DIY Gingerbread house for Christmas – or anytime

My good friend Ashleigh has requested that I share my recipe and instructions for a home made, DIY, gingerbread house.  So Ashleigh, this ones for you.

Confession, this is not really ‘my’recipe – it is the one used in the training kitchens at Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua, New Zealand where I was privileged to work for many years, thus all of the ingredients are weighed.   Over the years most of our seven children have made these either at home or as students at Waiariki.

This is our youngest daughter Samantha with our eldest son Riki and the ‘Gingerbread House of 2010’. Its actually a really cool pic of the two kids.

Samantha & Riki 2012
Samantha & Riki 2010

Anyway – I digress somewhat.  While these are nice to eat, if they are used as a decoration through the Christmas period they make the house smell nice but do go hard and stale.  Bens Gingerbread house actually required a hammer to dismantle in January – which was actually a lot of fun.  A good option is to make small ‘eating biscuits’ from the remnants of the dough and the leftover icing. Store these in an airtight container and bring a few out when you have a cuppa or guests or the midnight munchies.


  • 1125 grams plain Flour
  • 20 grams Baking powder
  • 28 grams Mixed Spice
  • 12 grams Cocoa
  • 625 grams Sugar
  • 500 grams Butter
  • 4-5 eggs – beaten gently
  • Orange & lemon Zest
  • Vanilla Essence
  1. Sift Flour, Baking Powder, Spice & Cocoa.
  2. Stir in Sugar
  3. Rub in Butter until crumbly.  If you are a purist you can do all of this by hand – I prefer to use a mixer.
  4. Mix in enough of the egg to make a firm dough and knead gently until smooth – but do not play too much – this is gingerbread – not playdough.
  5. Wrap in plastic film and chill for 30 mins.
  6. Roll the dough out on a floured bench to about 4mm thick – large enough to cut all the pattern pieces out. If your bench is small – roll out and cut half at a time.
  7. Remember to make cookies from the leftover dough using Christmas shaped cutters if you have them.
  8. Bake at  for 25 minutes or until firm
  9. Cool for 5 mins (to stabilise) before carefully removing to cooling racks

Ginger bread house pattern There are two patterns here.


  • Icing Sugar – Sifted
  • Egg White – beaten lightly
  •  ½ teaspoon Lemon Juice
  1. Mix until smooth but not too runny
  2. Use icing to “glue’ the house pieces together and stick to base.
  3. Assemble chimney.  Leave to set.
  4.  Cover remaining icing so it does not dry out
  5. Add chimney to roof.
  6. Drizzle on roof to make “snow”
  7. Use icing to stick lollies, jelly babies, sprinkles and  shapes to the base and house as decorations.
  8. Use leftover icing and decorations to decorate the ‘eating cookies’ that you made.

Extra special 

Insert a tealight candle in the house and light it for short periods of time – do not leave unattended as the house may burn down!!!!!  Better still – use a battery operated tea light candle .


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