A gingerbread house is a great way to decorate a table on any festive occasion, though without a proper house design, it can appear a challenging task. However, with some patience and preparation, you can create a design that can be used to build an impressive centerpiece.
Step 1 - Consider Type of House
When thinking about the house design for your gingerbread creation, the first thing you need to consider is the type of house you wish to form. Whether you wish to create a simple country cottage or an elaborate Victorian house, you must make a decision on this point before you can get to work on the design. Every house is only as good as its construction, so you must consider the building concept of the house you decide on as a starting point.
Step 2 - Practice Makes Perfect
If you have the time to do so, it is a good idea to first practice your gingerbread design using a poster board and taping it together to see how it fits together and whether it stays upright; if the poster board stays stable, then the gingerbread is also likely to. Measure your largest baking sheet before drawing up your house pattern to ensure it will fit into the oven should you eventually use the pattern.
Use a ruler to draw out the walls and roof of the house, making sure the lines are straight and that matching pieces are exactly the same size.
Step 3 - Cut Your Pattern
If you are confident with your design, you can mark it directly onto greaseproof paper to create your pattern. Ensure the pieces of the house will fit onto the baking tray you intend to use for the actual gingerbread. For the base of the house you can use a piece of plywood or large serving platter that has been covered in foil. Plan your house so there will be room on the base to add decoration once the structure is in place.
Step 4 - Know Your Dough
The width you roll the dough to depends on the size of the house; the larger the property, the thicker the walls need to be. As with any house, any load-bearing walls should also be slightly thicker. Lay the templates to the dough before cutting precisely around it so the pieces are uniform and fit together as they should after it has been cooked.
Step 5 - Construction
Once the pieces of the house design have been baked and allowed to cool, they can be put together with the use of icing. Check them against each other before you undertake this to make sure they have not become uneven during cooking. If so, carefully cut away any uneven pieces.
Step 6 - Finishing Touches
After constructing the gingerbread house, it is time for the fun part. Decorating the structure with icing and candy will enable you to add the finishing touches to your house design.