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Victorian Storefront Gingerbread House

This recipe will make a very large gingerbread house with extras for decorations. It's a very structural recipe, so eating is not recommended. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 3 days 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 3 days 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 1 gingerbread house
Calories 7366kcal
Author Vintage Kitty

Ingredients

Gingerbread House Dough

  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups molasses
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground clove
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable shortening
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 10-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Royal Icing

  • 6 egg whites
  • 9-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Instructions

Geting ready

  • Print out Victorian Storefront Gingerbread House Template
  • Cut out template pieces and place them all in a large ziplock bag so you don't lose anything.

Baking your gingerbread house

  • In a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, combine sugar, molasses and spices.
  • Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly until sugar has melted.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the shortening
  • Once the shortening is mostly incorporated, add in the flour a little bit at a time.
  • When you reach the point your arms are too tired to keep stirring in flour, transfer to a lightly oiled work surface ( I did this on my marble countertop) or to a very large bowl.
  • Knead in the remaining flour and then make a well in the center of the dough.
  • Add in a little bit of egg and knead until incorporated.
  • Keep adding a little egg at a time until it's all incorporated and  the dough is smooth.
  • Separate the dough into 4 or 5 disks and wrap all but one in plastic wrap (but do not refrigerate).
  • Roll out the first disk between two sheets of parchment paper to about 3/8th inch thickness.
  • Lay your template over the dough and with a sharp knife, cut out the template.
  • Using the parchment paper under the dough, transfer the gingerbread piece to a cookie sheet. 
  • If necessary, trim the parchment so it all fits on the cookie sheet, then place the dough in the refrigerator to chill, 30-60 minutes. 
  • Repeat the process above for your remaining gingerbread house pieces. 
  • If you have any gingerbread dough left over, wrap it tightly and refrigerate it in case you need it later.
  • Once your pieces are cut and chilled, preheat your oven to 325F.
  • Bake one or two cookie sheets at a time, baking until they are hard and the dough bounces back when your touch it lightly, about 12-20 minutes depending on the size.
  • Cool cookies on the tray, transferring only once they have cooled completely.
  • Let cookies dry out for a day or two before decorating for best results.

How to make royal icing

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine egg whites and cream of tartar.
  • Whip egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
  • Slowly sift powdered sugar into egg whites, mixing between additions.
  • Once the icing is completed, cover with plastic wrap, pressing into the icing to keep it from hardening.
  • To color, place some of the frosting in a bowl and add gel color and mix with a spoon.
  • To pipe, place icing in a piping bag and place a rubber band on the end to keep the air out.
  • Place the bag in a glass with a damp paper towel at the bottom to keep your pastry tip from clogging while you work. Store any icing you aren't using currently in the refrigerator.

Building your gingerbread house.

  • Gather a bunch of canned food from your food pantry.
  • Add icing to the seams of two side pieces and place them together, using the cans to hold the pieces in place.
  • Make sure to smooth out any unwanted icing before it dries.
  • Keep adding walls, until you four walls are glued together then let it dry until the royal icing is completely dry...about 12-24 hours.
  • Meanwhile you can assemble or decorate smaller items to place inside your gingerbread house, things likes trees, wreaths, snowmen, and sandwich board
  • Gather your decorations and organize them in a cupcake tin so you can easily grab them while you decorate.
  • Cut small pieces of parchment to place under the decorations you're making so they're easy to move later. Remember that this stiff royal is like glue!
  • Any decorations made with royal icing should be left to dry completely before moving around but make sure to add any sprinkles before it starts to set.
  • Once the house walls are dry, decorate the outside of your gingerbread house.
  • Place decorated figures inside your house and then glue on the roof.
  • Ice the entire roof, making dangling icicles and scattering sanding sugar on top before the icing dries. 
  • Once the house is decorated, thin a little white royal icing by adding a 1/4 teaspoon of water at a time until it flows nicely. Spread it around the ground of the gingerbread house to make snow. This will also keep the house from sliding around when you move it. 
  • Place any outside decorations around your house while the royal icing is still wet. 
  • Give the entire piece a dusting of powdered sugar and step back to marvel at your creation!

Nutrition

Calories: 7366kcal | Carbohydrates: 1267g | Protein: 177g | Fat: 179g | Saturated Fat: 49g | Cholesterol: 2711mg | Sodium: 1449mg | Potassium: 5106mg | Fiber: 25g | Sugar: 759g | Vitamin A: 3935IU | Vitamin C: 2.4mg | Calcium: 1018mg | Iron: 52.6mg