T’is the season… to get creative! There’s nothing quite like the tradition of creating a gingerbread house on a cold winters day whilst watching a Christmas movie or drinking a warm cup of hot chocolate. Whether you’re an absolute pro baker or a first-time builder, this guide will walk you through the steps of creating the best edible masterpiece you’ve ever seen.
- Gather Your Ingredients
Before you dive into the world of gingerbread architecture, we need to make sure we have all of the necessary ingredients. To make the perfect house you will need:
- Gingerbread cookie dough (homemade or store bought will do)
- Royal Icing for construction
- Assorted Sweeties for decorating
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Plan Your Design
Rome wasn’t built in a day! To ensure you create the best masterpiece you can it might be a good idea to come up with a few ideas before getting stuck in. Sketching out a blueprint or looking up inspiration online on Pinterest, Instagram or TikTok can be a great way to get your creative juices flowing. This can also allow for trial and error; do you want your house to have windows? A chimney? Doors? These are all important factors to consider when constructing your house.
- Bake and Construct
Next you need to get cooking! Roll out your gingerbread dough and cut out the pieces that you need according to your design. Bake these pieces until they are firm but not overly crisp, then allow them to cool completely before beginning the construction.
Next, use your royal icing as the “glue”. Pipe the glue along one side of the piece you are assembling and then hold each piece in place for a few minutes to allow the icing to set. To ensure the best stability, it may be an idea to leave your house for a few hours or overnight so that your “glue” dries completely.
- Decorating Time!
Now it’s time to start the real fun. Unleash your creativity by decorating your gingerbread house however you like! There are many possibilities to use different types of sweets and chocolate to create a fun and festive design! Here are some ideas below:
Skittles/M&Ms: These can be used to make colourful designs on the walls, such as stripes, swirls or spelling out words.
Strawberry Laces: These can be used to create a lovely outline surrounding the windows or doors of your house.
Chocolate Buttons: You could create a small pathway outside of the house using chocolate buttons to create a front garden.
Mini Marshmallows: These could be used to create little snowballs on top of your gingerbread house roof, or creating mini snowmen in the garden.
Mini Gingerbread Men: Using gingerbread men is a great way to create a little family for your newly built house!
Icing Sugar: The finishing touch of all of the best gingerbread houses is a light dusting of icing sugar to create the illusion of snow.
- Finishing Touches
If you’re feeling really fancy this is where you can make your gingerbread house really pop! Placing your house on a festive cake stand or decorative tray can really bring the piece all together. Decorate around the house with candy canes, foliage or fruit to make it feel very homely. If you’re feeling really adventurous, battery-operated fairy lights around your house can also give it that WOW factor at all of your festive activities this year.
- Share the Magic
Once the house is created, why not host a festive night in with your friends or family and enjoy your creation over a few drinks! Or perhaps you could host a gingerbread house decorating competition with all of your friends to get everyone involved in the creative process. Additionally, mini gingerbread houses or men make for a great little gift – perhaps a secret Santa present? Spreading the holiday cheer has never been sweeter.
Building a gingerbread house is a timeless holiday tradition that never fails to get people into the holiday spirit. Whether you’ve never tried before, or you have been creating houses with your family every Christmas – this guide will help you create the sweetest masterpiece possible. So, grab your ingredients, let your creativity flow and dive straight into the world of gingerbread architecture. Happy Building!