Gingerbread houses are one of my family’s favorite holiday traditions. I remember my mom having some of her friends over, and hosting a big gingerbread house making party. They made the gingerbread from scratch, baked it in the oven, made the icing, and decorated it. It was so much fun!
My husband and I started making gingerbread houses with my nephews when we got married. Then, we added our children to the tradition when they were born. It has become one of our favorite Christmas time activities.
However, when we discovered my son’s nut allergy, things got a bit trickier. There are some nut free gingerbread house kits out there, but they can be hard to find. So if we can’t find one, we let the boys put it together and decorate it, but then they just can’t eat it. But what fun is that?
Since I’ve always wanted to make a gingerbread house from scratch with my boys anyway, I decided that is really the better option. I mean, who wants to make a gingerbread house and then not eat it? And my boys love baking with me, so it’s a win-win for all of us. So, we started making our gingerbread houses from scratch.
Here’s how we did it…
- The first thing you need is a really good gingerbread dough recipe like this one from Pampered Chef.
- The next thing you need is either a gingerbread house mold like the one I used from Pampered Chef, (I promise I’m not trying to sell you on Pampered Chef. I don’t sell their stuff. It’s purely a coincidence. ha ha!) OR a gingerbread house template like this one. If you use a template you will need to: A. Print and then cut out the template, B. Roll your gingerbread dough out and place template on top of dough, C. Cut the gingerbread out around the template.
- Whether you use a mold or a template (I’ve done both before and I like them equally well.), the next thing you’ll do is bake your gingerbread.
- Once it’s baked you’ll want to make your Royal Icing. It’s VERY important to use Royal Icing and not a store bought icing. The Royal Icing will harden and hold everything together really well. With a homemade gingerbread house, you need to make sure you have the right kind of icing, or your house won’t stay together. HERE is a great Royal Icing recipe.
- Now the fun part! Assemble and decorate! Be creative with this and just have fun! You can use any kind of candy you like. (We used Dots, Tootsie Rolls, Candy Canes, Spree, and Sixlets. All of which are nut free!)
**TIP: Be sure to assemble your house and let the icing harden BEFORE you add any candy decorations. It helps ensure the house will be a little more sturdy when you decorate.**
Normally we just do one house and my kids decorate it all themselves. However, this year I decided to make my own “pretty” gingerbread house as well. So we had two gingerbread houses to enjoy!
I hope you and your family have as much fun making your own gingerbread houses from scratch as we did!