In preparation for the party, I spent all day Wednesday baking 18 adorable little gingerbread houses. The whole ordeal was quite the undertaking but it was honestly so much fun for me because I love baking. I watched movies all day while I baked, starting with a re-watch of Home Alone and Home Alone 2, and then I made it through four more holiday-ish movies: ‘The Holiday’, ‘You’ve Got Mail’, ‘Serendipity’, and ‘When Harry Met Sally’. It was a lovely day and I finally finished baking the 18th house around 11 p.m.
After the cookies had a chance to cool overnight, I took about half the day on Thursday to assemble the houses using homemade royal icing. I was nervous about the construction of the houses because I designed my own gingerbread templates from scratch this year and made four different types of houses. In the past, I’d only made A-Frame houses, which are very simple and don’t take a lot of work to make sturdy. But luckily, the construction phase was simple and I had zero hiccups.
The houses were easy to assemble, everything fit very well, and I didn’t have any houses break or fall apart. I think the key to my success at this stage was the fact that I took my time during assembly. I “glued” the sides together first, and once that had dried completely, I added the roof pieces. I also “glued” the house to a cardboard base when attaching the walls, and this helped to hold everything in place (if you don’t want to buy the cardboard bases, just glue your house to a plate; as long as the house has some sort of base, it will help solidify the structure).
This is the second year that I’ve used the same gingerbread recipe and tutorial, and I highly recommend it. Nicole gives so many great tips, and I especially love the recommendation to roll dough directly onto pre-cut baking sheets (or a Silpat) and lift away the excess dough. There’s really no other way to do it because the dough is very fragile and breaks apart so easily. This method allows for the cleanest cut houses and you don’t have to worry about transferring dough, etc. It’s so simple and I’m lucky to have found her tutorial before venturing into my gingerbread bake three years ago.
The tip about trimming houses directly out of the oven is essential as well- it’s the only way to get a perfect fit when assembling (although, in my opinion, you don’t have to trim your roof pieces, and I prefer not to as the rounded shape is much cuter than a trimmed edge. I also like a good bit of overhang on my roof, so when the cookie expands in the oven, it’s not a big deal. You’ll see my untrimmed roofs in pics below!)
Using Nicole’s recipe, I was able to cut out the pieces for about four houses (using my own templates- download the PDF for free below!). They are medium-sized houses that are meant to be “slim” so that they fit well on a 10″ cake circle with plenty of room left over for landscaping.
I designed four gingerbread houses styles so there would be variation in my little gingerbread village. My guests really seemed to enjoy picking a house that matched their personality and it was fun to see how every decorated the different house styles!
I haven’t given a ton of information on the technical side of baking the houses, and I didn’t take pictures of my process because I don’t have much to add beyond Nicole’s tutorial. If you’re looking to bake your own house from scratch, and especially if you’re planning to bake a village worth of houses like me, you need to read through her entire tutorial a few times and then visit Nicole’s blog to get the other tips that she provides over there. I couldn’t have pulled it off without her awesome tutorial!
And now, for the awesome freebies- gingerbread house templates!
As I mentioned before, I created four different gingerbread house templates: Classic, Alpine, Cottage (the A-frame house), and Whimsical. Directions for using the template can be found in the PDF document. I included some bonus house accessories like doors, window cut-outs, and chimneys for each house.
I hope you enjoy the templates and bake up an entire, adorable gingerbread village!
- All Gingerbread House Templates
- Whimsical Gingerbread House Template
- Cottage Gingerbread House Template
- Classic Gingerbread House Template
- Alpine Gingerbread House Template
The party was a huge success and we had a wonderful time decorating houses with our friends. I can’t wait until next year!
Thanks for stopping by!