As a family tradition, Marc and I made our own gingerbread house every year and decorated it together. When Mason turned 2, the realization hit me that he could probably do this with us. Duh! So starting that year I began a yearly playdate for the mommies group for all the kids to come over to make gingerbread houses together. But the normal full size houses would be too much work for me to do, so I shrunk my design and made mini-houses. I made one for each of the kids to decorate on their own. It’s been a big hit (and a lot of work) every year! Everything you need to know is below: the instructions, recipes and free templates. Here are the instructions:
Using the gingerbread recipe below, mix the gingerbread, roll it out and cut the pattern pieces as indicated. (Since I do this every year, I laminated my template pieces so they can be wiped off and re-used.) Bake the pieces per the instructions and allow to cool. The picture below is for several houses, so don’t panic. I do them in bulk! The normal batch size below makes 1 regular house or 2-3 mini-houses depending on how thin you roll the dough.
After they are cooled, I make one batch of the royal icing per the instructions and assemble the houses and allow them to dry and harden overnight. When the kids arrive the next day to decorate them, I make 2-3 batches of the icing and put a small portion in a paper cup for each of them to use with a plastic knife. They each bring their own decorations and use the additional icing to add them onto the house.
Mason making his house:
Here is a photo gallery of several of the kid’s decorated houses over the last two years.
Here are the recipes!
1 stick of butter at room temp
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Molasses
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Ginger
1 Tablespoon Ground Clove (I don’t like clove, so I leave this out.)
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Cups Flour
2 Tablespoons Water
Preheat the oven to 375. Mix all the dough ingredients except the flour and water until creamy. Add the flour 1 cup at a time and mix it in a standing mixer or by hand until all the flour is incorporated. Add the water and mix it well. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thick. Cut the required pieces (2 front, 2 side, 2 roof, 2 small chimney pieces and 1 each of the remaining two chimney pieces). Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes but watch them closely so the small pieces do not burn. This recipe makes 2 small houses or 1 regular size house.
3 3/4 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Large Egg Whites
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Mix the ingredients together with a hand mixer, adding 1 cup of sugar at a time until all the sugar is used and the mixture is very shiny (mix for about 6 minutes after all sugar is added). Once the icing is ready, you must work fast to use it because it hardens over time. If you need to keep it for a bit of time, cover it with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator but it does not last long.
I got the cutout pattern from:
I do not use their recipe because I had my own, but I used their pattern. For the mini-houses, I used my scanner to reduce the size by 50%. Attached are the patterns for full size and for mini houses. You can click on the photos and save to your computer or use the easy download buttons below.
Regular sized Gingerbread House Pattern Downloads (3):
Below is the mini version of the pattern, note that the printed dimensions on the pieces are no longer accurate because it was reduced by using a copy machine.
Mini Gingerbread House Download: