Gingerbread houses are a tradition that you can continue every year with your loved ones. The tradition first began in Germany in the 1800s and in many families, it’s often the start of holiday celebrations. It is also a fun way for kids to get involved, especially with all of the sugary decorating.
Building a gingerbread house from scratch is a huge part of this Christmas tradition. Royal icing plays a key role in making a gingerbread house sturdy, since it is what binds everything together. You can think of it as a type of delicious glue. The icing usually takes about one whole day to dry so completing a house can take up to two days from start to end. But it is 100% edible, so well worth it, right?
If you’re wondering how to make a gingerbread house, we’ve got a fun twist on one: a beach gingerbread house. It’s perfect for those dreaming of warmer weather or those who live in an area where it doesn’t snow. Check out details below.
How to make a gingerbread house
Making the best gingerbread house takes a little patience and time. Make sure to have decorative items on hand such as colorful candy, different colored frosting and fun cookie cutter shapes to go along with your house.
Most importantly, make sure to have lots (and lots) of royal white icing made. To make icing, check out this cookie post. Now, let’s get started.
6 ounces butter, soft
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon water
Gingerbread downloadable template
Pastry bench scraper
Step 1: Combine butter, sugar, syrup and spices in a large bowl. With a hand-held mixer, beat until it forms a soft brown dough.
Step 2: Add in flour, baking soda and water and mix with a spoon. The cookie dough should be slightly moist with a soft consistency.
Step 3: Once you have smooth cookie dough, feel with your hands to make sure it’s just right or mix a little more if necessary. Wrap the dough in a plastic sheet and refrigerate for two hours.
Step 4: Remove the dough from the refrigerator, flour your surface and roll out your dough. Place our downloadable stencils on the dough and carefully cut shapes with a pastry bench scraper or knife. Move the shapes to a pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 375°F for 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 5: Remove pan from the oven and let it cool for about an hour.
Step 6: Take your piping bag and outline the edges of the cookies with icing. Fill them in with more icing and use your scribe tool to spread it around. Finally, let the icing dry overnight.
Step 7: Build your house! Create a line with a thick layer of white royal frosting to the surface where the house will be built on. We recommend your kitchen counter, a baking pan, a serving tray or cutting board. Place your first rectangular piece on the icing. This line will be the glue.
Then, add a straight line of frosting along the left side of the first piece and attach the next rectangular piece to it. Remember, in order to attach pieces together, you’ll always need to add frosting. If for some reason, the house feels a little unstable, go back and frost the edges a bit more.
Step 8: Add the roof to complete the house. Add horizontal lines to the roof with your blue icing and let the house dry overnight before decorating with candy.
Step 9: For additional trees, houses, surfboard and stairs, follow the same cookie recipe seen above, cut with appropriately-shaped cookie cutters and frost with desired colors. There are no rules to decorating, just have fun!
Have you thought about the colors that you will use for your beach house? We recommend using blue, yellow and orange hues to give it a sunny, beach vibe.
Because Christmas is a time for family and friends, the best part of all is that you can use this cookie dough recipe to make gingerbread cookies too. Simply place those on a serving tray with a side of milk and you’ve got an instant sugar hit with your loved ones (and Santa, of course).