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How to Make a Gingerbread House | Expert Advice

How to Make a Gingerbread House | Expert Advice
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YK1113_096Photo/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.”

MaryJane Robbins

Photo/Art by courtesy King Arthur FlourMaryJane Robbins is a baker and blogger at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont.

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.

Starting Out

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.

Simpler Still

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.

Make It Stick

Ian Aldrich

Author:

Ian Aldrich

Biography:

Senior editor of Yankee Magazine: Ian, a native New Englander who has worked and freelanced for Yankee for the past decade, writes feature stories, home pieces, and helps manage the magazine's up-front section, First Light. His stories have ranged from exploring the community impact from a church poisoning in a small town in northern Maine to dissecting the difficulties facing Nantucket around its problems with erosion. In addition to his connection to Yankee, Ian worked as a senior editor of Cincinnati Magazine for several years.

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