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The Best Gingerbread House Dough Recipe and Instructions

Gingerbread house 2010Guest post by Mrs. WSL 

I’ve been making gingerbread houses for about 10 years now and have used several different recipes.  There are many schools of thought out there and this is what I’ve learned. If you want a recipe that makes a sturdy house, that glows when lit up, is inexpensive to make, and easy to add details to, this is the best gingerbread house recipe I’ve used.

Gingerbread House Dough Recipe

This recipe comes from Gingerbread for all Seasons (my book review) by Teresa Layman

In a large mixing bowl (kitchen aid or other)

6 ¾ cups flour

1 tab cinnamon

1 ½ tsp ginger

½ tsp Salt

In a pot on the stove:

1 ½ cups light corn syrup

1 ¼ cups light brown sugar

1 cup margarine

Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Melt margarine, corn syrup, and brown sugar on stove until margarine is melted.  Combine with dry ingredients.  Roll out on parchment paper to 1/8 inch thickness. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown at 350 degrees.

If the dough gets tough before you’re done rolling it out, just warm it in the microwave for a few seconds and it will soften up.  I’ve made this dough several weeks in advance of creating my gingerbread house. It saves wonderfully. It also survives from year to year if you have a dry climate. There’s a bonus here.  If you’ve cooked your pieces and something doesn’t fit right, you can still pop a cooked piece into the microwave for a few seconds and cut it again.  This is so useful.

This year I made a gingerbread train and needed red and green cars. I kneaded some food coloring into the mixed dough and baked as usual. The cars turned out great.  This is also good if you want a red chimney or say, a red schoolhouse.

If you want a darker shade of gingerbread house, check out the recipe provided in The Gingerbread Architect.  That recipe makes a wonderfully soft dough for rolling out and a dark brown house.  I like this recipe except for two points. It’s expensive to make because of buying the molasses, and when I put a light inside my gingerbread house, the light only shows through the windows.  Yeah, it sounds weird, but with a lighter-colored dough, the whole house will glow when lit.

#2 Gingerbread Dough Recipe

This recipe comes from The Gingerbread Architect by Susan Matheson and Lauren Chattman

1 cup vegetable shortening

1 cup sugar

2 tsps baking powder

2 tsps ground ginger

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground cloves

1 cup dark (not light or blackstrap) molasses

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons white vinegar

5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

(makes bout 3 ½ pounds)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine shortening and sugar until well combined. Add the baking powder, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves and beat until well incorporated. Add the molasses, eggs, and vinegar, and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.  Add the flour, one cup at a time, and mix on low until smooth. Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a rough square. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least three hours or up to three days.

Bake at 375 for 12-14 minutes.

Happy Baking! Good luck with your gingerbread creations!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • bridget December 3, 2011, 5:27 pm

    Just tried the first recipe and it is the worst I have ever had! Difficult to mix, roll out and cut. Changes shape while baking and gets air bubbles in it. Only good thing is that you can color it and it is very hard. Will never use again! What a waste. Now I need to redo everything.

  • Janette Hanagarne December 3, 2011, 9:37 pm

    Sorry it wasn’t the right fit for you. I hope you find something you like better. I’ve found that if you heat up the dough in the microwave for a few seconds it will soften up for rolling. It helps to roll it on parchment paper. But there’s no doubt that rolling out gingerbread is no piece of cake. It’s grueling, tiresome work.

  • Janette Hanagarne December 3, 2011, 9:50 pm

    Here are some tips if you’re having trouble:

    This year, my dough was especially sticky. Not sure why. But I discovered if I cut it into four pieces, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and let sit on the counter for a few hours before rolling, it worked much better. Somehow the tackiness of the dough evened out. When it got stiff, I heated in the microwave for a few seconds and it softened nicely.

    If you get bubbles, prick with a toothpick right out of the oven and they’ll settle.

    If you’re concerned about spreading dough. You can trim out of the oven when it’s hot or you can allow the pieces to dry overnight or for a few days before baking. This dough has great strength to it when it’s done.

  • Karen December 9, 2011, 10:46 am

    I used the first recipe this year and it worked great! After the dough went through the first mixing, I split the dough into smaller batches and kneaded it with the bread hook on my Kitchenaid mixer. From there, if it was stiff rolling out, I warmed it in the microwave and it was a breeze to roll, cut and bake. I was able to get 4 small houses from the one recipe. I’ll be sure to use it again! Thank you!

  • KATE MACEACHERN December 9, 2011, 8:29 pm

    WOW! I am so grateful for this recipe. I used number two and it is by far the most amazing gingerbread house building material ever!
    Thank you so ,uch for sharing. I will have three happy kids and a whole gingerbread village tomorrow 🙂 Merry Christmas!