Here are the plans and recipe for creating the modern gingerbread house shown in our holiday catalog. We suggest that you build this house over four days:
Day one: Make the dough and refrigerate it; prepare your cardboard plan.
Day two: Cut the gingerbread into shapes of walls / roof and bake; allow gingerbread to cool for 24 hours.
Day three: Assemble the house; allow icing that holds walls together to dry for 24 hours.
Day four: Decorate.
Download the plan here. (click link for PDF)
Make the dough
Note: while this dough is technically edible, it’s more of a structural gingerbread. It has no leavening and is very dense and very hard. The spices add scent and color, so feel free to add more if you wish.
- 2 cups light corn syrup (or dark corn syrup for a darker house)
- 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar (or dark brown sugar for a darker house)
- 1 1/4 cups margarine
- 9 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 t salt
- 2 T cinnamon
- 2 T ginger
- 2 t cloves
In a microwave-safe bowl, heat corn syrup, brown sugar and margarine until margarine has melted and sugar has dissolved completely. Stir until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine flour, spices and salt. Add syrup-sugar-margarine mixture.
Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest at least 30 minutes at room temperature. It can also be put into the refrigerator a day or two, or until you’re ready to cut out and bake the pieces.
Prepare the cardboard pattern
Print out the plans and transfer the shapes onto cardstock or cardboard. Cut out the shapes of the walls, roof and chimney.
Make and bake the house
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Roll out the dough 1/4-inch thick onto a sheet of parchment to fit your baking pans or sheets. A consistent thickness to the dough will make assembly easier and the finished house look better. Tip: Use rolling pin rings if you have them.
Dust the cardboard patterns with flour and place them on the rolled-out dough. Cut the pieces. Use the leftover dough for stepping stones, trees, etc.
Try to group similar sized pieces on the same sheet. Due to its size, the roof will need its own baking sheet.
About 10 minutes into the total baking time of 12-15 minutes (small pieces will need less, larger pieces will need more), remove baking sheets from oven and lay the pattern pieces on top of the gingerbread and trim the edges (be careful, it will be hot). Even though there is no leavening, the dough will expand and the edges of the pieces will have spread a bit. Return to oven for an additional 5-8 minutes.
Allow gingerbread 24 hours to cool before assembling the house.
Put it all together!
13″ x 13″ piece of plywood, or some other sturdy base.
Brick pattern impression mat (available at food crafting or scrapbooking stores) to create chimney. If not available, you can indent fondant with a knife to suggest bricks.
Royal icing (recipe below)
Icing decorating bags and couplers
Decorating bag tips, size 3 for outlining, size 10 for assembling the house.
Small package (4.4 oz.) of pre-made white fondant. We used Wilton, available at most craft stores, Amazon and Walmart. Alternatively, there are many recipes online for making fondant but it’s not really worth the effort; the pre-made is easy to use and the right size for the project.
Fondant rolling pin. The 9″ Wilton fondant rolling pin, approximately $4, can be found alongside other decorating supplies and it will make glass-smooth, perfectly level, very thin fondant for the windows and other details.
Black food coloring paste (or whatever color is desired for window and door frames).
Royal Icing Recipe
2 egg whites (at room temperature)
3 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
2 t lemon juice
In the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites until frothy, add confectioners sugar and lemon juice. Using the whisk attachment, beat all together on low speed until combined. Scrape down sides of bowl, then beat the mixture on medium speed until very thick, shiny, stiff and white. This should take about 7-10 minutes. Keep icing covered, it will dry quickly.
Door, Windows and Chimney
Before assembling house, roll out fondant and at 1/16″ thick.
Lay the fondant on top of cardstock pieces, use a straight-edge to cut out the windows and door.
Put fondant pieces in place on gingerbread.
Outline with royal icing tinted to a light gray, or any other color desired.
For the chimney, roll fondant on brick impression mat (or create brick shapes after applying fondant to house).
Use royal icing at intersections of walls and assemble house, let dry.
Wrap fondant chimney around corner of house, adhere with icing, let dry.
Apply royal icing to tops of walls and set roof on top.
Assemble top of chimney pieces and wrap with brick embossed fondant. Tuck edges inside top and bottom. Use royal icing to adhere to roof.
To the left of the door, there is screen of Lifesavers that adds visual interest and helps support the roof. To create it, superglue the Lifesavers together and then leave them on a sheet of wax or parchment paper to dry. To install, just wedge it between the ground and roof. Secure it with glue or icing if needed.
Body: mini marshmallows stacked on a toothpick.
Eyes, mouth, buttons: drawn with black sharpie.
Hat: black plastic bottle cap with rim of black craft paper.
Nose: pointy piece of a toothpick colored with red nail polish.
Editor’s note: Our original snowman didn’t make it into the photo because someone ate him. We had to improvise on the day of the shoot to create a new one, which is why he looks a bit out of sorts.
Mini Wreath and Tree
We found them here.
French lentils. We’re not kidding.
Will it snow?
That’s up to you. If you wish, you can add icing and a touch of fake snow to the roof and ground area.
Share your house on social with #dwrgetbaked