gingerbread house tablescape

Oh what fun … Christmas and a Gingerbread House. Create your own gingerbread house and celebrate Christmas with special friends. Simple make ahead gingerbread house makes this table easy.  Assorted candies are attached to house centerpiece with royal icing, even the dessert at each place setting mimics the gingerbread house.

Gingerbread House Dessert 1

I have included a couple of templates for table decor and recipe for gingerbread house. However, if you are not into making gingerbread you can make a centerpiece house out of graham crackers.  Crackers can be glued to a small square card board box with hot glue then frosted with royal icing and decorated. Also here is another great resource for Gingerbread house making using graham crackers.

Making the gingerbread house will take a couple of days for the house needs to sit overnight after building with royal icing glue. Once it sits for at least 8 hours decorating can begin.

How to make and decorate a gingerbread house

Start with a good recipe. 

Whether making gingerbread cookies or a house depends on the right recipe. When building a house, normally it is not eaten…and for good reason…the cookie is very dry and crisp. Generally, making a house uses less leaving and butter in the recipe, while cookies will have shortening butter mix and additional baking soda for tenderness.

In addition, when building a house you want all your cut out pieces to be the same size and sturdy. Softer gingerbread will not hold the weight of the icing and candies. With that in mind, the recipe I have attached is one for building a house.

While you see on the place settings a dessert with tiny gingerbread house, this recipe is the same gingerbread recipe as the larger house. Because the tiny house will be sitting on top of creamy mousse dessert a firmer cookie is needed so I used the same recipe as for the larger house.

You will need a house pattern and candies for decorating.

Here is a wonderful template you can download and use to make a 7″ x 6″ house.  This size fits perfectly in the center of a small round table.  Actually, this size is perfect for each place-setting if you were hosting a Gingerbread House Decorating Party.

You will notice the pattern has a chimney. I made the chimney but decided not to add to the top of the house, if was easier to decorate the roof with out the chimney.

How to make a gingerbread house

Suggested candies for your house include:

  • Jellybeans
  • M&Ms
  • cinnamon red hots
  • gumdrops (large and small)
  • marshmallows (even fun colored ones)
  • Necco wafers
  • butter mints
  • gumballs – snowball gum balls found at Dollar General
  • fruit slice chews
  • sprinkles (of all shapes and colors)
  • pretzel sticks
  • teddy grahams
  • gingerbread man cookies
  • peppermint sticks- balls (however some candy canes will run red into the icing) I used Spangler Brand and didn’t have a problem.
  • Christmas tree pretzel shapes coated in white chocolate & sprinkles

What kind of frosting… Royal or Crusting Buttercream?

I used royal icing but a crusting buttercream will also work for attaching the walls of house and candies. Royal icing has strength to adhere to the gingerbread walls. It also has three ingredients, confectioners sugar, meringue powder and water.  I have included the recipe. Whipping the meringue takes just a few minutes, you will want stiff peaks.  Be sure to cover the bowl of icing with a wet paper towel to keep it from setting.  This recipe makes 2 cups, plenty to decorate the large house and 4 mini’s.

Tip:  Fill your pastry piping bag with tip 3/4 full, to keep the frosting from setting.  Wrap the piping bag with a wet paper towel including the piping tip and store in refrigerator in between assembling houses.  This will keep the frosting from setting. 

How to make a gingerbread house lizbushong.comTools you will need: 

Offset spatula, mini house cookie cutters, pattern for large house, sharp paring knife or pizza wheel cutter, large piping bag with tip # 32 or your favorite, round tip # 5 for gluing house together and attaching candies. Stand or hand mixer with whisk attachment for whipping royal icing.  Stand mixer with paddle attachment for gingerbread dough. Baking sheets and parchment paper.

How to make the Mini Gingerbread Houses for place settings.

Peppermint Mousse Gingerbread House Mini Desserts


These mini houses are 2″ x 2″ and fit on the side of a coffee cup.  I made the houses with the same recipe as the house centerpiece for the mini’s were going to sit in a creamy mousse as the dessert. The houses needed to be firm for the mousse softens the house.

You will need to purchase a mini gingerbread cookie cutter set, which can be found here. Although you can make a cardboard pattern to trace and cut with a sharp paring knife to cut out dough house shapes. I placed these cute little houses in a small beverage cup filled with No Bake-Peppermint Cheesecake Mousse to make it look like snow. Crushed and cracked peppermint candies glisten on top of the mousse.

How to make and decorate a gingerbread house

Mixing the dough for large and small houses.

Real butter, not margarine is creamed with sugar until light and fluffy, then salt, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Add eggs and molasses, then flour.  The dough will be very soft that is why you must chill before rolling out.

How to cut out gingerbread house,

Roll out chilled dough to 1/8″ thick in order to keep the shape of the cookie cutter.  Cut out the shapes as pattern or cutters indicate, and bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet before removing or handling.

How to make a gingerbread house lizbushong.comAssemble House

Have your cake stand or platform you want to place your house ready when assembling the house.  Once you glue the sides and roof to house you do not want to move it for at least 8 hours.  Watch this video on how to put the house together. 

Assemble house by attaching the front house piece to one side, piping a line of royal icing along the edge of the cookies to attach the pieces. Hold for a several seconds to make sure it is sticking.  Assemble the back of house with other side piece with royal icing.  Allow these pieces to sit an hour or more before attaching the house frame together.

How to make a gingerbread house

Next, glue with royal icing attach the two joined pieces.  Allow to dry one hour or more.

Last, attach the roof pieces, pipe royal icing to the frame of the house along roof line of house, and on the roof piece edges.  Attach one roof side, hold in place for 60 seconds or so. Repeat with other side.  Allow house to sit without moving it over night at least 8-10 hours.

Don’t worry if you have gaps.. the icing decor will cover it.

The steps for decorating house.

  1. Use piping bag with shell tip # 32 or your favorite decorating tip with royal icing.
  2. Pipe top of roof line with shell rope design or as desired.  Could be large dots of icing.  Attach candy to dots or as desired.
  3. Spread royal icing on top of the roof on both sides from edge to edge. Sprinkle with cute sprinkles , be aware that some sprinkles will bleed but that’s ok.. just spread with with an off set spatula and you end up  with colored icing. ( that happened to me).
  4. Pipe around the sides and roof line sides as desired.
  5. Make a front door.  I used a piece of graham cracker coated in royal icing for my front door.  Also added tiny green leaf shaped sprinkle with red balls for wreath and door knob.
  6. Attach candy with royal icing to the house.

How to Decorate a Gingerbread house lizbushong.comAssemble Mini House for Dessert

With royal icing, glue one side of wall to gingerbread front piece.  Repeat with other side.  Allow to sit to 60 minutes.  Attach roof line pieces one at a time, hold in place 60 seconds, repeat with other side of roof. Hold the the roof line together for 60 seconds or so.

Decorate with royal icing.  Because these houses are so small, I piped an e-shape using tp # 5 around roof line and sides of house.  Allow to set up before adding to dessert mousse. Recipe for Mini Gingerbread House and Peppermint Cheesecake Mousse here.


Gingerbread House Recipe

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Gingerbread mini houses that will sit on the side of coffee mug or inserted on top of a creamy dessert. Recipe also makes a great 7″ x 6″ tall house for decorating with candies and royal icing.  Takes a few hours to create but will be worth the fun and effort.

  • Author: Liz Bushong
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8-10 minutes depends on sizes
  • Total Time: 3-24 hours
  • Yield: 7 mini houses+7" x 6" house 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking & Decorating
  • Cuisine: American



Wet Ingredients:

6 tablespoons butter, softened

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 egg, room temperature

1/2 cup un-sulfured molasses -tested Grandmas®

1 tablespoon water

Dry Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground all spice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Royal Icing *

1 pound or 31/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar

5 tablespoons meringue powder

1/2 cup water

Food Coloring Gel- optional


  1. Cream together butter, brown sugar until smooth.  Add egg, molasses and water, beat to combine.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, spices and salt, add to creamed mixture.  Dough will be very thick.
  3. Divide dough in half, and flatten into a square or rectangular disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 2 hours up to 3 days.

Cut into Shapes

Roll dough between two sheets of parchment paper, use pizza cutter or metal sharp cookie cutters to cut shapes. Re-roll dough and continue to cut out shapes of house.

Bake on parchment lined baking sheets at 350 degrees for 10 minutes for mini shapes.  If making larger house pieces bake up to 15-20 minutes.  Watching carefully not to burn. Allow cookies to cool before assembling house. Cookies can be baked ahead a day ahead.

Make Royal Icing with Meringue Powder*-Makes 2 cups

In medium bowl with paddle attachment, combine all ingredients. Mix on low speed until smooth and creamy.  About 7-10 minutes.  If icing is too thick add more water, if icing is too thin add more confectioners sugar.  Divide icing  into bowls if you plan to color for piping.  use food gel paste for coloring.

Constructing House

  1. Determine platform or base for your house. You will not need a base for the mini houses for the base will be the white chocolate mousse.
  2. For mini houses in the mousse dessert, assemble house with piped royal icing on a piece of parchment or wax paper sitting on a baking sheet.  Attach front house piece- pipe front side edges with icing, attach sides hold to set.. attach back piece to the sides of house. Last, add the long rectangular pieces for the roof line. Decorate with small dots, swirls and tiny candies.  Set aside until all houses are made for your dessert.  Insert tiny house on top of mousse right before serving.

Constructing Larger Houses

  • Determine your house base, whether cake stand.
  • Pipe royal icing or buttercream on stand, assemble front and one side of house with royal icing. ( use a squeeze bottle with small opening or tip # 4. )
  • Stick to the base of cake stand or your platform.  Add roof and chimney with royal icing.  Allow to sit 3-6 hours before decorating.
  • Cover and store royal icing at room temperature. Whip icing when ready for decorative piping.
  • Decorate with decorative candies. Tip:  Some brands of candy canes will bleed red on your house so you may want to use Spangler Brand.

You can eat the larger house if you would like, but it will taste old after a day.  The mini houses are delightful to eat with the Peppermint Cheesecake Mousse.


Recipe inspired by Sally’s Baking Addition, Fancy flours, and family recipe.

Royal icing without meringue powder, use this recipe:  3 egg whites, 5 cups confectioners powder, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter. Beat egg whites sugar, tarter for 3-4 minutes or until mixture is thick enough to hold a peak.  Add 1/4 cup more confectioners sugar if it isn’t peaking. You want stiff peaks for piping.  This dries quickly, so keep icing covered with damp cloth while constructing house.  Makes 2 cups

Assorted candies, gumdrops, hard candies, sprinkles, mini gum balls/gumballs, white chocolate covered tree pretzels, holiday M & M’s, candy snowflakes, your choice

Did you make this recipe?

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Hope you make one of these or all of these houses.  They are fun to make.

To Make Christmas Table Scape

White “snow” fiber fill  blankets the Gingerbread House as the table centerpiece. The house sits on a white cake stand for elevation. On the snow blanket, sprinkled faux snow was added to soften the look along with mini candy canes, gum ball snowballs and candy snowflakes.

At each place setting, white decorative edged chargers ground the silver and white polka dot dinner plates with decorative white dessert plates.  For Dessert, Peppermint Cheesecake Mousse is piped into a small beverage glass, sprinkled with crushed and chopped peppermint candies for a soft snow covered scene with mini gingerbread house.

How to make and decorate a gingerbread house

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