Gingerbread Houses 101
Nothing you can make in the kitchen is more synonymous with the holidays than a homemade gingerbread house. It makes a great centerpiece that can transform even the most drab table into something your will guests enjoy.
While building a gingerbread house can be a bit complicated and time consuming, it’s definitely worth the effort. It is also a great way to get your children involved in helping prepare for holiday festivities. Once you put the basic frame structure together, you can sit back and watch the kids have a ball decorating with their favorite candies.
Karen’s Gingerbread Tips:
- Prepping: Try rolling gingerbread dough on the back of a baking pan. Then cut shapes directly on the pan and bake without moving the pieces. Another easy option is to roll, cut and bake the dough directly on parchment paper.
- Baking: Bake the dough until it’s well done. A dark color works best. You also need to bake away some of the moisture.
- Working with gingerbread: Run your spatula under the gingerbread to loosen it from the cookie sheet as soon as you take it out of the oven. If it hardens on the sheet, the gingerbread pieces are more likely to break.
- Timing: Let gingerbread harden for a day or two, and keep it loosely covered so it air dries.
- Assembly: Don’t try to assemble the house on a rainy or very humid day. The icing (mortar) won’t harden and will collapse. First assemble the sides of the house and let them harden completely before adding the roof. Add the chimney only after the roof has dried.
- Decorating: Once the house has hardened, it’s time to decorate your heart out. Get a nice white cardboard round at a bake shop or chef supply store to work on.
- Special touches: Once you’re done decorating, spread any leftover icing over the cardboard to give it a wintery snow look.
- Transportation: After decorating, wait an hour or two before transporting. Put a Garbage bag over the house so you don’t accidentally nick off any of the candy. It’s best to have someone in the car with you, so you can place the gingerbread house on their lap. You don’t want to risk having the house slide around in the car after all the work you’ve just put in. Another option is to put it on the floor and just drive very carefully.
Check out more Gingerbread Recipes