My love for gingerbread houses continues to grow and this year, I decided to go all out and deck our tree as if it were a mountain village of gingerbread homes.
Not only was this project such a cheery boost for my spirit, it brought back nice memories of childhood Christmas crafting with the most simple objects and ingredients. I tend to be at my creative best when I have little to work with.
I started out with making the gingerbread. I love this recipe adapted from Serious Eats:
Construction Gingerbread House Recipe:
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 3 tablespoons butter at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- NOTE: Do not substitute ingredients. Doing so can cause bubbles, create a weak dough, etc.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, corn syrup, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low until smooth, then sprinkle in flour and continue mixing to form a stiff dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Proceed immediately, or wrap in plastic and set aside at room temperature until needed, up to 24 hours. (Larger batches should be divided into 14-ounce portions.)
Place dough on parchment paper that has been sprinkled with flour. Sprinkle more flour onto the top of the dough and roll out to your desired thickness. (I roll my dough very thinly so that it goes a long way and so that each gingerbread house is as light as possible). Cut according to your gingerbread house template (see note below about templates), using an X-Acto or paring knife. Transfer shapes to the sheet pan.
Bake gingerbread until dry to the touch and golden brown. This can vary anywhere from 7-25 minutes, depending on size and thickness of your shapes. Transfer cut-outs to a cooling rack and cool completely before handling.
- Assemble houses with melted white candy melts, using a disposable piping bag.
- Allow to fully dry and set.
Carefully tuck houses into the tree, making sure they’re stable and won’t fall.
This was an extremely time consuming project that took me about three full days to complete. Of course, I realize this may not be interesting or doable for some, but I do hope it may inspire your own craft or project that’s meaningful to you.
You can substitute cardboard for the gingerbread if you have pets or small children you’re worried about eating the houses.
I hope you are doing well and staying healthy this holiday season. I’ll be sharing more of my homemade holiday projects here and hope that I’m able to add a little cheer to your home.
Sources (Affiliate links below):
My chandelier can be found here.
The tree skirt is a throw blanket, found here.
Stay-at-home mom, Serena Thompson, dreamed of creating a fun and happy little event to sell her vintage and handmade goods. In 2002, she and some friends held the first event in her neighbor’s barn. The sale became wildly popular and began attracting visitors from across the country and recognition in national magazines. Today the event fills the Spokane County Fairgrounds and features hundreds of creatively and carefully curated spaces filled with vintage and handmade goods. Many describe it as a bucket list event, magical, inspirational, and the best vintage & handmade fair in the country. Serena describes it as the happiest on earth.