So, I promised I would share some more details about how I made this house! This post will come complete with some helpful recipes and tips.
My mother bought awhile ago gingerbread house molds…she has 2 of them that make up an entire house. Each mold has 2 different sides with a different style of house on each. They have a victorian house and a log cabin. I’m sure you can find a set online like this with some googling. But if you want something easier, I think you could try one of these templates.
Once you’ve selected a template, have a stash of vegan candy at the ready, you can prepare the gingerbread dough.
Here is the recipe for the gluten free and vegan gingerbread house cookie dough:
- 1/2 cup organic non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup vegan white sugar*
- 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 cups superfine brown rice flour
- 1/3 cup tapioca starch
- 2/3 cup potato starch (be sure the only ingredient listed is “potato starch” otherwise you might have a product that is actually “potato flour”)
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
* if you are interested in making a tastier structure of the house to eat, I suggest you experiment a bit with adding more sugar.
Note: you will definitely need a stand mixer for this, as the dough is really tough and needs to be kind of like cement. It’s also necessary to make the royal icing you will need later to assemble and decorate.
- In a stand mixer, cream together the shortening, sugar, molasses, and water.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until it becomes a stiff dough.
- Chill for at least an hour in the fridge.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease your molds or cookie sheets with spray oil.
- If using a mold, press the dough into it, trying as best as you can to make the dough even and filling the edges well. If you are using a template, this will require some extra work. You will need to roll the dough out to be about 1/3 inch thick, place the templates on top, and cut around the template. Take care in transferring the dough to the cookie sheet.
- Bake in the mold or on the cookie sheet for 25 minutes.
- Let sit for 10 minutes, and then carefully transfer to a cooling rack.
- It’s good to let it sit out for a day before you assemble so it can be a sturdier house and you don’t have any crumbling gingerbread houses! (believe me, I think tears have been shed by my mom–and maybe us kids– in Christmases of the past where she was putting the house together and wasn’t patient or calm for various reasons…)
Next, when the gingerbread is made and ready, you will need to create a royal icing. Don’t expect this to taste all that good either. It needs to be like glue to keep the house together and the candy stuck to it. That’s what we’re going for here.
Vegan Royal Icing:
- 4 cups vegan powdered sugar
- 9 tablespoons aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
- 1 teaspoon water
- Start by placing 5 tablespoons of aquafaba in the mixer.
- Slowly add the 4 cups of powdered sugar.
- Continue to mix while adding the other 4 tablespoons of aquafaba, a tablespoon at a time.
- Add a teaspoon of water (you may want a little less, check to ensure a similar consistency as the picture above).
- Mix on high speed for ten minutes.
- Place into a ziplock bag with a corner cut off or a pastry bag with an attachment that has a wide sized opening (I used the former, it seemed like a safer bet because this stuff really is cement-like).
- Use immediately to assemble the house and then decorate with candy.
To create the house:
This is the fun part, but you need to be calm and patient (and have a fairly steady hand)!
- Make sure you have some kind of clean surface to attach it to. My family has always covered cardboard with tinfoil.
- Start by making a line or two of icing on the board the size of the first side of the house you will attach to it. Press the gingerbread house piece into it and hold it in place for at least 15 seconds.
- Place icing for the connected wall of the house coming from the corner of the already attached wall and up the sides. Carefully press together and hold for another 15 seconds. You may also want to reinforce the inside corner with some extra icing.
- Continue to assemble in a similar manner. Take extra care in attaching the roof as this is where disaster can occur.
- Once you’ve completed the house, it should be safe to continue decorating. The icing has about a 30 minute window before it gets too stiff and unusable, so you kind of need to work quickly. If you have kids that you are doing this activity with, I recommend placing a lot of the icing on the roof and having them do that first. Just make sure they are lightly touching it, as it might be a little fragile still. Use the icing for any other candy pieces that need security, but I recommend that you also use another favorite frosting recipe to decorate the rest if you have young kids, it will be less frustrating for them and more fun/delicious.
I made a snowman out of Dandies marshmallows (that I used lots of toothpicks to achieve this effect with, including one in the middle). Gluten free vegan pretzels make great fences and stuff. Like I said in the other post about this, coconut flakes are great for making snow, but can get messy. I had bought some vegan gumballs to use too, but ran out of icing for them…there are lots of vegan candies and snacks you can use…I wish I had put more chocolate on mine! 😉 Enjoy!