December 17, 2010

Gingerbread House

A continuation of my previous post about Gingerbread and Royal Icing.

Assembling the gingerbread house
1. Find a sturdy cardboard box and cut a square (or whatever shape you want, really) out of it. 

The square should be larger than the base of your house.  This square is what the house will rest on!  Cover the square in aluminium foil.

2. When the shapes are completely cool, you can see if they fit together right.  During baking, the shapes usually go a bit wonky; so cut off any excess biscuit from the bottoms of the triangles and short sides of the rectangles.
The house fits together with the two triangles standing next to each other, and the rectangles leaning flush against the triangles' sides.  Ideally, there should be no gap between the two rectangles at the top.

3. Put some - not all - of the royal icing into a snap seal bag, squeeze the air out and seal the bag.  Cut a smallish hole in one of the corners, so the icing can squeeze out of it.

Alternatively, you can use a piping bag.  But hey, snap seal bags are easy and disposable!  Less washing up!

3. Pipe royal icing onto the bottom of the two triangles.  Place the triangles on the foil-covered-cardboard with their backs to each other.  The room between them should be a little smaller than the width of the rectangle wall.
Hold the triangles steady for a while as the icing hardens (it's handy to have a helper for this).

4. Once the triangles can almost stand on their own (the wall that is added now will help them stay up) you can add one of the rectangular walls.
Pipe more royal icing onto one side of the triangles, and to the bottom of the rectangle.  Place the rectangle flush against the two triangles and hole for a minute or two while the icing hardens.

It is tradition, at this point, to add two gingerbread people to the inside of the house.

5. Pipe royal icing down the other two sides of the triangles and on the bottom of the last rectangle.  Place the rectangle flush against the sides of the triangle, and hold it there for a minute until the icing hardens up.
Ta daaaa!  Now your house is up!

6. Now for those pesky little freaking ginormous cracks that you didn't foresee would appear.
But do not fear!  There is an easy solution - stuff the crack with marshmallows, choc chips or whatever lollies you've got lying around.  That way the icing won't drip into the crack and leave a gaping chasm.

7. Gather decorations for your house.  I usually use: marshmallows, cachous (small, hard, shiny spheres that you can break your teeth on), sprinkles of various colours, M & Ms, Skittles and liquorice allsorts (I detest liquorice, but allsorts are pretty colours).

8.  Lather the top of the house with icing, and let it drip down the sides a bit.  It's cool if it looks like authentic stereotypical snow.  Then stick whatever lollies you want on it, or you could wait for the icing to dry and pipe designs on with royal icing.
This part is especially fun for kids!

I used chopped up liquorice allsorts to cover the faint pink tinge of marshmallows showing through the icing.

There are so many things you can do with gingerbread houses - get creative, and feel free to ask any questions in the comments.

Merry Christmas!


  1. aimlesswandererDecember 23, 2010

    mad skillz!!

    I don't want to know how many batches you made. Just the 2 was enough for a year at least!

  2. So. Many. Batches. *drowns in gingerbread*