Last Christmas, my mom got us a gingerbread house cookie cutter. Since most people don’t actually make gingerbread houses, except for around Christmas, I stashed it away until December of this year rolled around.
While I’ve decorated gingerbread houses in the past, I had never actually made homemade gingerbread. I always bought the boxed stuff, which I feel like most people do. But after trying this, it really isn’t hard to make and allows you to really make whatever you want. By the way this recipe makes a TON of cookies! It had enough to make 18 complete mini-gingerbread houses. Obviously you can cut the recipe down, or you can just make some gingerbread cookies for eating right away as well! The big thing to keep in mind is for the houses you want a really crisp gingerbread cookie so it holds up.
The real fun of gingerbread houses though is the decorating. The icing used is simple to make and is meant to harden fast so you can work quickly. Lauren and I spent one night decorating a village (because we had a ton of ready-made houses). While it won’t be on the cover of a food magazine, we had a lot of fun doing it. For those that have always just bought the box version, I suggest finding a house cookie cutter like we have and giving this a try. Hope you have a fun-filled night!
These are meant for homemade gingerbread houses. I happen to have a cookie cutter that makes a house.
Preheat oven to 325F. Place brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon and ginger in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add baking soda.
Stir in butter gradually, stirring well between additions to combine. Add egg, vanilla and salt to sugar mixture, stirring to combine. Pour into large mixing bowl.
With paddle attachment, bring to medium speed and add flour 1 cup at a time, allowing it to incorporate each time. Once mixed, turn dough onto lightly floured work surface and knead until dough is no longer sticky, adding flour by the tbsp if necessary.
Roll out half the dough on a floured work surface to 1/6-1/8 inch thick. (I have a roller that tells me thickness which makes things easier) Cut dough into desired shape. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake until edges are slightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool on a cooling rack. Wait until completely cool before decorating.
In a large mixing bowl, beat all ingredients together until peaks form. It should take about 7-10 minutes. If you want stiffer icing, use one less tbsp water and if want to thin icing, add 1/2 tsp extra water at a time until you reach desired consistency.