Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Gingerbread Cookie House
Gingerbread House Dough Recipe
Easy Sugar Cookie DoughTo make one cookie house, use a 16.5-oz. (470-g) package of cookie dough and add ½ cup (125 mL) of flour. Directions:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Crumble the cookie dough into a mixing bowl. Stir in the flour until well combined (you may need to use your hands).
- Brush the mold with oil and press the dough into the mold with your fingers to cover the full surface area of the pieces. Smooth out the top of the dough.
- Place the mold on a cookie sheet and bake for 15–20 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the cookies from the mold.
Assembling the Gingerbread Cookie House
Use a cake board, cake plate, or platter for the foundation. Or, you can cover a sheet pan with brown paper. Another idea is to use a Lazy Susan to construct and easily decorate the house. After the gingerbread pieces are completely cooled, fill a pastry bag with Royal Icing. The icing dries very quickly, so cover with a damp towel when it’s not being used.
1. Start With the Front Door Piece and Left Side First
Pipe icing on to all the connection points. Gently press together and hold for about a minute, or until icing sets. You can decorate the pieces before assembling, just make sure the decorations are completely set.
2. Continue Until All Four Sides Are in Place
3. Add the Roof Pieces One at a Time
If you are icing the roof or placing a lot of decorations on the roof, you might want to decorate first to avoid adding pressure when in place. Once all pieces are in place, fill in any gaps in the seams with additional icing. Let the icing completely dry before decorating.
Just for Show
If you want to make a cookie house to use as a decoration only and not to eat, use a glue gun instead of icing to build the house and attach the decorations. This way you won’t have to wait until the icing hardens before moving or transporting. Our test kitchen team took a cookie house on the road from Illinois to Ontario, Canada using this trick and it stayed together and still smelled great!
Decorating Your Cookie House
Now comes the fun part! The only rule for decorating is to use your imagination.
Tip: If you plan on eating your gingerbread house, do so in a couple of days. The longer it sits out, the more dry and flavorless it will become. If you plan on keeping the house on display longer, surround them with homemade gingerbread cookies decorated with softer icing for everyone to eat.
Some ideas for Halloween Cookie Houses:
Attach black and orange candy, candy corn, black licorice, mini marshmallows, or shredded cereal using icing as the glue. Lay a path to the front door with flattened candies, black jelly beans, or crushed cookie gravel. Add some cookies in fun shapes like skeletons, trees, tombstones, cats, spider webs, and pumpkins. Surround your house in pretzel-stick fencing or add pretzel sticks across the windows.
Some Ideas for Christmas Cookie Houses
Add candy cane pieces, jewel-toned gumdrops, red and green candies, red licorice, spice drops, sprinkles, confetti, jelly beans, or your favorite candy. Lay a path using crushed candy canes or pretzel sticks and top with powdered-sugar snow. To add a skating pond, spread out some blue icing or cut a blue fruit roll-up to make a circle. You could also flatten blue gummies with a rolling pin. Or even a small mirror. For some added cheer, make cookies in fun shapes like snowmen, reindeer, and presents and place around the house.
Glowing “Glass” Houses
And now for something completely different. How about a “glass” house that twinkles made from fruit-flavored hard candies like Jolly Ranchers®.
You’ll need 18 pieces for the roof, 18 pieces for the front and back walls, and 16 pieces for the side walls. We used all the same colors but you can mix and match.
- Put the unwrapped candy pieces in the mold. Place the silicone molds on a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F (176°C) for 12 minutes.
- Place on a cooling rack until completely cooled. As the candy cools, it will harden. Because of the flexible silicone, you can easily pop out of the mold.
- Assemble using icing in the same order as a gingerbread house (above).
- Let the icing completely set then place battery-operated tea lights in the house for a glowing effect, or use flickering lights for a twinkling effect. A small flashlight propped up also works great.