We made our very first gingerbread house from scratch! After many hours of hard labor, a couple meltdowns and a second degree burn, we have done it! Unfortunately, we were a tad bit upset with the house because it didn’t turn out they way we hoped it would, so we don’t even have a picture of the final house because when we made our last touch ups it was dark outside and the beautiful light was gone. We gave the house to Yohann’s parents so it isn’t in our apartment anymore. We’ll try and get a picture up.
The first thing to know when you make a gingerbread house is that you must be oh so very patient. We found a recipe on martha stuart’s website and didn’t really make any modifications because we wanted to try something reliable.
The first thing to make is the dough. It needs to rest overnight so make it a day ahead. You can find the gingerbread dough recipe here. We used 3/4 of a cup of honey instead of 3/4 of a cup of molasses. The dough will be a little sticky but not to worry it will have the right consistency the next morning. Keep to the proportions, they will work!
This is 1/2 our dough the next morning. It has an elastic consistency, but it is no longer sticky. The martha stewart website has pre prepared templates to make the house: you can either print them out OR trace them yourself on the computer screen like us because our printer was out of ink. The templates can be found here.
In order to prepare the house there are many steps to follow that are described clearly here. This is just a classic explanation but is not the house that we have made here. It is a cottage whereas we have made the swedish gingerbread house and the templates are not the same. It simply explains how to cut out and cook the dough.
First of all, you must roll out the dough so that it is 1/8 of an inch thick. The recipe says to “lightly flour the surface”. We would suggest to generously flour the surface or else the dough will stick. The recipe also says to chill for an hour. We didn’t do that and it turned out okay. You can choose what you would rather do.
Once the dough is ready, lightly flour the surface of the dough. Place templates and cut out the different pieces of the house. If you have any extra dough you can make trees, a snowman or anything that inspires you.
Once all the pieces are cut out and cooked it is time to make the caramel and the icing and then start assembling. It is very well described here. We used a different icing, but it didn’t work out too well, hopefully martha stewart’s will have better luck. The caramel is used as glue to assemble the different pieces.
Caramel is very hot! So be very careful, Yohann has a second degree burn! Make sure not to get any on your skin. If you plan to make one with children, an adult should assemble the house. Once the house is assembled and the caramel has dried, the fun begins: decorating the house! We had some extra dough so we made some decorations. Our icing took too much time to harden, so we had a difficult time with the chimney (we didn’t have any caramel left), and some decorations.
We were having a very hard time with the chimney! The icing would not dry!
As you can see, the icing drips everywhere!
And then the chimney would fall…
This is when we were too frustrated with the house and left a lamp to hold the chimney in place. We needed to go for a walk. It was dark by the time we came back so we don’t have a picture of the final product. We’ll try to get one up.
You must be patient if you want to do this, but it’s really fun in the end despite our breakdowns. It gets us in a great mood for the holidays.