Blog Gingerbread House Cookies

Blog Gingerbread House Cookies

When you want to make a gingerbread house but don't want to undertake any major construction, try baking up some gingerbread house cookies instead. With some spicy dough baked into a simple shape, a batch of royal icing, and an assortment of decorative candies, you've got the makings of a holiday project that's just as cute but a lot quicker. I've tweaked one of my gingerbread cookie recipes to simplify the flavors and make it a bit sturdier, and paired it with royal icing made with pasteurized egg whites.

There really are no rules when it comes to making gingerbread house cookies, but I do have a couple of tips if you want to hang these (or any cookies), as I've done here. To help make the cookie sturdy, you need to roll the dough thick enough (1/4 inch), you need to leave enough cookie above the hole to form a strong bridge, and you need to bake the cookies until they're firm and lightly browned. Soft, chewy cookies are lovely to eat, but will tear if you try to hang them with a ribbon, especially if they're weighed down with heavy candies. When decorating with royal icing, pipe it around the hole, especially in the area above the hole; that will help to reinforce the cookie.

If you're doing this project with young children, you can spoon some royal icing into a small zipper-lock bag, press out the air, seal it, and snip off a small corner so they can squeeze the icing onto their cookies. Or, for very young decorators, you can simply spread a thin layer of royal icing across the surface of the cookie and let them press the candies in wherever they like. In this case, be sure to do one cookie at a time, since the royal icing dries quickly.

My favorite shapes for Gingerbread Cookies include the Gingerbread House cookie cutter, the Christmas Tree cookie cutter, and the Snowflake cookie cutter.