How to Make a Gingerbread House | Expert Advice
Photo/Art by courtesy King Arthur Flour
If you’ve never attempted to make a gingerbread house before, MaryJane Robbins has some words of advice: It can be addicting. “Some people are even doing it year-round,” she says. “For Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, even Halloween.”
A baker for much of her life, Robbins has, for the past eight years, worked the phones at King Arthur Flour, helping fellow bakers sort out issues with pizza dough, piecrust, and, yes, gingerbread houses. For a couple of years she even taught classes on the fine art of gingerbread decorating. She loves the creativity it brings out in people. “In my classes, everyone got the same candies, but nobody ever built the same house,” she says. We caught up with Robbins between calls at her King Arthur office.
For beginners, the kit route is perfectly suitable. It’s one-stop shopping, complete with pre-baked walls, roof, icing, and decorative candies. For hardcore DIYers, making a house from scratch starts with a recipe for construction gingerbread, not gingerbread cookies. “The cookies, they’re crispy on the outside but soft on the inside, and once you start to put the thing together, it will fall apart,” Robbins says.
No kit? No problem. Robbins suggests using a small milk carton or cardboard box as the home’s base. Cover with icing, layer with graham crackers, add another round of icing, then start decorating. “With little kids it can be really easy,” Robbins says.
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