DIY





Build a Gingerbread House From Scratch

Learn how to build a gingerbread house from scratch for the holidays, includes recipes for making gingerbread for the gingerbread house, royal icing recipe, a pattern for the gingerbread house and instructions on how to put your gingerbread house together.

| December 1999/January 2000

Build a gingerbread house from scratch using this gingerbread house recipe, royal icing recipe and easy-to-use gingerbread house pattern. (See the gingerbread pattern in the image gallery.)

Every December, I would gaze at festive ginger-bread houses displayed in bakery windows, dreaming of creating such a masterpiece. I could only dream, since my gingerbread house experience was limited to sticking graham crackers together with frosting and creating a gingerbread tent. Until last year, that is, when I met Colleen, who not only owns a fancy cake bakery in Chicago called "Cake by Colleen," but is also a gingerbread house expert. I attended a mini-class at Colleen's bakery, where she shared some of her gingerbread house secrets.

Making my gingerbread house took a little time and patience, but it wasn't difficult. Not only is learning how to build a gingerbread house from scratch a fun project for family members of all ages but the homemade house makes a great looking centerpiece for your holiday table. (My gingerbread house is sitting on my oak buffet surrounded by evergreen boughs.)

You will need:

Ingredients for gingerbread and royal icing (see recipes below).
A piece of thick cardboard (about 12 inch by 16 inch), covered with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Assorted candies, cookies, cereal, etc., for decorating.
small cookie cutters: trees, teddy bears, gingerbread people (optional).
A card table covered with plastic to use as a work space, so the project doesn't interfere with family mealtime.



The Gingerbread House Plan:

This project is easier with at least two helpers so schedule a day on your calendar (preferably in November or early December) when the gang's all there.

Ahead:
Before you shop for ingredients, hunt around the house for candy, small cookies, goldfish crackers, mini-marshmallows, ice cream cones to use for evergreen trees, cereal such as bite-size frosted shredded wheat for roofing, small pretzels for fences, etc. I found some dried banana chips that I used to pave a stone path in front of the door and some pink wafer cookies that made cute window, shutters.






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