View Full Version : I need help with Gingerbread House Decorating party

11-02-2008, 09:35 PM
I am considering inviting some girlfriends over and holding a Gingerbread House decorating party next month.

I would love an easy recipe for gingerbread dough that would be good for making houses. Anyone have a good one to share?

Would purchased, canned frosting work okay for adhering candy to the walls and ceilings?

I am also thinking of hot glueing the walls and roofs together before everyone arrives. That way, people can dive right into decorating. Nobody actually eats gingerbread houses, do they?

11-03-2008, 05:22 AM
The weeone is invited to a Gingerbread House decorating party every year. When we arrive the houses themselves are already assembled and the centers of 6 foot tables are COVERED in goodies to decorate with, but she uses Royal Icing to assemble in case you choose to eat them. Also each girl gets a piping bag full of Royal Icing to "glue" decorations on. I don't think that canned frosting would set as fast or as hard as Royal will. If you have a cake supply shop nearby and are looking for simple, they sell Royal Icing Mix that you just add a bit of water to - I would plan on one batch per decorator.

As for the gingerbread itself, here's the recipe I've used before (it's from Epicurious).

Gingerbread House

* 6 3/4 cups all purpose flour
* 4 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 1 1/2 cups solid vegetable shortening
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 3 large eggs
* 3/4 cup robust (dark) molasses

* 1 roll kitchen parchment (at least 10 yards long sold at cookware stores and at some supermarkets)
* 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter for roof tiles
* Assorted cookie cutters (such as Christmas tree, gingerbread man, and star)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda


* 6 cardboard sheets (about 15 X 15 inches)

* Waxed paper


Sift flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and cardamom into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat shortening in large bowl until fluffy. Add sugar and beat to blend. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Add molasses and beat on high speed until well blended. Add dry ingredients in 4 additions, beating at low speed until dough forms. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into rectangle. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, at least 6 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Rolling, Cutting and Baking:
Each of the six pieces of dough will be used for one of the large sections of the house (the two side walls, the front and the back walls, and the two roof sections). The scraps will be rerolled to make the roof tiles, trees, stars, figures and other cookies for nibbling.

Make templates:
On one cardboard sheet, draw 14-inch round and cut out, making base for house. On another cardboard sheet, draw one 7- X 10-inch rectangle and cut out. Outline rectangle 3 more times on cardboard sheets and cut out, making 4 foundation rectangles. Draw one 6- X 9-inch rectangle on cardboard sheet and cut out, making roof template. Draw one 7- X 4-inch rectangle on cardboard sheet and cut out, making side wall template. Cut out 2 (1 1/2-inch) squares for windows.

To make the template for the front and back of the house, draw a 4- X 5-inch rectangle on cardboard sheet, then use the 5-inch side of the rectangle as the base for a triangle with the opposite angle 4 inches away from base. To make a door, cut a 1 1/2- X 2 3/4-inch rectangle in the center of the opposite 5-inch side of rectangle.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Roll out 1 dough piece (keep remaining dough refrigerated) between two 15-inch-long sheets of parchment to scant 1/4-inch rectangle, turning over dough and parchment occasionally. If parchment wrinkles, peel off, smooth wrinkle and reposition parchment over dough; continue to roll out dough to required thickness.

To make roof, place cardboard roof template atop parchment. Using small sharp knife, cut around template through top sheet of parchment to make 6x9-inch rectangle. Peel top parchment off dough.

Pull away excess dough from around the rectangle. Slide dough rectangle on its bottom parchment onto heavy large baking sheet. Gather dough scraps; wrap in plastic and refrigerate.

Bake rectangle until dry looking, firm to touch in center and just beginning to darken around edges, about 13 minutes. Slide parchment with rectangle onto rack and cool completely. Rinse baking sheet under cold water to cool; wipe dry.

Repeat rolling, cutting and baking of each remaining 5 large dough pieces, 1 piece at a time, to make second roof section, 2 side walls, front wall and back wall (cut out windows on side walls and door on front wall but not door on back wall). Gather and refrigerate dough scraps for use later and rinse baking sheet to cool each time.

Roof tiles:
Roll out some of reserved dough scraps between sheets of parchment to 1/8-inch thickness. Peel off top parchment. Using floured 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds for roof tiles. Using small knife as aid, cut and pull away dough from between rounds.

Slide parchment with cookie rounds onto cooled baking sheet. Bake cookies until dry looking and firm to touch, about 9 minutes. Slide parchment with cookies onto rack and cool cookies. Working in batches, repeat with more reserved dough to roll, cut and bake a total of 50 round cookies, gathering, wrapping and chilling any dough scraps each time.

Door and other cutouts:
Roll out some of reserved dough between sheets of parchment to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out 2 1/2x1 1/2-inch rectangle for front door. Using floured cookie cutters, cut out several stars, gingerbread figures, Christmas trees and other decorative shapes as desired. Using small knife as aid, pull or cut away dough from around door and between shapes. Slide parchment with cookies onto cooled baking sheet. Bake cookies until dry looking and firm to touch, about 9 minutes. Slide parchment with cookies onto rack and cool cookies completely. Remove all baked gingerbread from parchment. (All gingerbread can be prepared 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

11-03-2008, 05:29 AM
We go to one every year and I would agree with Terri that it is important for the houses to be assembled when you get there. My friend does them the night before so they have a chance to set.

I have to say, I would just use the kits if I were you. I generally buy mine at Michaels with the 40% off coupon. If you want to do something that people might eat, I would make gingerbread house cookies and let them decorate those. I saw some really cute ones in a Family Fun book.

I think you must really use Royal icing. I just don't think canned frosting is going to work.

Terri -- It's November Why are you here? :)

11-03-2008, 05:36 AM
I've done a gingerbread house get-together with friends for years. Absolutely do have the houses assembled before they come. And absolutely DO NOT use canned frosting! The stuff will slide right off of there and won't get hard the way royal icing does. The best royal icing recipe is Martha Stewart's. It's what we use for assembling the houses as well as for adhering decorations.

Martha Stewart's Eggless Royal Icing

1 pound confectioners' sugar (aka powdered sugar)
5 tablespoons meringue powder (powdered egg whites also work)
Liquid or gel-paste food coloring (optional)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar, meringue powder, and a scant 1/2 cup water on low speed. Beat until mixture is fluffy yet dense, 7 to 8 minutes.

Test the consistency by lifting a spoonful of icing and letting it drip back into the bowl; a ribbon should remain on the surface for 5-7 seconds. If not using immediately, transfer to an airtight container (icing hardens quickly when exposed to air), and store at room temperature for up to one week. Beat with a rubber spatula before using. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

11-03-2008, 05:40 AM
Terri -- It's November Why are you here? :)

Good work....I'm out -


11-03-2008, 07:55 AM
Terri - Thanks for the help! I will go get the pre-fab royal icing. I want to have to do as little as possible for this get together.

cchhbb - I will check into the Michael's kits too. That might be the way to go for this!

If I make the royal icing (either instant or MS's recipe) will it be pliable enough for preschoolers to squeeze? Or do the adults usually do the frosting part?

Do plastic piping bags work okay for this? I only have one Ateco (sp?) white bag so would need to purchase the disposable ones for the party.

11-03-2008, 07:57 AM
I forgot to ask -

For those that have done this in a party setting, would 2 hours be enough time to do the decorating plus a little socializing? My guests will be moms and kids (preschool thru 6th grade).

11-03-2008, 09:16 AM
At the one we go to every year, I think the party is about 3 hours, but that includes a lot of playtime for the kids and dinner for the parents. She sets up the decorating area in her garage and has a bunch of small tables set up. There's a decorated house at each table with a ton of candy.

The kits come with royal icing in a piping bag. You need to microwave the bag right before you use it. It will get hard in awhile. Don't cut too large of a hole for a tip. My boys (3 & 6) can easily sqeeze the royal icing, but usually DH or I administer the icing and they decorate.