Hi, I need some advice from seasoned gingerbread house builders.
I want to take on a very detailed, very large gingerbread house project this year.
My question is... if i'm not planning on eating it... how long in advance can I start working on it?
And should I make all the elements (like roof tiles etc) first and then make the house?
Thanks for your help!
You can make it at least a month or two in advance. Starting earlier is a possibility if you don't live in a humid area. There's a very good recipe I found on the internet called Gingerbread Plywood. The name alone should give you an idea of how sturdy it is! I've used it and it's wonderful.You can do your roof tiles, etc., either before or after your walls and rooves - I've done it both ways. Royal icing makes great glue. The thing that took me the longest was the "blueprints" - you need to have a really good pattern to cut the pieces from, and you need to calculate things like overhangs, window spacing, etc. That and getting all the candies together - I thought I'd never get done with that. I made my roof tiles from terracotta-colored gumpaste the last time, and they looked pretty cool. PM me if you want to talk about this some more. I didn't have time to make a house in 2011, but I'm sure going to do it this year.
Some decorators start planning and making nearly a year in advance for Gingerbread Village Displays at local fundraiser events. The sponsors are anxious to get you to commit months in advance to fill the spots and know what to prepare for.
As long as you have the space to work on it where it won't get bumped and ruined and/or a container to store it in to also prevent bugs from being attracted to it while you're working on it, I'd say you can start as soon as you'd like.
Many people store them for years to use as holiday decorations. If/when they start to fall apart from crumbling royal icing, they can be repaired to last even longer.
Hi, I am going to make a few gingerbread houses this year. 1st time
There are two really good websites for gingerbread houses on the internet. One is
and the other is
Both have photos, instructions, recipes and a whole lot more. For some reason, I can't find the gingerbread plywood recipe I mentioned above, but I'll post it as soon as I can translate it back into English (I used it for a gb house course I gave a year ago here in Cancún, so I had to put it in Spanish). It's edible, doesn't spread as it bakes and it's very sturdy.
I used frosted shredded mini wheat for my roof on the one and only gingerbread house I made.
Here's the Gingerbread Plywood recipe I found. Unfortunately, I don't have the source anymore. It's very tasty, and can be used for cookies as well with the addition of a little baking soda. It will also resist just about anything you want to put on it. It's the recipe I used for the gingerbread house in my photos (which was great fun, but not my most sterling effort!). Since I was using it for a class, I added a lot of detail to the instructions.
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda (NOTE: only for making cookies for gingerbread houses, omit this ingredient)
1 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1¼ cups molasses
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Mix flour, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves (and the baking soda, if making cookies) in a large bowl. Start melting the shortening in a saucepan. When the shortening is about half melted, remove from flame and stir till shortening is totally melted. Add sugar and molasses. Finally, add the two eggs, stirring quickly to keep the eggs from hardening from the heat of the shortening. Pour this mixture into the bowl containing the flour mixture and stir well till everything is thoroughly mixed. The dough will be kind of soft. Wrap in plastic and place in refrigerator till it hardens. Once the dough is hard, remove from refrigerator and leave at room temperature for about an hour or until it becomes manageable.
Line one or more baking sheets with aluminum foil. Place part of the dough on each baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Roll dough out on each sheet until it is about 3/8 thick and remove plastic wrap.
Cut out the pieces for the house using the pattern pieces and a pizza cutter or a very sharp knife (the pizza cutter will not distort the dough like a knife will, but some of the details will require a knife blade). Do not forget to cut out the door and window spaces and remember also to turn over the pattern pieces that need to be cut in mirror images, like the side walls. There is no need to leave much space between the pieces on the baking sheet, because the dough doesnt expand much (less than ¼) when baking.When all pieces have been cut for each cookie sheet, remove the scraps of gingerbread dough (including the door and window spaces!). The scraps should be returned to their plastic wrap so that they dont dry out. Since no flour is added in the rolling out, the dough may be used over and over.
Bake pieces at 350°F for about 20 minutes (smaller pieces will take less time and the very largest pieces will take a little more, so be sure to check several times for doneness during baking.
Cookies are made in the same way, but the baking time will be less, probably about 16-17 minutes.
When pieces are golden brown, they are removed from the oven. Remove foil from the baking sheets along with the pieces and let them rest on a flat surface until pieces are cool. Once cooled, foil should be removed very carefully.
Oh I am such an addict, now you guys have me wanting to make a gingerbread village lol Someone get me off this thing!
Hi Marianna, Thanks for the gingerbread internet links. Thanks for your recipe. Did you use just 1 recipe to make your gingerbread house or did you have to double it? Your house came out great!
Hey, Kathy107! If I remember correctly, I doubled the recipe and then had a bunch left over that I made cookies with (they turn out pretty nicely even without the baking soda). The amount you need depends on how big and how detailed your house is. If I'd had more time, I would probably have added some gingerbread plants and people to the scene. If you want to see some really spectacular houses, here's a link:
One more question Marianna - How far in advance can I make the gingerbread house to be eaten with the recipe you used? Thanks again.
If you keep it away from dust and humidity, you can probably make it several months in advance - there's really nothing in it that would ferment or go rancid.