Making Gingerbread Houses
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
Making gingerbread houses definitely takes more time than buying the pre-made kits but it allows you to customize the design. And if you're planning to eat the house, the homemade gingerbread and buttercream frosting taste a lot better than packaged store-bought kinds, too!
Gingerbread Cookies
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 2½ cups flour
Gingerbread House Patterns in Waxed Paper or Cardboard
  • 2 5x6-inch rectangles {for the roof}
  • 2 4x5-inch rectangles {for the sides of the house}
  • 2 trapezoids measuring 5 inches across at the bottom, 6 inches tall to the peak {for the front and back of the house}
Buttercream Frosting
  • 3¾ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp milk
Gingerbread Cookies
  1. Beat the shortening and the sugar on medium speed until they are creamed together.
  2. Mix in the baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves.
  3. Stir in the molasses, egg and vinegar.
  4. Gradually add the flour and mix the batter until it is blended well.
  5. Divide the dough in half, cover each part with plastic wrap and chill the dough for at least 3 hours.
  6. Working with a small portion of dough and leaving the rest covered in the refrigerator, roll out the dough to about ¼-inch thickness on a floured surface.
  7. Cut the dough into the shapes of your choice using patterns out of waxed paper or a thin cardboard and a pizza cutter.
  8. Place the shapes on a greased cookie sheet.
  9. Bake the cookies at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until the edges are just turning light brown. You want them to be soft enough so that the houses don't crumble but you also don't want them to be so soft that they fall apart.
  10. Let the cookies cool for one minute and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Buttercream Frosting
  1. Mix the ingredients.
  2. Beat them for several minutes until a smooth, creamy frosting forms.
Assembling the Gingerbread House
  1. Cover a piece of cardboard with foil or decorative paper for the base.
  2. Pipe buttercream frosting along the bottom and edges of one of the sides of the house and the front.
  3. Stick the pieces together on the base. They will help to hold each other up.
  4. Then do the same with the other side and the back of the house and stick the pieces together.
  5. Let the base of the house rest until the frosting hardens to ensure that it is sturdy enough to hold the roof pieces.
  6. Pipe frosting along all of the top edges of the house and then carefully place the roof rectangles on top.
  7. Fill in any gaps with icing and make sure the house seems secure.
  8. Let the frosting harden for several hours or overnight before decorating it.
Recipe by Itsy Bitsy Foodies at