Gingerbread House Christmas Tradition: Recipes, Pictures, How-to Tutorial

December 16, 2009

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gingerbread house

One of the kids favorite Christmas traditions is the gingerbread house.  Yes, it’s the candy, candy, candy.  🙂  Plus, the anticipation of eating it after we admire it for a week or so.  There’s laughter, chocolate faces, sticky fingers, and a big mess that everyone helps clean up at the end.  The house smells and feels wonderful all day!

And we always invite a family over to participate.  So, the recipe and instructions here are for 2 houses:

First the dough – I’m not much of a plan ahead gal, so I don’t do the whole “refrigerate for 24 hours” that many gingerbread recipes say.  I just add a bit more flour so I can handle the dough.  🙂

Dough for two houses (also a great recipe for gingerbread men!)


  • 1 1/2 c. butter or margerine
  • 1 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 c. molasses

Add dry ingredients and mix well.

  • 12 cups flour (I use fresh ground whole white wheat flour)
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T baking soda

Divide into 3 portions on three greased cookie sheets:


Spread with spatula and/or rolling pin


until about 1/4 in thick


Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 mins until not glossy and toothpick comes out clean.  (bake 10 – 12 mins for gingerbread men)

Some people cut out the dough in the house shapes before baking, but that’s too much work for me, plus you don’t get as nice of edges to build with as you do when you cut it after baking.

Cut the following out of each cookie sheet:

  1. 4 side walls – 7 in x 5 in rectangles
  2. 4 roof pieces – 8 in x 5 in rectangles
  3. 4 end pieces (the fronts and backs of the houses) – a 6 in wide x 5 in tall rectangle topped by a triangle whose tip is 3 inches tall from the center top of the 6 in side of the square.  I hope that makes sense:  Draw a 6 x 5 rectangle.  Find the center of one of the 6 inch sides.  Measure up 3 inches.  Draw a triangle coming to a point at that 3 inch mark = a triangle on top of a rectangle.


Whip up the frosting (a double batch):

  • 5 c powdered sugar
  • 1/2 t cream of tartar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 t. vanilla

Beat until it stiffens and will stand up a bit when you pull the beaters out of it.  It dries fast, so keep it covered if you’re not using it right away.

Glue the walls together and let them dry a bit (5-15 mins) before attaching the roof if you’re having trouble keeping things together.  The longer you can let the house dry, the better.  Make sure you use the smaller rectangles for the walls and save the longer ones for the roof.  You could even break up the activity by gluing the house first, and then working on getting the candy out in bowls, play a game together, etc., while the houses dry.  (If you’re desperate, a hair dryer can help a bit, just don’t let it get hot.  Use the low setting.)

glue walls

The fun part:  Decorate with candy and try not to eat too much!

Here are some fun ideas to try and build:

  • Snowmen out of marshmallows held together with toothpicks, candy corn noses, mini-chocolate chip eyes, and Skittle buttons.
  • A pile of logs or fences out of Tootsie Rolls.
  • Windows and benches with Keebler chocolate graham or grasshopper cookies.
  • Build cars out of cookies with round candies for wheels.
  • Line edges and paths with pull apart licorice.
  • Make a pond by spreading some frosting with a bit of blue food coloring, line with licorice and add some Swedish Fish.
  • Put gummi worms in a garden with broken oreos stuck to frosting for dirt.
  • Starbursts make great bricks.


Try not to eat it for at least a day 🙂


What a fun evening!


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Posted under Homeschool Activities, Homeschool Crafts


4 Comments so far

  1. docmisty December 24, 2009 5:20 pm

    Good luck with that 🙂 We had a hard time keeping our littlest from being covered in frosting by the end. Maybe we should have decorated him.

  2. Henry December 24, 2009 4:00 pm

    My youngest daughter is decorating our Gingerbread House right now. Our three year old son wants to start eating it. I think we’ll be able to keep him from eating, with offering of leftovers.

  3. docmisty December 22, 2009 1:49 am

    Hi John,

    Glad you enjoyed the post. The gingerbread houses are a bit of work, but the kids really enjoy it every year!
    I’m not as good at involving the kids in daily tasks as I’d like to be. It often seems to make everything take much longer, but they enjoy it so much more. I’d like to do it more, since I think it’s great quality time – working and learning skills together. (And I really enjoy things like my 10-year-old making lunch or my 6-year-old folding most of his own clothes).
    Thank you for the kind comment.

  4. John McGeough December 22, 2009 1:26 am

    What a cool post. I’m going to try that recipe. I am inspired by how much you get your kids involved in the process.

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