gingerbread house |

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

gingerbread house |

We were challenged to make a house “as big or as small as we’d like”, and it had to meet these requirements:

1. Everything needed to be edible – no glue or inner non-food supports allowed.

2. We had to bake the gingerbread ourself. No graham cracker allowed.

3. We had to use some sort of template.

4. The house had to be able to stand on its own.

Before we go on, I want to stress that if you want to make a gingerbread house from scratch, it’s a great project, but please leave yourself plenty of time. From start to finish, this takes a little while, so pick a day when you don’t have a lot of other stuff going on.

I started by making one of the challenge recipes but found it hard to roll out. I didn’t want to have to struggle with it, so I wrapped it up and put it in the refrigerator and just made a second batch of dough using Martha Stewart’s Honey Gingerbread Cookie Recipe. I found the latter much easier to work with.

gingerbread house |

I also turned to Martha for a template; I used her Swedish Gingerbread Cottage Template to make my gingerbread house.

I have never attempted a homemade gingerbread house before. I’ve always been too scared to try, and have opted for the kits. But my general feeling about the kits is that they pretty much stink. My houses always fall apart and I think the actual gingerbread tastes terrible. So I was definitely eager to do this challenge.

Apart from having to make the dough twice, I didn’t have too many problems with this challenge. Rolling out the dough and cutting out the pieces of the template was pretty straightforward…

gingerbread house |

gingerbread house |

…and the simple syrup worked really well at holding the pieces together. In the past, I have always used frosting to hold the pieces together and it never worked. Simple syrup is your friend (but it’s hot, so be careful).

gingerbread house |

gingerbread house |

gingerbread house |

I did end up with one broken roof piece, though. I used additional simple syrup to “glue” it back together and then when I piped out the royal icing, I covered the break as best as I could. Break and all, everyone thought it was pretty cute.

gingerbread house |

My house was structurally sound while I took all my pictures, but wouldn’t you know it fell down shortly after. The dough was really delicious, though, so most of it was eaten up.

Then I managed to get the original dough workable enough so that we also made a bunch of cookies and ornaments; I let my kids do most of the work this time around.




All in all, it was a fun project. Not something I’ll do again right away, but next holiday season? For sure.


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  1. 1

    deeba — December 23, 2009 @ 9:03 am

    You did a marvellous job here Winnie. I remember seeing this at the forum & it took my breath away! Wonderful!!
    Happy Holidays !!

  2. 2

    Lauren — December 23, 2009 @ 9:12 am

    I love it Winnie! You house was one of my favourites – so gorgeous, simple and cozy! Don’t worry about the roofs – About half of mine did the same thing (and they were tiny!).

  3. 3

    Simone (junglefrog) — December 23, 2009 @ 9:21 am

    Yes we did use exactly the same template! I think I saw your house on the DB and then thought that the template you used was pretty cute which is why I ended up at Martha’s site anyway… :) I should have used her recipe too! I love your house though; looks absolutely elegant!

  4. 4

    Little Miss Cupcake — December 23, 2009 @ 9:53 am

    Hi Winnie,
    I love your house and agree with Lauren – it’s beautiful in its simplicity. I love how you cut out your windows. Very pretty! Happy Holidays! x Cat

  5. 5

    nithya praveen — December 23, 2009 @ 9:55 am

    Oh they look cute. its simple n beautiful.You hv a great blog out here:)

  6. 6

    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella — December 23, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

    Gorgeous stuff! I love the delicate cut out details and the scalloped roof. You did a great job! :D

  7. 7

    Lan — December 24, 2009 @ 9:05 am

    i love love love the roof and chimney. i saw your gingerbread house in the forum and thought it was so gorgeous. i think what strikes me the most about your creation is that it’s simple… i am kicking myself for not using just the white icing, it makes your structure all the more elegant and striking.

  8. 8

    Leslie — December 24, 2009 @ 10:18 am

    Cute house! I like that you made ornaments out of the scraps, that didn’t even occur to me. I may have to go make some not. :)

  9. 9

    Jill — December 25, 2009 @ 5:06 pm

    I think your house is so adorable! I love the template you used (I too, saw that in the magazine and thought it would be a good one) and I think it turned out great! Merry Christmas! :)

  10. 10

    Y — December 26, 2009 @ 6:39 am

    Nice house! I love the piping, especially on the roof. Sad to hear it ended up collapsing :/

  11. 11

    Natalie — December 26, 2009 @ 9:11 am

    Beautiful house Winnie! You did a great job on it.

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  12. 12

    Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free — December 26, 2009 @ 8:25 pm

    I love your house! The piping is a unique touch – very elegant.

  13. 13

    anna — December 26, 2009 @ 10:29 pm

    Aw, what a cute house! Love the roof!

  14. 14

    Joanna — December 27, 2009 @ 4:37 pm

    Aww… your house is super-cute :) Great attention to detail! You rocked this DB challenge! Here’s hoping for more great bakes in the New Year

  15. 15

    Julia @ Mélanger — December 28, 2009 @ 10:06 pm

    Just lovely. Well done. I used the same template. It was too cute for words. Mine collapsed four times. But managed to snap off a photo or two before it all came crashing down the very last time!

  16. 16

    Lynne — December 29, 2009 @ 5:02 am

    Very challenging task and you’ve constructed a beautiful gingerbread house. Happy New Year.

  17. 17

    Claire — December 30, 2009 @ 10:39 pm

    Your house looks lovely! I love the little window cut-outs. :)

  18. 18

    betty — December 31, 2009 @ 11:49 pm

    just beautiful!

  19. 19

    fairy_mi — January 2, 2010 @ 10:23 am

    Wow, Your gingerbread house is just amazing
    Great shape, and I really love the beautiful decoration!
    You are truly a talented baker, wtg for the fabulous job!
    (also a DB)

  20. 20

    drwinnie — January 5, 2010 @ 11:14 am

    Wow- thanks for all the positive comments about my gingerbread house…it seems like forever ago, but really….thanks!

  21. 21

    Renee (Kudos Kitchen) — October 3, 2010 @ 6:10 am

    I just joined the daring bakers this month. I never expected there to be a challenge like gingerbread house making. Now I’m nervous. LOL Yours turned out really nice and it’s fun to see your kids making some ornaments. Nice Winnie!

  22. 22

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