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Old-Fashioned Gingerbread House Recipe

Share a week’s worth of holiday fun with family and friends when you build an old-fashioned gingerbread house.

November/December 2015

  • Nothing is more traditional and fun than building a gingerbread house with your loved ones.
    Photo by Susan Wasinger

This dough may be refrigerated for up to a week. If you have extra dough, cut cookie shapes to feed your building crew. This is a thick, construction-worthy icing. It may be thinned with water for use in decorating the house.

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread House Recipe


For Gingerbread:
• 8 cups flour
• 1-1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1-1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1-1⁄2 teaspoons salt
• 1-1⁄2 teaspoons ground cloves
• 1-1⁄2 teaspoons nutmeg
• 1 tablespoon ground ginger
• 1 tablespoon cinnamon
• 1⁄2 teaspoon ground pepper (optional)
• 2-1⁄2 sticks butter, softened
• 1 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
• 3 eggs
• 2 cups unsulfured molasses

For Construction Icing:
• 6 large egg whites
• 10 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, divided


To make gingerbread:

1. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.

2. With an electric mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and molasses.

3. Add 1⁄3 of the flour mixture and beat on slow speed until combined, then add the remainder of the flour mixture in 2 batches, beating after each addition. Chill dough at least 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5. Roll dough between 2 sheets of baking parchment until it’s 1⁄8-inch-thick. Remove top sheet of parchment. Using cardboard templates, cut out house pieces.

6. Transfer pieces, still on parchment, to an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly brown along the edges and firm to the touch. Let pieces cool on baking sheet, about 20 minutes. While they’re still warm, check their shape with the appropriate template and trim with a sharp knife if necessary. Let pieces set overnight.

To make construction icing:

With an electric mixer, beat egg whites on low speed until frothy. Add 1⁄2 cup sugar and beat for another minute. Add remaining sugar in 4 batches and beat on high speed for 5 to 10 minutes or until the mixture holds a stiff peak and is as thick as toothpaste. Keep icing in a covered bowl until ready to use, then beat gently for 1 minute before using.

Find more traditional holiday treats, decor and activities in Have an Old-Fashioned Holiday.

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