An iconic image of Christmas, the gingerbread house invokes warm and
comforting memories for many of us. From the very basic graham crackers
glued onto an empty milk carton, to elaborate 18th-century castle
displays, the gingerbread house can come in any shape and size. One of
the very best parts of the gingerbread house, at least for many
children, is the plethora of candy involved. A house made of cookies
garnished with candy seems almost too good to be true, doesn't it? Why not spend some time this weekend creating a dream house with your family?
Here is an easy, step by step, set of instructions to follow to make the best gingerbread house ever!
- Pick your theme - Will you build a Swiss chalet? A two story home that resembles your own? A barn with horses? Involve your children and see how elaborate of a gingerbread house you can dream!
- Choose your dough wisely - You'll need a stiff, thick gingerbread dough. Look for a recipe that contains no leaveners, which would cause the dough to puff - you want a solid, flat cookie.
- Use Royal Icing - Regular icing, also known as butter cream, is soft and pliable and it will run off of your house. Instead, whip up a batch of Royal Icing. Within just a few minutes of piping it on, it begins to harden and holds its shape beautifully, as well as holding the candies into position. Use this icing to glue the pieces of gingerbread together to make it upright.
- Cut out a pattern - You can find patterns online, from simple to super intricate, but why not create your own? Draw a pattern on paper, and then trace it to cardboard and cut it out again. After the gingerbread dough is cut out, use the pattern and a pizza cutter to trace the shapes and then bake.
- Assemble the house - Cover a sturdy piece of cardboard with foil, and assemble the house on it - it makes for very easy transport. After all, no one wants to build a house and see it collapse when you move it to the table!
- Decorate with your favorite candies and even more Royal Icing - Fill a disposable piping bag - or create one by rolling parchment paper into a cone. Pipe the icing into decorative shapes and use it to beautify the house. Pipe a small amount of icing into a dot and top it with a candy. Don't forget the tried and true ratio of "One candy for the house, one candy for the decorator!"
Will you be building a gingerbread house with your family this holiday season? What will yours look like?