Make a Log Cabin Gingerbread House
For gingerbread dough:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For royal icing:
1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
For house embellishments:
3 ounces candy melts
8 ounces chocolate fondant
2 bags pretzel rods
3 tablespoons green sanding sugar
round confetti sprinkles in red and white
1 cup powdered sugar
For house construction:
log cabin gingerbread house template
Make Gingerbread Dough
- Sift flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt into large bowl.
- Beat butter in another large bowl with an electric hand mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Add brown sugar and beat 1 minute.
- Add molasses and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add egg and beat until well blended, about 1 minute.
- Reduce speed to low and beat in vanilla.
- Add flour mixture and beat on low speed just to blend (Image 1).
- Gather dough into ball and divide in half. Form each half into ball and flatten into disk (Image 2). Wrap disks separately in plastic and chill until firm, at least 4 hours.
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (Image 3).
- Working with one disk at a time, roll out dough between two sheets of waxed paper to 1/4-inch thickness.
- Use the log cabin template to cut pieces from the gingerbread dough (Image 4), and transfer to prepared sheets, spacing two inches apart.
- Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are firm on top and slightly darker around edges, about 8 minutes for smaller shapes and up to 15 minutes for larger shapes.
- Remove from the oven and re-cut the gingerbread pieces using the templates and a sharp knife (Image 5). This will ensure the pieces fit together perfectly when assembled. Let pieces cool completely.
Make Royal Icing
- Whisk together meringue powder and powdered sugar (Image 1).
- Pour mixture into bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.
- Add warm water and mix on high speed for about 5-7 minutes or until stiff peaks are achieved (Image 2).
- Transfer to a piping bag and use to assemble gingerbread house pieces.
- Cover remaining royal icing with a damp towel to prevent crusting (Image 3).
Gingerbread House Construction
- Warm candy melts in a heatproof bowl in the microwave at 30-second intervals. Stir well until mixture is melted smooth and no lumps remain.
- Gather the gingerbread pieces (Image 1). Coat the short sides of a front/back piece with candy melts using a spoon (Image 2). Attach a side piece on either side, butting the short ends against the candy-coated short ends of the front piece. Hold the pieces in place for 2-3 minutes, or use a tall tumbler as a prop (Image 3).
- Coat the remaining front/back pieces and short ends with candy melt and position between the side pieces on the open end. Let stand until set (Image 4).
- Coat the under edges of the roof pieces with the melted candy (Image 1) (reheat in the microwave if candy sets) then place them, angled, on top. Hold until set, about 2-3 minutes (Image 2).
- Roll out chocolate between two sheets of wax paper or parchment paper. Cut into 1x2-inch pieces (Image 3). Serrate each piece with a toothpick or the back of a knife (Image 4). Attach the pieces to the roof beginning at the bottom edge and working upward (Image 5). If the pieces don't adhere naturally, use a dab of water on the underside of the shingle before attaching it. Repeat process on the roof piece.
- Measure pretzel rods against the front of the house and cut to size with a sharp knife (Image 1). Cover front piece with royal icing using an offset spatula. Press cut pretzels into the royal icing (Image 2). Repeat process on sides and back of the house.
- Adhere two long pretzel rods on the edge of the roof at one front end of the house using royal icing (Image 3). Cut long strips of chocolate fondant in matching lengths and striate with a toothpick or the back of a knife (Image 4). Adhere pieces with dabs of royal icing just underneath the pretzel pieces (Image 5). Use the back of a knife to make lines in the fondant mimicking planks/boards.
- Cut a 2 1/2 x 1 1/4 piece of chocolate fondant that has been rolled to 1/4-inch thickness, and serrate with a toothpick or the back of a knife. This will be the front door. Press a dragee into the piece to one side for a "doorknob" (Image 1). Adhere the door to the pretzel facade using a dab of royal icing (Image 2).
- Cut a 2x2-inch square of chocolate fondant and adhere it just below the peak of the roof using royal icing (Image 3). Serrate with a knife and divide into two doors with a deep indentation (Image 4). Press dragees into the fondant on either door panel as "doorknobs."
- Cut a 3-inch round piece of chocolate fondant, and then cut out a 1 1/2-inch circle from the center using the large end of a piping tip or a bottle cap (Image 1). Lightly coat the circle with water and sprinkle over green sanding sugar (Image 2). Let set until partially dry. Adhere wreath just above the front door using royal icing. Press in confetti sprinkles onto wreath (Image 3).
- Allow house to dry completely overnight. When house is set, transfer to a cake plate or serving board and sprinkle over powdered sugar "snow."
Notes: Chocolate fondant can be found at most craft stores and cake supply shops. If you can't find chocolate fondant, Tootsie Roll candies can be substituted. Knead 5-6 together at one time and roll flat. Cut as desired.
In this recipe, quick-setting candy melts are used as the mortar. It cuts drying time drastically, but royal icing can be used instead.