My First Gingerbread House: Simple And Fun

I have always wanted to make my own gingerbread house but was intimidated by the process.  This year was going to be different.  I knew if I kept the design simple I could pull off a cute little gingerbread house for the fireplace mantel.  I also knew that my toddler was going to love the process.  In full disclosure, I decided to construct the house during nap time so it could set up and be ready when it was time to decorate.  Traditionally you decorate each section of the house while it’s laying down before you construct, but since this house was small I decided to assemble first so my son would have a blank slate to add the details.  For the stand, I used a cardboard cake round, cut it to size of the fireplace mantel and wrapped it in parchment paper.

The gingerbread and royal icing recipe was a critical part of this project.  Thankfully the Serious Eats website had both.  What I liked about this gingerbread recipe was that it made one baking sheet size of gingerbread.  So based on your house design you could determine how many “sheets” you need.  In my quest to keep things simple I wanted to only make one sheet.  So one sheet of gingerbread equalled one cute little gingerbread house.   In terms of decorating, you can really have some fun and be creative.  I didn’t want to introduce more candy into the house and my toddler’s diet, so I kept the decorations to only pretzels and royal icing.

Quick Note:  I made and used the gingerbread and royal icing the same day.  But you can refrigerate the gingerbread dough over night and keep the royal icing covered in room temperature for up to 12 hours.

Recipe Sources: Serious Eats Gingerbread and Serious Eats Royal Icing


Gingerbread House and Royal Icing - Serious Eats

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Yields: 15x11 sheet


  • 1/4 Cup - Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons - Cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 Teaspoons - Ground Ginger
  • 1 1/4 Teaspoons - Ground Cloves
  • 1/8 Teaspoon - Kosher Salt
  • 1/3 Cup + 1 Tablespoon - Light Corn Syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons - Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons - Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/3 Cups - All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 Cups - Powdered Sugar
  • The Egg White of 1 Large Egg


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle
  3. With a stand mixer and paddle attachment mix the Light Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Ginger, Clove, Salt, Corn Syrup, Butter and Vanilla Extract. Mix until smooth
  4. Sprinkle in the flour while the mixer is on low. Mix until a tough dough forms. Turnout onto a floured surface knead until smooth
  5. Sprinkle the parchment with flour and roll the dough out. Use the parchment paper as your guide for size. If the dough becomes sticky, dust with flour. Transfer to baking sheet
  6. Use your gingerbread template and with a knife trace the design.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes. Once you remove from the oven, immediately cut along your design edge. Have the gingerbread cool on the baking sheet before you transfer your pieces onto the wire rack
  9. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, add 1.5 cups of powdered sugar with the egg white. Once combined add the additional powdered sugar. If the icing is too dry add 1 tablespoon of water. Add icing to a piping bag and have some creative fun!

Additional Info

Scraps of gingerbread left on the baking sheet can be used to snack on, or placed in food processor and create gingerbread crumbs for your decorating needs.

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