Gingerbread Houses

Recipe: A Gingerbread House from Scratch

Once the Thanksgiving turkey has been polished off and the relatives have departed, all thoughts turn to Christmas and New Year's Eve. What better way to decorate for the winter holidays than with a homemade gingerbread house?

This year, in addition to family-friendly gingerbread house making, ICE will also offer adults-only gingerbread house classes. If you can't join us at ICE for the gingerbread house festivities, you can certainly make one at home. To make a gingerbread house from scratch, you will need to bake the gingerbread house pieces, make lots of royal icing to serve as your "glue" during construction, and gather your favorite candies for decoration. While you can use whichever candies you prefer, I have included a list of traditional gingerbread house decorations below, along with recipes for the gingerbread pieces and royal icing.




    Gingerbread Cookie Dough with Royal Icing

    Yields approximately 6 large (6”) gingerbread cookies

    Traditional Decorations

    • Gummy bears
    • Mini m&m’s
    • Red hots
    • Jelly beans
    • Sno caps (non pareils)
    • Mini candy canes
    • Sprinkles: various colors: red, green, white, multi color, yellow

    Note: You can buy a container of meringue powder at a cake decorating store. The container will have a recipe for making Royal Icing, but I will provide it below.


    For Cookies

    • 2 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
    • 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
    • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ½ cup (4 oz) butter
    • ¾ cup unsulfured molasses
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

    For Icing

    • ¼ cup Meringue Powder
    • ½ cup cold water
    • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar


    For Cookies 

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Mix together the ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
    3. Melt butter and then stir in molasses and sugar. Mix in spice mixture well, then the water and the egg.
    4. Place flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour mixed wet ingredients into the well and gradually stir the flour into the liquid. When all the flour has been incorporated, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator over night or up to two weeks.
    5. When ready to make cookies, roll out a portion of the dough on a floured surface, 1/8” to ½” thick, depending upon whether you would like crisp or soft cookies. Cut shapes and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 12-15minutes, depending on size of cookie. Cool before decorating.

    For Icing

    1. In a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat together the meringue powder and cold water until peaks form. Gradually add up to 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar until icing is of desired consistency.
    2. Keep bowl of icing covered with a damp cloth, to prevent it from drying out. You can re-beat icing and add more confectioner’s sugar if it becomes too loose.
    3. Store unused icing in refrigerator and re-beat before using again.

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