Jackson Family Recipes

Gingerbread House

Rose Mary D'Alatri

Copy pattern pieces on another paper and cut each piece out.

Heat first 5 ingredients to boiling point. Add baking soda and pour mixture over margarine in a large bowl. Stir until margarine melts. Add egg and sifted flour; Blend well and knead. Dough will be very stiff.

Roll dough out on a large greased cookie sheet, about 1/4 inch thick. Place pattern pieces on dough and cut around pattern with a sharp knife. Do not separate pieces; leave all pieces (even the excess) in place on the cookie sheet.

Bake at 325° for 15 min or until done. After removing from oven, immediately retrace the knife cuts to ensure neat edges and easy separation.

Cool on a rack. Separate pieces and let them dry thoroughly, at least overnight.

Use cake decorating bags and tips to put the house together and decorate the house. The star and writing tips work best.

Putting the house together:

Put frosting on the back of the front piece along each side and then press a side piece into the frosting. Add the other side to the front. Put frosting on the back along each side and press both sides into the frosting. Allow the frosting to set up before adding the roof. The front and sides may be decorated before adding the roof, but the roof hangs over the sides, so decorations too close to the top will not be seen.

Frost the front and back sloped edges one side at a time. Lay on one side of the roof and let it dry for just a minute, then do the other side and add a thick string of frosting across the top. Candy can be laid gently in this frosting string. Let the roof dry in place a few minutes before decorating it.

Ideas in decorating the gingerbread house:

Assemble the house on foil covered cardboard big enough for both the house and a winter scene. The house may also be assembled on a large mirror or silver tray.

Candy suggestions:

The easiest and least expensive source of candy variety is from trick or treat bags. Children are usually happy to contribute just about anything for a gingerbread house.

Use extra gingerbread to make gingerbread men and women or for woodpiles and fence posts.

Other suggestions:

Decorating gingerbread houses is fun for children of all ages, including teens, and adults. With a little instruction, even an 8-year-old can handle a decorating bag pretty well. An adult might put a house together first as a sample. Smaller children can place the candy after the frosting is laid.

As a family home evening project, bake smaller pieces and let each school age child make a house for his teacher or a special friend. Take pictures.

The building of gingerbread houses is a fun family tradition around Christmas time, as is the breaking and eating of the house on New Year's Day.

This is a fun project.