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How to make a Gingerbread House

Nicole Avery
Nicole Avery

Making a gingerbread house takes time but the results are well worth the effort. Here is how to make your own from scratch with the kids and start a wonderful yearly Christmas tradition.

How to make a gingerbread house
How to make a gingerbread house Photo: Nicole Avery

Ingredients

House:

  • 250 grams unsalted butter
  • 200 grams brown sugar
  • 7 tbsp rice malt syrup
  • 700 grams plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 4 tsp ground ginger

Decoration:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 500g icing sugar
  • Lollies - we used candy canes, boiled lollies and fruit drops. The ones used are all artificial colour free hence the lighter colours.

Method

Making the gingerbread

Download the templates below and print them out. Cut out the shapes.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

How to make a gingerbread house
How to make a gingerbread house Photo: Nicole Avery

In a large bowl add the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger to it and mix.

Chop up the butter and place into a saucepan. Add the rice malt syrup and sugar to the pan and heat on a low-medium heat. Gently melt the butter, stirring as it melts.

Pour the butter mixture into the large bowl and combine until it turns into a stiff dough. It is easiest if you use your hands. If you find the dough isn’t coming together add a few drops of water and continue.

How to make a gingerbread house
How to make a gingerbread house Photo: Nicole Avery

Place about ⅓ of the dough onto a large piece of baking paper. Place another piece of baking paper on top of the dough and then roll out with a rolling pin. Using rolling paper makes it much easier for kids to roll the dough out evenly. Roll to approximately 4 - 6mm thick.

As you are rolling the dough, push it out into a rectangle shape that will fit two copies of the front and back template. If you have gaps in your dough rectangle, grab some more dough and press it into the patches. Roll out evenly again with the rolling pin.

Place the paper template on top of the baking paper on the dough. Use a knife to cut around the template to make the front of the gingerbread house. Do it again to make the back piece of the gingerbread house.

How to make a gingerbread house
How to make a gingerbread house Photo: Nicole Avery

Remove the top baking paper and then keeping the gingerbread on the baking paper, slide it onto the tray. Repeat this process for the roof and for the sides. If you have any left over dough make stars or Christmas trees to place around your gingerbread house.

Place them all in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. If the gingerbread house pieces are out of shape, allow them to cool for a couple of minutes, then place the template on top of the gingerbread and slice it to even up the edges, then let them cool for about an hour before moving to a wire rack. These pieces need to be completely cool to assemble, so let them go for a number of hours before you begin construction.

Building the house

Find a board of some description to use as the foundation for your gingerbread house.

Place one egg white in a large mixing bowl. Whisk gently then sift in half of the icing sugar (250 grams). Once made into a stiff paste, spoon the icing into the piping bag and place on a wide nozzle.

Place down onto the board the front piece and one side piece in a L shape. On the board near the edge of these pieces pipe a thick line of icing. Stand up the front piece up press it into the icing line.

Pipe down the edge to the front of the house where it will join the side. Stand up the side of the house, press it down into the icing on the board and then onto the edge of the front. Repeat this process so each side is connected by icing. The house should now hold itself up. If it isn’t, place some cans gently onto the board to assist it staying in place.  Allow the walls to dry before placing the roof on top.

To add the roof, pipe along all the edges of one side of the house. Press the roof gently onto the house, holding it firmly until it is stable. Repeat this process with the other side.

Allow the house to set completely before decorating. This will take a couple of hours.

Decorating the house

While the house is drying have the kids draw up a plan of how they would like to decorate the house, get them thinking about:

  • What colours they would like to use?
  • What patterns they would like to use?
  • How many doors and windows it will have?
  • What will the roof tiles look like?
  • What nozzle will they use on the piping bag?

Once the house is dry, make up the second batch of icing by placing one egg white in a large mixing bowl. Whisk gently then sift in half of the icing sugar (250 grams). Once made into a stiff paste, spoon the icing into the piping bag and place on a desired nozzle.

If the kids haven’t used a piping bag before, let them practice on some baking paper. You can then scoop up the icing and put it back into the piping bag to use on the house.

When decorating with lollies and candy canes, have the kids apply the icing to the candy and then stick them on. For making a shape like a door, have them cut the candy cane in desired lengths and make the shapes on baking paper (without icing) first to make sure the sizing is right.

In hotter parts of Australia be mindful of using chocolate lollies to decorate your house as they may melt in the heat. The only chocolate lollies used on this house are covered in candy.

Remember if the kids are making this, they will see the house differently to you, so don’t worry if it is not symmetrical or the lines aren’t straight! Allow them to enjoy the process. If they make mistakes with piping the icing, use a blade to scrape the icing off the house, then wipe with a damp cloth. Have a separate damp cloth on hand to the kids can keep their hands clean. Most of all enjoy making and then eating it together!

Nicole is a Melbourne mum to five beautiful kids aged four to 15. She is the master organiser behind the popular parenting blog Planning With Kids and the author of a book by the same name, where she shares tips and tricks for organising the chaos of family life.

Course:
Dessert
Occasion:
Christmas

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