house kits being released every year. They are no competition to homemade gingerbread though. Even the smell of freshly baking gingerbread cookies wafting through the house is fantastic.

Plus, when building a Christmas gingerbread house from scratch, you have complete control over the design and gingerbread house template you would like. This means you can think as lavish or as modest as you want. 

Don’t be intimidated by the idea of making your template either. Honestly, the process is more simple than you think and hopefully, I can convince you of that here too. Simply follow my guide below, and you can make any gingerbread house you desire.

How to make a gingerbread house template:

A few things you need to decide on before starting:

  1. The size of the house you would like. I wanted to build the biggest gingerbread house possible, and the size of my oven limits that. The first thing I did was to measure the oven tray and use that as my guide. 
  2.  Next, think about what design elements you’d like. I wanted to add brick walls and windows 
  3. I sketched what the house would look like then I drew a gingerbread house template (see photo).
  4. You can also cut the gingerbread house template design out of recycled cardboard boxes and build it to see how the house will look. However, this is an entirely optional step. I’d suggest possibly doing it if you have a very complicated design.
  5. Once you have your perfect design in mind, draw it out on paper/baking paper ( or even cardboard) and cut it to size. That way you can cut the gingerbread dough out around the template

Note* If you go with a large house design, one thing to be very aware of is the dough thickness. If the dough is too thin, it will not be able to hold the structure of the house very well. 

  drawing the best Christmas gingerbread house template drawing the best Christmas gingerbread house template

 

Below is the template for the roof sections and all the extra bits.

drawing the best Christmas gingerbread house template

 

drawing the best Christmas gingerbread house template

 

   

Christmas Gingerbread House Recipe tips:

Once your template is ready to go, it’s time to bake your gingerbread. There are a few tips to making the best of your homemade Christmas gingerbread house:

The first tip is to double the royal icing recipe. You may not need it all; however, it acts as a glue to hold the house together. I prepared a large amount at the beginning and placed them in piping/ pastry bags, stored in my fridge. 

If you’re wondering why – it’s because I do my icing in two stages, first is the icing you use for glueing the foundations. Second, the icing you use as decoration. When using it like glue, there is a lot of waiting involved. So keeping the icing in the fridge in-between is recommended. 

Note* You’ll need patience when creating your house as this process can and will take a long time if you’re making a huge/heavy house. The royal icing needs the time to solidify and stick between each piece of the house so can take a day to complete.

The second tip, or note, is to keep in mind any extra gingerbread bits you might want to make. These include doors, windowsills, gingerbread trimmings etc.

Finally, I always like to plan any additional details I’ll want. For example, ‘glass’ windows, people, snow, a Christmas tree inside the house, trees outside etc. Some of these elements can be made from gingerbread and others will need other ingredients/methods. 

ingredients for christmas cookies

The Christmas Gingerbread House Recipe:

The first step for this gingerbread house recipe is to begin by mixing the flour with the rest of the dry ingredients ( except the brown sugar) in a large mixing bowl.

the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients for Christmas cookies

In a stand mixer, beat the softened butter with the sugar. Gradually add the eggs ( one at a time), while continuing to mix. I use Clarence Court Eggs for this recipe.
Finally pour in the golden syrup slowly, while mixing.

You can do this with a manual whisk too, but it will take a lot of muscle power and time.

pouring golden syrup into cookie batter

Once the wet ingredients are thoroughly combined, gradually add the dry ingredients while continuing to mix the batter.

the best gingerbread house recipe. gingerbread cookie mix

Once you’ve obtained a smooth dough for the gingerbread house recipe, separate it into a few manageable pieces then cover and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.

cookie dough resting

While the dough is resting in the fridge, I prepared my royal icing according to the recipe below. You can leave yours plain; however, if you want something more exciting, feel free to add in some mint or lemon extract.

Once the dough is rested, it’s time to roll out all the pieces. Begin by laying a piece of flour-dusted parchment paper down and roll the dough out to around 1/2cm thickness. Any thinner and it may break when assembling the house.

rolling out dough for a christmas gingerbread house

Place your templates over the rolled out dough. Using either a scalpel blade or sharp knife, start to cut the different gingerbread house pieces. 

rolling out dough for a christmas gingerbread house

Pictured below is my final sidewalls. Although it’s not necessary, if you want to texture the building, then you can use textured sheets or recreate the look with a knife.

textured walls using a homemade gingerbread house template textured walls using a homemade gingerbread house template

Once I cut out the main front and back wall pieces and textured them, I then cut out the windows and door using my gingerbread house template. This can be done the other way around if you’re worried about messing up the pattern.

I laid out my gingerbread house template pieces over the wall and cut the windows out according to them. 

Note* There are two ways you can do this. Either have a baking paper template of the entire wall with the windows cut out. You can then trace the inside lines of the window. Alternatively, cut out single ‘window’ sections of the paper template and trace around them.

textured walls using a homemade gingerbread house template

textured cookie decorations This is an ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a customer gingerbread house template and recipe ( that I've included) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way!

This is an ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a customer gingerbread house template and recipe ( that I've included) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way!

I also decided to texture the door differently. However, once baking, I wasn’t happy with the results, so this isn’t necessary. Instead, you can bake an extra ‘door’ cookie (pictures below) that is textured, to stick over the wall.

Note * I made two of all my trimmings and the door – just in case one broke. 

The roof pieces are simply two rectangles.

gingerbread dough for a house

Finally, I prepare any ‘extra’ bits that I want like windowsills and any trimmings and then it’s time to bake.

textured cookie decorations

Bake for about 12 to 15  minutes and leave to cool down completely – this is better on the slightly overcooked side than undercooked since it will make it sturdier.   

baked christmas gingerbread house walls This is an ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a customer gingerbread house template and recipe ( that I've included) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way!

baked christmas gingerbread house walls baked christmas gingerbread house walls

 

The roof pieces, which were simply rectangles, may slightly expand or warp in the oven. Don’t panic though as this can be fixed with the decorating and you won’t be able to see any unevenness.

gingerbread cookie rectangles for a roof

Extra elements 

textured cookie decorations textured cookie decorations textured cookie decorations 

 

 

 

 

 

Once all the pieces are cooked and completely cooled down, it’s time to assemble your Christmas gingerbread house.  This is the most fun part, although it does also require a lot of patience!

Start by assembling the wall. I decided to build my house onto a large cardboard piece so that I could stick the pieces directly to the base. If you want to be able to move your gingerbread house around then, you can skip this and start by glueing two walls together.

I started by piping the icing along the base and pressing my first wall into it. You’ll need to hold this for a while as the icing hardens. However, once it’s a bit more stable, you can then use some tricks to help hold it up. 

how to make a gingerbread house at home. putting together the house with royal icing

One trick is to use glasses to hold the wall in place. Make sure you don’t let go of it until you’re sure the wall is secured.

If it falls, it will break, and you’ll have to bake it again. Once again, I’ve learnt this the hard way, so don’t ever underestimate the power of patience.

how to make a gingerbread house at home. putting together the house with royal icing

The same process goes for the rest of the house. Run a thick line of icing down the side of the wall and along the base. Press the next piece into it and wait for it to dry. Continue like this till all four walls are assembled and sturdy.

This is an ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a customer gingerbread house template and recipe ( that I've included) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way! This is an ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a customer gingerbread house template and recipe ( that I've included) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way!

If you want to add ‘glass effect’ windows, you can use sheets of gelatin for a similar effect and stick it down with some icing.

For a slightly more complicated ‘stained glass’ method, you can use butterscotch candy or various coloured crushed hard candy. Once the walls are baked, place it over a new clean layer of parchment paper or tinfoil.

Take your crushed candy and pour some into the window hole, in the design you’d like. Put the wall back into the oven for 3-5 minutes till the candy is completely melted. 

Remove this from the oven and leave the candy to completely harden again, before removing it from the parchment paper/tinfoil.

how to make gingerbread house windows with gelatin sheets This is an ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a customer gingerbread house template and recipe ( that I've included) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way!

how to make gingerbread house windows with gelatin sheets

This is an ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a customer gingerbread house template and recipe ( that I've included) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way! how to make a gingerbread house at home with a homemade template

This is an ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a customer gingerbread house template and recipe ( that I've included) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way!

Before adding the final wall, make sure to add the extra elements you would like inside the house. I added a mini Christmas tree with fairy lights.

One regret I had is that I didn’t use flashing fairy lights. Unfortunately, I only realised my mistake after closing the structure, and by then it was too late.

This won’t be an issue if you’re not glueing your entire house to a base.

decorating christmas dessert with a tree This is an ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a customer gingerbread house template and recipe ( that I've included) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way!

Leave the icing showing on the outside or bake extra strips to cover the wall seam areas -The choice is up to you.

This is an ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a customer gingerbread house template and recipe ( that I've included) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way!

If there are any imperfections don’t worry, that is what the royal icing ‘snow’ is going to help us cover. My roof wasn’t perfectly aligned, for example, but you can barely tell after decorating.

This is an ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a customer gingerbread house template and recipe ( that I've included) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way!

Now it’s time for decorating!

If you’re doing this as a family project, then this is where people can let their creative side loose. I wanted a relatively simple design and just asses a wreath and some snow. However, feel free to go crazy sticking on candy and other elements that you want.

This is an ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a customer gingerbread house template and recipe ( that I've included) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way! mini wreath on christmas cookie

mini wreath on christmas cookie This is an ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a customer gingerbread house template and recipe ( that I've included) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way!

Finally, add any ‘outdoor; elements that you want to your display, like trees, reindeer, snow  ( confectioners sugar works well) etc. And voila you have the best Christmas gingerbread house recipe using a homemade gingerbread house template!

This is an ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a customer gingerbread house template and recipe ( that I've included) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way!

The Christmas Gingerbread House Recipe:

Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House

Yield: 1 large gingerbread house
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 23 hours
Total Time: 1 days
The ultimate guide to making the best Christmas gingerbread house, using a customer gingerbread house template and recipe ( that I've included) and tips on how to make a gingerbread house the best way!

Ingredients

  • 14 cups all purpose white flour
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups golden syrup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 Clarence Court Burford Brown eggs
  • 3 tBsp ginger
  • 2 tBsp cinnamon
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp salt

For the Icing

  • 6 egg whites
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • 8 cups  icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Begin by mixing the flour with the rest of the dry ingredients ( except the brown sugar) in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat the softened butter with the sugar.
  3. Gradually add the Clarence Court eggs ( one at a time), while continuing to mix.
  4. Pour in the golden syrup slowly, while mixing. *
  5. Once the wet ingredients are thoroughly combined, gradually add the dry ingredients while continuing to mix the batter.
  6. Once you've obtained a smooth dough, separate it into a few manageable pieces then cover and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
  7. While the dough is resting in the fridge, I prepared my royal icing by beating the egg whites till light and foamy and then gradually adding in the lemon juice and sifted icing sugar until soft and creamy. **
  8. Once the dough is rested, it's time to roll out all the pieces. Begin by laying a piece of flour-dusted parchment paper down and roll the dough out to around 1/2cm thickness. Any thinner and it may break when assembling the house.
  9. Place your templates over the rolled out dough. Using either a scalpel blade or sharp knife, start to cut the different gingerbread house pieces. ***
  10. Once I cut out the main front and back wall pieces and textured them, I then cut out the windows and door. This can be done the other way around if you're worried about messing up the pattern. I laid out my template pieces over the wall and cut the windows out according to them. ****
  11. Finally, I prepare any 'extra' bits that I want like windowsills and any trimmings and then it's time to bake.
  12. Bake for about 12 to 15  minutes and leave to cool down completely - this is better on the slightly overcooked side than undercooked since it will make it sturdier.   *****
  13. Once all the pieces are cooked and completely cooled down, it’s time to assemble your Christmas gingerbread house.  This is the most fun part, although it does also require a lot of patience! Start by assembling the walls. ******
  14. I started by piping the icing along the base and pressing my first wall into it. You'll need to hold this for a while as the icing hardens. However, once it's a bit more stable, you can then use some tricks to help hold it up.  One trick is to use glasses to hold the wall in place. Make sure you don't let go of it until you're sure the wall is secured.
  15. The same process goes for the rest of the house. Run a thick line of icing down the side of the wall and along the base. Press the next piece into it and wait for it to dry. Continue like this till all four walls are assembled and sturdy.
  16. If you want to add 'glass effect' windows, you can use sheets of gelatin for a similar effect and stick it down with some icing. *******
  17. Before adding the final wall, make sure to add the extra elements you would like inside the house. I added a mini Christmas tree with fairy lights. This won't be an issue if you're not glueing your entire house to a base.
    If there are any imperfections don't worry, that is what the royal icing 'snow' is going to help us cover. My roof wasn't perfectly aligned, for example, but you can barely tell after decorating.
  18. Now it's time for decorating! If you're doing this as a family project, then this is where people can let their creative side loose. I wanted a relatively simple design and just addes a wreath, icicng snow and some powdered sugar snow. However, feel free to go crazy sticking on candy and other elements that you want.
  19. Finally, add any 'outdoor; elements that you want to your display, like trees, reindeer, snow  ( confectioners sugar works well) etc. And voila you have the best Christmas gingerbread house!

Notes

* You can do this with a manual whisk too, but it will take a lot of muscle power and time.

** You can leave yours plain; however, if you want something more exciting, feel free to add in some mint or lemon extract.

*** Although it's not necessary-, if you want to texture the building, then you can use textured sheets or recreate the look with a knife.

**** There are two ways you can do this. Either have a baking paper template of the entire wall with the windows cut out. You can then trace the inside lines of the window. Alternatively, cut out single 'window' sections of the paper template and trace around them.

I also decided to texture the door differently. However, once baking, I wasn't happy with the results, so this isn't necessary. Instead, you can bake an extra 'door' cookie (pictures below) that is textured, to stick over the wall.

Note * I made two of all my trimmings and the door - just in case one broke. 

***** The roof pieces, which were simply rectangles, may slightly expand or warp in the oven. Don't panic though as this can be fixed with the decorating and you won't be able to see any unevenness.

****** I decided to build my house onto a large cardboard piece so that I could stick the pieces directly to the base. If you want to be able to move your gingerbread house around then, you can skip this and start by glueing two walls together.

******* For a slightly more complicated 'stained glass' method, you can use butterscotch candy or various coloured crushed hard candy. Once the walls are baked, place it over a new clean layer of parchment paper or tinfoil.
Take your crushed candy and pour some into the window hole, in the design you'd like. Put the wall back into the oven for 3-5 minutes till the candy is completely melted. 
Remove this from the oven and leave the candy to completely harden again, before removing it from the parchment paper/tinfoil.

As always, if you give this recipe a go then let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Also, feel free to tag me in your recreations @AlphaFoodie.

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