A beautiful gingerbread house is a great project - just the kind that makes family traditions and memories, as well as a not-to-be-missed decoration for the house and a delicious post-Christmas treat for the builders.
- Portion size 1 serving
MethodTo make this big project easy and fun, do it in stages: Day 1, the baking; Day 2, the assembling; and Day 3, the decorating, with a treasure of candies.
Don't miss our step-by-step photographed instructions for this recipe. Click here to see our Thatched Gingerbread House photo gallery >>
In a bowl, beat shortening with sugar until light; beat in eggs, one at a time, and fancy and blackstrap molasses. Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cloves and cinnamon; using wooden spoon, gradually stir into molasses mixture until combined. Divide into 4 discs; wrap each and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.
<< Click image at left to download Gingerbread House stencils
On waxed paper, draw, label and cut out patterns: roof, front and back as per stencil; sides (cut 2), 7 x 4-inch (18 x 10 cm); chimney (cut 4), 3 x 1-inch (8 x 2.5 cm), then for chimney back, cut one 1-inch (2.5 cm) shorter and for sides, cut 2 on angle to match back; door, 3 x 2-inch (8 x5 cm), then round off top; steps, 3-inch (8 cm) square and 2-inch (5 cm) square; front window, 2-inch (5 cm) square; windows and path, cut 8 with cookie cutters; fence posts (cut 6), 3 x 1-inch (8 x 2.5 cm); fence rails (cut 4), 8 x 1/2-inch (20 x 1 cm).
Between waxed paper, roll out one disc at a time to 1/4-inch (5 m) thickness. With knife, trace and cut out patterns, re-rolling scraps as needed. Freeze on waxed paper-lined baking sheets for 20 minutes or until hard. Transfer to parchment paper-lined or greased baking sheets; bake in 350ºF (180ºC) oven for 18 to 22 minutes or until firm to the touch. Let cool on racks.
Royal Icing: For each batch, sift 4 cups (1 L) icing sugar with 1/2 tsp (2 mL) cream of tartar; beat in 3 egg whites for 7 to 10 minutes or until mixture is thick enough to hold its shape. Coat bottom of front; stick to cake board, propping with can to support. Coat bottom and both short edges of side; stick to front. Coat bottom of back; stick to sides. Let dry, about 1 hour.
Coat top edges of all walls and long edge of roof pieces; stick roof to house, matching peaks. Let dry, about 30 minutes. Coat long edge of each chimney side; stick to front and back chimney pieces and let dry, about 10 minutes. Coat back of window; stick to walls. Coat back of door, doorsteps and path; attach. Attach chimney to roof with icing; let dry, about 20 minutes.
Make second batch of Royal Icing. Using serrated knife, cut each shredded wheat in half along seam line. Coat cut sides; stick in long rows onto roof. Fill in spaces between rows with icing. Decorate roof and house with candies, attaching with a dab of icing. Assemble fence and stick into place. Make third batch of Royal Icing for extra snow for lawn and thatched roof.