In honor of National Gingerbread House Day (Dec 12), Chef Vance created a replica of the new Mrs. G showroom out of gingerbread. Below is the recipe and his method in creating the masterpiece. Check out the time lapse of the assembly below. Make sure to like and subscribe to our channel so you will be alerted when new videos are added.
When you’re creating a gingerbread house based on a real structure, it’s important to have a visual to work from. I went outside of the store and did a free-hand sketch of what the basic store looked like. I then converted my sketch into a drawing with dimensions. With this information I was able to find some pieces of cardboard in our warehouse to build a mini prototype to act as my blueprint. Most people would say to use the cardboard pieces as templates for the dough after it has been rolled out. I used my pieces to make a 3D model to measure the gingerbread against.
Once I had a model, it was time to make some gingerbread. Since this was my first time making a gingerbread house of this size, I doubled the recipe to make sure I had enough.
- 6 ¾ cup All-purpose flour
- 4 ½ tsp. ground ginger
- 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cup shortening
- 3 ea. large eggs
- ¾ cup dark molasses
- Sift flour, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl.
- Preferably using a stand mixer, beat shortening until fluffy. Scrape the side down and add the sugar. Beat until fluffy again. Add 1 egg at a time, mixing and scraping the bowl down after each egg. Lastly add in the molasses and beat until well blended.
- Scrape the side of the bowl again and add in flour ½ cup at a time. Incorporate each ½ cup of flour before adding in the next ½ cup.
- Once all the flour has been added and dough is formed, bread the whole dough down into 5 equal parts. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum 1 hr.
- In between 2 pieces of parchment paper roll out dough to a thickness of about a little less than ¼ in.
- Using a sharp knife and whatever template you choose cut out the shapes needed for the ginger bread house. Bake on parchment paper.
- When I was rolling out my pieces of dough I would refer to my 3D model of the store to find out what sizes I needed for the walls and roof.
- Any extra dough can be saved in a zip lock back and stored in the refrigerator until needed.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 9 min, let cool for 1 min on pan and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. **Make sure all pieces are cooled completely before assembling.
Other equipment to make things easy:
- Rolling pin
- Cooling racks
- Sturdy base to build on (thick cardboard)
Note: I found that when making the dough, the final product should be stiff. A simple test to know if the dough is ready is when it doesn’t stick to your fingers and is easily moldable.
- 4 ea. large egg whites
- 7 ½ cup powder sugar
- Whip egg whites until foamy, adding ½ cup powder sugar at a time and scraping down the sides incorporate all of the powder sugar. The longer you mix the stiffer the icing will become.
- Store in a zip lock bag, only use what you need at a time to keep the icing moist.
Note: You will need a piping bag and a piping tip to easily assemble you ginger bread house.
Time to Build..
Full disclosure: it takes quite a bit of time to get to the assembly stage. Between the blueprint, 3D model building, the dough making, baking, and cooling of the pieces, it has taken about 10 hours. Not all gingerbread houses will take this long; it’s only because this was a special project.
From my preparation I had 2 pieces for the side walls, another 2 pieces for the front and back walls, 2 roofs, and 3 pieces for the sign at the front of the store.
- First I pipped a line of icing down on the baseboard, then added the wall on top of that piece of icing. To keep the wall from moving, I placed a mug on either side of the wall at opposite ends. Next I pipped a line of icing on either side of the wall at the bottom to ensure the stability.
- The back wall was next. Repeating the same steps as the previous wall, I added a line of icing on the connecting side to the left wall where the back wall will be connected. Use the mugs the brace the sides until the icing firms. Pipe icing across the bottom to secure the base of the wall to the baseboard, repeating on the inside too.
- For the right wall the same process is needed. By the time you get to this step the first wall is probably set and you can remove the mugs.
- I tried putting the front wall up first but ran into some complications when adding the roof on, so the roof came next. To hold the roof up, I put 3 empty illy coffee bean cans inside. There were 2 placed in the front corner and 1 in the middle of the back wall. Some icing was applied to the tops of the cans and also the tops of the 3 standing walls. With all coffee cups removed from the inside the roof went on.
- Lastly the front wall needed to be assembled then attached to the rest of the gingerbread house. First, I needed to add the braces for the sign. That was done with same process as installing the walls. Then the sign got added to the braces and the front was ready to be added to the house.
- With steady hands, a line of icing was placed on the baseboard, inside the front left wall, and again on the front right wall. I used a mug as a brace in the front to steady the wall while it dried.
- Final touch-ups were made with icing to little gaps and holes. The structure of the ginger bread house was complete, and it was time to decorate.
Decorating: You can really use any candy and figurines you want to decorate a gingerbread house. As you can see from the photos and the time lapse video below, I used a combination of candy, ice cream cones (for trees) and toys.
We hope you enjoyed learning about my process in creating the Mrs. G gingerbread house. Let us know your experience with making gingerbread houses, or just tell us your favorite candy decoration!