What’s the point of a gingerbread house if you can’t eat it? Sure, it’s fun to get one of those pre-made kits and decorate it, but I don’t want to stare at my inedible gingerbread house for two weeks and then throw it away. I want to take a few pictures, show it off at my holiday party, and then commence snacking.
Gingerbread has always been off-limits to me because of my various allergies, but this year I’d finally had enough. I was going to find a way to have my gingerbread house and eat it too. When I found a recipe on Minimalist Baker, it was exactly what I was looking for. It is a perfect allergy-friendly gingerbread recipe free of dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, corn, and (my allergy arch-nemesis) cloves. It works nicely for gingerbread house construction or just making some kick-ass cookies, and it made my whole house smell like Christmas!
To make your own gingerbread house, you will need:
1) Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Gluten Free Gingerbread Dough. For Dana’s recipe I used 1.5 cups of gluten free flour blend (1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/2 cup gluten free oat flour, 1/4 cup arrowroot powder, 1/4 cup potato starch). For the “vegan butter” I recommend using coconut butter (it’s thicker than coconut oil) softened in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and stirred with a spoon until smooth (it should look like melted frosting). I baked the gingerbread house cutouts for 20 minutes at 350F to make sure they would be firm.
Note: I made a double batch of the gingerbread dough recipe to make sure there was enough for the entire house, and had some dough left over for cookies! I ate most of the cookies, but did use a few for my gingerbread house scene.
2) Cherrybrook Kitchen vegan/gluten free vanilla frosting, or your preferred frosting. The frosting should not be too watery or too hot, or it will melt and the walls will not stick together. You can make your own frosting by mixing powdered sugar with water or almond milk, and adding more sugar if it’s too runny. The gingerbread recipe link from Minimalist Baker also has suggestions for making your own frosting. Keep in mind that the thicker the frosting is, the better support it will be for your gingerbread house.
3) A 12 inch round cardboard base to place the house on, a square cardboard tissue box to support the walls of the house, and piping bags for the frosting.
4) Vegan/gluten free candy to decorate your house. I used kosher jelly beans that I found in the Chanukah section of my grocery store (they’re kosher because they don’t contain gelatin, so they’re vegan too!), Dandies vegan marshmallows, dairy free chocolate figures from Premium Chocolatiers, and Bob’s candy canes.
5) Vegan-suitable food dye, in case you want to make your frosting different colors to decorate with. I used “India Tree” brand that I found in Whole Foods.
1) Prepare the dough according to the instructions on Minimalist Baker. I recommend making a double batch and using the leftover dough for cookies. I refrigerated the dough for two hours before rolling out and baking.
2) Print out the template (it should be about the size of a postcard). Take a sheet of parchment or wax paper and place it over the template. Trace the three wall shapes onto the parchment paper, then cut them out so you have three paper shapes.
3) Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out about 1/4-1/2 inch thick onto parchment paper or a floured surface. Place the parchment paper wall shape cutouts over the rolled out dough and cut the shapes out of the dough using a sharp knife. Use a spatula to transfer each shape to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving about 2 inches of room between each shape since they spread as they bake. Make two of each shape (front and back, two sides of the roof, and two short walls, so you end up with six walls total).
4) Bake the six walls for 20 minutes to make sure they are firm. Let them cool completely before constructing the house or they will melt the frosting. It’s best to let them cool for at least 12-24 hours (I waited two days before using them for the house) to make sure they’re sturdy enough to stand on the cardboard, or they will fall apart when you try to work with them.
5) Take your regular sized square tissue box and stand it upright so that the opening is on the top. Measure the height of the shortest wall (“B” on the template) on the box, tracing all around with a pen. Cut off the top of the box around the traced line so that the tissue box is only as tall as side “B”.
6) Place a piece of plastic wrap on the cardboard base and put the tissue box base on top of it. Wrap the tissue box in the plastic wrap so that the outside is completely covered. Use two pieces of double sided tape to stick the tissue box to the cardboard base. I put mine closer to one edge of the cardboard circle so I could make a larger “front yard” for the house.
7) Place your frosting into a piping bag and cut off the bottom. Pipe frosting around the base and top edges of the tissue box, and pipe 3-4 dots of frosting in the center of each “wall” of the tissue box. Press each gingerbread wall to its appropriate tissue box wall, and hold it for a few seconds to make sure it sticks. Use frosting for extra glue/support and to fill in any gaps between the walls. Place only the four supporting walls around the tissue box–don’t place the roof on yet!
8) Let the four supporting walls dry and set for at least 30 minutes before putting the roof pieces on. When you’re ready to place the roof, pipe frosting onto all the top edges of the house before placing the roof on, then pipe more frosting into the spaces between all the walls to make sure everything sticks.
10) Decorate the house and surrounding cardboard area with your favorite candy and gingerbread cookies using the frosting as a glue.
Then let it dry, show it off, and EAT THAT GINGERBREAD HOUSE!
Note: I used gingerbread dough for this recipe, but you can try it with other types of cookie dough too and follow the same steps. My mom made a non-vegan sugar cookie house, and it was awesome (it’s pictured below). My vegan/gluten free sugar cookie recipe will be coming in the next few days if you’re feeling adventurous!
Edit: My sugar cookie recipe is here!