The Ultimate Gingerbread Houses! Free Template and Recipe
For the past 15 years or so, our family has been making gingerbread houses every Christmas. It is one of our favorite family traditions and leaves our house smelling amazing for weeks afterward.
Each person in the family gets there very own house to decorate (we must keep our artistic freedom ha!) and we spend an afternoon listening to Christmas music and bedazzeling our houses with candy.
Making gingerbread houses takes a bit of planning but it is so worth it. I always think of it as a two day project. It is way too exhausting to make the gingerbread and decorate the houses in one day so I always dedicate one day to baking and one day to decorating.
My recipe makes 2 (7 inch) houses. To make 6 houses for our family I always triple the recipe.
I can only fit one batch at a time into my kitchen aid. So I mix up one then start on the next.
Once the dough is all mixed up it is important to refrigerate it for a couple of hours. I separate each batch of dough into two rectangles of saran wrap and pop them in the fridge.
Once the dough has been chilled, I roll it out onto a lightly floured counter and start cutting around the house templates.
My best helper is always Emma. She loves to make her own mini house.
It takes a couple of hours to bake all the pieces but I love the rhythm of rolling out the dough, smelling all the delicious smells and listening to Christmas music :)
Usually by the time all the dough is finished baking, I am completely tuckered out and ready to be done with gingerbread for the day. I let the gingerbread sit on the counter overnight then do the assembling and decorating the next day.
To assemble the houses it is important to use Royal Icing (recipe below). It is a great consistency for piping and hardens fairly quickly. It is important that when you are making your icing that you beat it until stiff peaks form. That means that the little peaks don't bend over when you lift out a spoon.
To create the bases for the houses to sit on, I cut squares from an old cardboard box and cover them with tin foil.
I find that a larger round tip works great for putting the houses together. I usually use a #11 size tip.
Below is a little video of me putting together one of the houses. Now keep in mind this was filmed by my 8 year old, Emma, ha! The cinematography is lacking a bit but hopefully it will give you an idea of how I put them together. The most important thing to remember when assembling the houses is that once a piece has been placed try hard not to mess with it.
Pictured below I am using an actual pastry bag but you can use parchment triangles or disposable pastry bags too. I bought these bags this year and they worked like a charm.
The American Girl Doll getting in on the action :)
It's almost time!
While I am putting together the houses, I usually have the kids get the candy ready by putting everything into bowls.
Now the fun part! Decorating time!!!
For the actual decorating of the house I like to use a smaller round tip #4 or #5.
Here is a short little clip of our family this year.
The finished product!!! 7 little houses all in a row on our dining room table.
Our houses from last year...
Gingerbread House Recipe*
1 batch= 2 gingerbread houses (7”)
- 5 cups flour
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2 t. ginger
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1/2 t. nutmeg
- 1/2 t. ground cloves
- 1 c. butter (softened)
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
- In another large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and egg until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add molasses and vanilla and beat until evenly blended (about 1 1/2 minutes).
- Stir the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mixture 1 cup at a time. Dough should be firm.
- Divide dough in half, place in place in plastic wrap and flatten dough into a thick rectangle. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Heat oven to 350. Working with one piece at a time, remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on a generously floured surface. With a lightly dusted rolling pin, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness.
- Place cut out gingerbread templates on dough and cut each piece using a sharp knife. Carefully transfer cut pieces to a cookie sheet using a spatula. Be careful not to misshape the dough.
- Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until golden brown. Transfer pieces to cooling rack and let cool a couple of hours.
Royal Icing Recipe
- 4 egg whites
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 t. cream of tartar
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Using wisk attatchment beat on high until stiff peaks form (5-6 minutes). Cover bowl with plastic wrap until ready to use.
*Recipe Originally published in Family Fun Magazine November 2006
If you end up making these houses I would LOVE to hear about it! And remember sharing is caring so please remember to pin on Pinterest and share with your friends if you loved this post.
Please reach out with any questions and I hope you have the Merriest Christmas ever!!!