I think my gingerbread house is done! I’m happy with the results, for a first shot! What do you think?
I added a cart full of berries (Haribo). I used an icing made with white egg done as a swiss meringue, with a good sprinkle of instant coffee (crush it to have a powder).
The rest, as you see, is mostly done using royal icing made with meringue powder. The roof top (inside and outside) has been covered with melted marshmallow with a bit of cream (Single cream).
You have for decoration some snowballs, some candies, so candy canes, jellys, cookies made with leftover dough.
The windows have been made with crushed cookies. Once the gingerbread cut-outs are baked, I placed the crushed candies in the holes and I’ve put everything back to a warm oven for 3 min, over a greased aluminium foil so the caramelized candies do not stick. I wasn’t sure it’ll work but it did!
Oh, I forgot about the snowman! How can I? I’m in love with this little thing. My husband gave him a name: Frosty! It’s kind of cute! Well, Mr Frosty is a snowman made from scratc with fondant. I painted the eyes, the buttons and the arms. That was also easy to make.
The gingerbread recipe that I have used was largly adapted from here
. the royal icing recipe is basically Wilton
‘s royal icing with meringue powder
, but you can make yours with egg white if you can’t get meringue powder.
The dough needs to chill overnight, it will be more fragrant and mostly, It’ll become easy to work with. And like any dough with butter, chill it after you cut it out, for 15 to 20 min. The cut-outs will maintain their shape after baking.
For 1 batch (you need 2 batches if you want to make the floour and the cart)
Prep: 24 h approx– Baking: 13 to 15 min
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup molasses
- ½ cup water
- 1 generous tbsp ground ginger
- 1 generous tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves or gingerbread spices mix (I used speculoos’ spices)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ½ cups flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- A big pinch of salt
- To decorate: candies, jellies, marshmallow, sparkles, coconut, icing sugar, colourings….
- Goodies to put in the house: Lebkuchen (for my spicy frangrance), dark chocolate truffes…
- Gingerbread house diagram to apply (see at the end for instructions).
Royal Icing (makes 3 cups)
- 3 Tbsp meringue powder
- 4 cups icing sugar (a bit starchy than powder sugar)
- A pinch of salt
- Few drops of lemon juice
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract or any non coloured extract
- 5 tbsp of warm water, approximately (add ½ tbsp at a time until you reach the desired consistency)
- 1 pack of white marshmallows
- 3 to 4 tbsp of single cream
In a large saucepan, stir together sugar, molasses, water, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add butter. Stir occasionally until the butter is melted and incorporated. Let cool for 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the molasses mixture (after it’s cooled) with a wooden spoon. Mix until combined.
Cover dough with a cling film and flatten the dough evenly into one sheet. Refrigerate for 12 h.
The next day, preheat oven to 160 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Prepare a clean, flat surface with a light dusting of flour. Working with 1/2 of the dough at a time, roll dough to a 1 cm thickness (or 5 mm for a cookie-thickness, like I did), sprinkling flour as need. With a floured knife, cut dough into desired shapes (have them handy). Bake cookies for 12 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on cooling racks before icing.
About cutting the shapes, I advise that you do it straight away on a baking parchment, the same you will use in the baking process, because lifting the dough will distort it.
For the stained glass windows: Once the dough is cooked, Crush some candies and fill in the holes (entirely). Put it back in a warm oven or a low temperature until it melts. Use a greased aluminium foil under the crushed candies as mentioned above. If don’t want to bother with the candies, just use gelatin leaves, it will look nice.
All utensils should be completely grease-free for proper icing consistency.
Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer). Cover once done to avoid the royal icing from drying.
Once the cut-outs cooled, Pipe a thick line of icing along a short end of one of the side pieces. Press the iced side piece against the edge of either the front or back pieces. Hold in place for a few minutes until the icing is partially set. Repeat with the other side piece. Use cans or bottles or call someone to give you a hand.
Repeat with the other edges of the side pieces and the remaining front/back piece. Pipe icing along the seams, inside and outside of the house, to fill in any gaps and to add extra stability. Pipe icing along the edges of the house where it meets the base. Let set before sticking the roof.
I have piped the decorated icing before sticking the walls. I’m not good at piping vertically, so that was my solution. It worked well.
Once the royal icing has dried so that the base structure is solid, you can add the roof. Pipe icing all along the top edges of the structure, front and back and two sides.
Place the roof pieces so that the long ends are running along the top of the house. Gently hold the roof pieces in place for a few minutes until they are set enough so they don’t slide off when you remove your hands.
Pipe the top seam of the house with extra icing. Let the house stand for few hours before decorating.
You can use white chocolate instead of marshmallows or just more royal icing. It happened that I had one pack at home.
Over medium heat, add the marshmallows to the cream. Stir until all the pieces dissolve. Let it cool for few minutes before you use it. It will be foamy and slightly rubbery. Do not wait until it comes together again. Use it while it’s luckwarm.
I hope I haven’t forgotten anything! Use your imagination to decorate.
Are you eying Mr. Frosty???
Measurements for a homemade gingerbread house:
– 2 * rectangular sidewalls: 19 cm * 10 cm each (do not forget the windows)
– 2 * square rooftop sides: 18 cm * 18 cm each
– 2 * front/back sides (+1 as a separation/pillar inside the house, totally optional): 19 cm height and base, 10 cm sides, cut the top symetrically (do not forget the door, cut 1 or 2 windows)