Putting together and decorating a gingerbread house is the ultimate holiday baking activity. It’s fun for kids and adults, it decorates your home, and you can eat it—what more is there to love?
Before you assemble your house this year, take a look at our tutorial for some tried and true tips for a sturdy structure. You’ll need lots of royal icing to stick it all together and some fun candies, cookies, and other items for decorating. Check out the ideas below for making a true gingerbread masterpiece.
Start your house with a solid foundation by using our tried-and-true classic gingerbread house recipe. The dough is firm and made without leaveners so it won’t puff up and lose its shape—perfect for building and decorating.
Use rolled and cut fondant to form shingles for the roof of your gingerbread house or, in this case, a chalet. You can color it however you like and also use some excess white fondant to make a snowman or snow-covered trees.
If you’re simply too busy this holiday season to bake up your own gingerbread, then take a shortcut with graham crackers instead. The crispy cookies work best for smaller houses, perfect for little kids’ hands. Royal icing still works best to cement everything together for the perfect graham cracker gingerbread houses.
Make your house lighter and brighter by swapping gingerbread dough with a firm funfetti cookie dough and decorating with pastel treats like butter mints. If you’re sticking with traditional gingerbread dough, pastel icing and candy still add a sweet and cheery touch.
All aboard the gingerbread train! If you’re tired of houses, make a train instead. Using a simple gingerbread dough and royal icing, it’s a snap. Decorate with a little candy and surround with shredded coconut snow.
Adding lifelike glass windows to your gingerbread house is easier than it looks. Make your own hard candy for candy glass windows using a few ingredients and a candy thermometer and, after removing the pan from the heat, pour just enough melted candy into the windows of your cooked gingerbread. Let cool completely before assembling. Alternatively, add crushed up hard candies like Jolly Ranchers before baking and let them melt into colorful “panes.”
What’s a house without family? Populate your home with, of course, gingerbread men. Make them out of excess dough or bake up extra cookies and decorate them with royal icing. Stick them in place using more icing, ready to greet any visitors. We have a gluten-free recipe, too, if you’re making extra to snack on.
If you’re tired of the standard brown gingerbread house, add a coat of bright pink icing to turn it into a festive shop. The candy cane accents are especially fun, acting as decor for the shop as well as a walkway. Ribbon candy would also be a fun addition here.
An easy-to-make, but totally delicious marshmallow snowman or two will liven up the front of your gingerbread house and make everyone smile. These marshmallow snowmen are decorated with peanut butter cups and fruit leather, and extras can be eaten as a treat while you decorate.
10. Rustic Log Cabin
Pretzel rods transform a plain gingerbread house into a rustic log cabin. But why stop at with the sides? Shingle your roof with chocolate-covered pretzels (milk or dark chocolate for a brown roof, white chocolate for a snowy roof), and plant pretzel Christmas trees.
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