Nov 28


Gingerbread House Ideas

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It’s become a tradition of mine to make a gingerbread house every Christmas season.  As usual, I turned to Teresa Layman’s books Gingerbread for All Seasons and Gingerbread: Things to Make and Bake for templates and inspiration.  This is what I ended up with:


Below is the back:

gingerbread house gingerbread man lollipop

fondant snowman for gingerbread house

The fondant snowman is all edible except for the toothpick as his nose.

ginger bread house icicles

To make the icicles, use a #2 piping tip and use flood icing.  For the recipe see here.

Begin at the roofline and pipe a enough of a bead of icing so that it adheres, then squeeze and pull.  Let go of the pressure when you’re happy with the length of the icicle and gently pull down.

gingerbread man flood work

gingerbread girl lollipop tree

I made the back and interior of the the house a bit more whimsical with royal icing ‘run-outs’ or ‘flood-work’.  {Basically royal icing piped on parchment paper or acetate paper.  If you’d like to use acetate paper, make sure you lightly coat it with shortening/lard}.

disco dust jube jubes

As usual, I couldn’t resist using disco dust.  These are supposed to be jube-jubes.

inside of gingerbread house christmas tree

inside of gingerbread house

The inside was pretty basic with a Christmas tree, candy gifts and some sticker-inspired flood work.

I seem to get a lot of questions regarding the trees every year.  They’re so simple to make!

undecorated ice cream cones for gingerbread house

Begin with ice cream cones of any size.  Various sizes look nice as well.  You can gently break your cones or stack them to make the ‘trees’ larger or smaller.

unfinished ice cream cone trees

You’ll need to use a thick or stiff icing for the trees.  I used Teresa Layman’s recipe.

Holding the cone by the tip, pipe stiff green ‘stars’ using a #18 tip.  Any star or leaf tip works really and you can pipe small, tight stars or larger, longer ones.  Whatever your preference.  Begin at the base, piping one row at a time, and work your way upwards until you almost reach the top.

Since you need a place to grip the cone, stop piping near the tip and let the icing dry.  Once it is firm, you can gently hold on to the bottom of the tree and finish the rest.  Voila!

ice cream cone tree for gingerbread house

This tree has a little bit of icing sugar dusted over it as well.

I did end up entering the house into my first competition.

Gingerbread House 2009 Competition

Every year our local museum holds a Gingerbread House Competition to raise money for Christmas Cheer – a charity for local families in need.

silver gingerbread award

I ended up with silver in the professional category, representing the school where I teach and Sweetopia.

winning gingerbread house cakes by design

First prize went to Cakes by Design with their adorable house and figurines.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the award ceremony as I was in class with Peggy Porschen, but I was able to get a few shots of the other houses when I delivered my house.  I loved Whoville and so many of the unique ideas!

whoville gingerbread village

gingerbread house santas sleigh

cupcake castle gingerbread house

gingerbread cabin

Happy gingerbreading if you decide to make one this year!



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  1. December 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Well dang it! I guess I am going to have to make a ginger bread house too! Add that to the list of a gazillion Christmas cookies to make! Who am I kidding I love it.

  2. December 11, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    sir very super

  3. December 11, 2011 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    sir very super ginger house

  4. Tina
    December 12, 2011 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Love all the helpful tips that you give and your work is so amazing!!!!! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  5. December 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    @ Jacqueline:
    that pretty good gingerbread hous is si cute and it s so hot gingerbreadhouse

  6. kseniya
    December 12, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    WOW.. I’m speechless.. Amazing work, you should’ve won! How did you make the windows? Did you have to cut them out?

  7. December 12, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    @ kseniya: Easy enough, actually! Small, square cookie cutters. Thanks for visiting. xo

  8. cheryl
    December 13, 2011 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    your houses are gorgeous! im having a little trouble with mine and have a question. i put all my houses together a few days ago. today the roof fell off of one of them…the icing/glue is not holding. why? my recipe is 3 egg whites, 3/4 teaspoon cream of tarter and 1 lb powdered sugar. ive used this recipe for many years and have only had this trouble once before. i had to reglue them all. they always last for months but twice now this has happened. what could be causing this? i have 15 kids coming this weekend to decorate…HELP!

  9. marian
    December 13, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    @ cheryl: Hmm, I’m thinking the humidity in the room. Do you think it was more humid those two times that happened?

  10. December 13, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    estoes una matravilla de la arquitectura gastronomica , felicidades¡¡¡¡¡ besitos

  11. cheryl
    December 14, 2011 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    @ marian:
    i thought that the first time but this time its not humid at all…in fact its been pretty dry and i keep the house cool too so it cant be that its too warm. i finished decorating last night and am bringing it to work today for our party….hoping it holds up till its over! i reinforced all my seams last night too! took some pics too and will enter it in the twin cities pioneer press contest. thanx.

  12. December 14, 2011 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Hi, first i wanna say that you’re gingerbread house is amazing! And i want to ask you, what is therecipe for the tree icing, i am from romania and i’ve made yesterday a mixture from tree egs and powdered sugar and it’s not working! the composition slips!

  13. December 14, 2011 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    @ cheryl: Interesting! Is it possible the complete opposite is true? So dry, that it doesn’t stick?

    @ Iasmina: Thanks! Here is the link to the recipe:

  14. eirini purple
    December 15, 2011 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    just perfect. i like it

  15. Bella
    December 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    I love this site, I am 14, and I used some of your amazing ideas for my Christmas Gingerbread house, instead of Christmas colours, I used light pastels 🙂 Thanks

  16. marian
    December 19, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    @ Bella: I love it! You’re welcome to post a pic on my Facebook fan page if you’d like. I’d love to see it.
    So glad to hear from you!

    • July 25, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      Hi Marain,
      I love all of your photos. I just put together a gingerbread activity cookbook which features a new way to put cookies together for a centerpiece. I stood the gingerbread “kids” in a circle, facing outward, all holding hands and then in the center I put a cookie tree in the middle. A nice big candle looks nice in the center and then this centerpiece looks so festive on the table. I would love to see people do variations on my design. I call it the TREE RING sculpture.

    • September 8, 2014 at 2:56 am | Permalink

      Good morning Marian,

      I hope you are well.

      Would you be so kind to email me ( template for the beautiful Gingerbread House as I would like to make it .
      This would be really appreciated.

      I look forward to your feedback.
      Kindest Regards

  17. karli
    December 20, 2011 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    How did you make the bushes on the window ledges?

  18. December 20, 2011 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    @ karli: I used little holly sprinkles and adhered them with royal icing, using tweezers.

  19. December 20, 2011 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I absolutely love the houses!

  20. gemma
    December 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    hey the houses look so kool!!! 🙂 but how did you do the ledges on the doors!!???

  21. December 21, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi@ gemma: Do you mean the holly sprinkles on the windows? Or do you mean the lines on the doors? Those were done before the dough was baked. I used a knife to ‘score’ the lines into the dough, and then baked it. Voila!

  22. Kelsey
    December 29, 2011 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Hi, the gingerbread houses look so amazing, and I love how you did your trees! This is the first time on this site and I will SO visit it again:) Thank u!

  23. claudia
    January 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful, what a nice custom to do. Is the house after the holidays still eatable??? Do the houses actually get to be eaten?

  24. marian
    January 6, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks @ Kelsey. =)

    @ claudia: Lol. So true, often times the houses are left uncovered for weeks, and the gingerbread gets hard and stale. Still okay if you dunk it in hot chocolate like I did as a child, but not the best I’m sure!

    If you’d like to eat it, the best thing to do is to wrap it up in cellophane right after the icing has dried. Here’s a photo of houses wrapped up:

    And whether or not they get eaten, well that’s up to the person who recieves them. =)

  25. April 24, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    I can’t tell you how much I love looking at your gingerbread houses~ they are perfect! I am inspired to do another one this Christmas…in 8 months 😉

    Thanks for sharing!!

  26. Cathy
    May 14, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I know this is an old post but I am IN LOVE with the whoville gingerbread village. I want to try that one next christmas for my son. Please can you do a tutorial or tell me where you got the ideas I saw two books listed above.

  27. jerrah revilles
    June 20, 2012 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Hi, can you send me a link for the templates? Your gingerbread house is one of a kind!

  28. marian
    July 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Yay @ Holly! I’m looking forward to doing mine too! Let me know how yours goes. I’ve got a facebook page if you’d like to share there.

    Hi @ Cathy: The books are what I used for my house, the Whoville is what I saw at the gingerbread house competition… so I’m not sure what they used to help them. (I’m guessing the illustrations, as I have almost every gingerbread book out there, haha, and have never seen that in a book).

    @ jerrah revilles: I wish I could send them to you, but they are from the books I have listed in the post. (copyright issues for me to share).

  29. Maggie Lynch
    October 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely webpage! I was looking for some gingerbread house ideas for young adults to make. From the first time my mother read Hansel and Gretel I LOVED gingerbread houses! We love gingerbreading at Christmas time too! Every year my kids and grandkids do a project together…one year we did a small town in gingerbread, one year we did the north pole complete with a stable for the reindeer…We have done Noah’s Ark and a beautiful Nativity. I let the grandkids pick out any animal they wanted for the Nativity…We had farm animals, zoo animals, jungle animals and our granddaughter insisted on a dinosaur! It was the sweetest Nativity we had ever done! Keep up the beautiful work and keep gingerbreading! We are all children at Christmas!

  30. marian
    October 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    That’s wonderful, @ Maggie Lynch: I can imagine how special each one you’ve made is! They take on a personality somehow, and just the experience of making them is magical. I’d love to see pics some time if you’d like to share them on my facebook page.

  31. Ismini Jones
    October 29, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian

    I absolutely LOVE your cake and really want to copy it this Christmas. It will be my very first gingerbread anything to be honest so I wanted to know how long did it take to make? And secondly was your exact cake in the 2 books you mentioned above?

    Looking forward to hearing from you
    X X X

  32. November 5, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink


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  33. Natalie
    November 7, 2012 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    know it is an old post but I have onequestion. What did you use to make the roof?

  34. Janet Golden
    November 12, 2012 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Hi, Marian,
    It’s incredible what you’ve done with flour, sugar, eggs, etc. I would love to know what you made you get so interested in decorating cookies.
    (I hope you see my post.)
    I have tried to find boxes like the ones you used to stack your edible image cookies in for giving away. let me know where you bought those. I’ve been all over the web trying to find them.
    Again, thank you for freely sharing your knowledge and talent with the rest of us. I know it takes time to answer questions, post tutorials, and the photos! It’s all just great.
    I’m wishing you a Merry Christmas in 2012!

  35. Christopher Vining
    November 12, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Do you have a tempalet for the ginger bread houses?

  36. Liv
    November 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Hi! This house is amazing! What were the demensions of gingerbread walls? And what is the roof tiling made of? Thank you!

  37. November 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    @ Bella:
    oh really send a cake for me too on cristmas
    @ Bella:

  38. Lucy
    November 22, 2012 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    Did you buy the little logs??????

  39. Charlene
    November 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    hiya Marian, I love this version of the gingerbread house. This is my first time making one, and I have already made my own version for the patterns but what did you use for the roof? Is it cereals? Lovely work as usual xx

  40. marian
    November 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ Ismini Jones:
    Gosh, I’m not sure exactly how long this one took anymore. Longer than a whimsical simpler one, of course. I’m guessing about 24 hours in total. And yes, the exact pattern is in the book, Gingerbread for All Seasons. I just changed the decorations a bit.

    Cereal, @ Natalie. I’m sorry I can’t remember the name anymore, but check your cereal aisle.

    Hi @ Janet Golden: Thanks for your interest and for your nice comments! I explain a little bit of my journey into the ‘land of sweets’ on my About page (you can find that from the home page

    I’m not sure what boxes you mean as the halloween post you showed as an example didn’t have boxes, but if you mean the Vintage Edible Image Cookies which were in boxes with a clear top, I believe I got them from here It was a few years ago though.
    Wishing you a Merry Christmas 2012 too!

    @ Christopher Vining, @ Liv: The template is in the book I link to in the post, Gingerbread for All Seasons. I can’t share due to copyright.

    @ Charlene: The roof tiling is made of cereal. (not sure of name but it should be in your local grocery store cereal aisle).

    @ Lucy: The little logs are thicker pretzels from a store around here called Bulk Barn. I just cut them into smaller pieces.

  41. Vilde
    November 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Hi! That was one of the cutest gingerbread houses I’ve ever seen! Good job 😀 But I was wondering, do you cut out the different parts after the gingerbread is baked, or do you cut the parts out first and then bake them?

  42. Calli
    November 28, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    This house is so cute! I was just wondering, how did you make the little light by the front door? It looks like a lemon drop lined with black frosting, but there’s a little hooking holding it to the side of the house. Is the light attached with fondant or royal icing?

  43. November 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ Vilde: I usually use a pizza wheel or paring knife and cut out the dough pieces, and then bake them.

    That’s right, @ Calli, it’s a lemon drop with black lines piped on it. The little detail below I piped separately (it’s a royal icing transfer… Glossary here; ). Once it was dry, I added it under the lemon drop with royal icing. (and the lemon drop is also attached with thick royal icing).

  44. Kaitlin
    December 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Okay I have to know… How did you do the little light beside the front door?

  45. marian
    December 4, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Absolutley, @ Kaitlin! I explained it in the comment above yours.

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