My gingerbread dream house, a sweet little cottage inspired by two of my favourite houses.
One of them is lived in by my friend Ros @her_dark_materials who has a beautiful cottage in the Cotswolds and the other is the Rose cottage from the film “The holiday”. (love that film) I mixed my favourite parts of them both.
If you want to make it more like the house from the holiday, then make two chimneys and add a space for the extra chimney on the opposite side of the roof panel, and make a larger base for a bigger front garden.
I wish i could shrink my self so i could live in it, imagine how wonderful it would smell each day.
This was such a fun project to make, but it has a few steps to make all the parts.
I made an extra template just in case i needed it, and had not planned to share this tutorial at the time, hence the lack of step by step photos. So this post is not as detailed as it should be, i apologise for that. I hope my instructions make sense.
I was asked if i could share it, and asked if it could be by the weekend in time for Christmas, so it was a bit of a rush.
Read all the instructions first to see the order you have to make and assemble it.Jump to Recipe
The gingerbread cottage templates
The structure of the porch and roof are made with the darker dough, and lighter dough strips are added to make the wood pattern.
Use the front of house template for sizing for the back piece, but just cut a doorway on the back part so you have a hole so you can add lights inside the house. You can add windows ect if you wish but i didn’t.
Do not cut the door out of the front panel, just cut the doors window, use the doors placing on the template as a guide so you know the placement for the door you made with the lighter dough.
Tips before you start
- Read everything first so you know what order to do things.
- Its best to bake the roof after you have made the other parts and assembled the chimney, so you can see how big the chimney is once the royal icing and gingerbread rocks are added. I have added a suggested size on the template to cut out but it may be bigger or smaller depending on how big you make the bricks, or if you decide to not add bricks.
- Keeping the pieces the same size as the template is important, so bake one part at a time, bake for half the suggested time, then remove from the oven and place the template back on top and use a pizza cutter or knife to cut it back to the right shape, leaving the offcuts in place until its baked then you can remove them and it will be the right size.
- Roll the parts out on a sheet of baking paper so you don’t need to move it once its cut
- Use a flat baking tray
- Adding the brick texture = once you have cut the front and sides and garden wall, use a spoon or a knife to make a brick pattern, then once baked and cooled, rub icing sugar onto the pieces so it sticks in the indentations to look like real bricks and brush off any excess.
- Leave a open door on the back panel so you can add lights, you wont need to add windows to the back, but use the template for a size guide.
- Use a mixture of the left over doughs to make the roof tiles and chimney bricks, having a mix of both colours adds a realistic element.
- To speed things up feel free to use cereal for the roof tiles if you don’t want to make them
- To make roof tiles roll out dough thinly and use a pizza cutter to cut lots of lines making squares. Keep it as one large piece, bake for half suggested time and then remove from the oven and quickly recut the lines and then bake for remaining time. Once it is baked you can break it apart on the cuts you made to get lots of little squares. You will need to make a few trays to get enough tiles.
- If you can use a thicker paper for the template that is best, a thin card works well.
- The lighter dough parts don’t need to be precise to the template that is just the suggested design for the windows, door and porch wood pattern.
- It will harden as it cools, if the parts still feel soft then it needed longer in the oven.
- The dough needs to chill after it is made for t lest 2 hours
- Once the dough is cut out, if you have space you can place baking trays in the fridge to keep the dough cool while baking the others parts.
The recipe makes one batch, I made a double batch of the dark dough. In the end i only needed half of the second batch. however its nice to have more than you need so you can make a base the size you want, and you have some spare dough in case you break any of the parts or want to add extras.
Make one and a half of the dark gingerbread recipe if you don’t want any left over dough, i used it for some cookies.
I made two different shades of dough so one was the colour of brick and one more like wood. when the icing sugar is added it makes it seem like stone.
The recipe is different than my usual gingerbread dough, its a quick to prepare hot mix one when you heat the syrups, butter and sugar.
I used a scale to measure ingredients so it is in grams.
Dark gingerbread dough
- 250 g unsalted butter
- 210 g soft light brown sugar
- 45 g black treacle
- 45 g golden syrup i use lyles
- 5 tbsp water
- 2 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
- 2 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground all spice or clove
- 1 / 2 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 15 g cocoa powder optional use 575g plain flour if not using
- 560 g plain flour see above note
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Add the butter, sugar, and syrups and the spices in a pan and heat until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, turn off the heat, let cool for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bicarbonate of soda. add the flour, cocoa powder and salt and mix into a soft dough. make two balls and flatten, flour slightly and cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.when rolling out to cut flour well so it does not stick to the baking paper or the template
lighter gingerbread dough for wood parts
- 65 g unsalted butter
- 55 g light brown sugar or caster sugar
- 25 g golden syrup
- 1 and 1/2 tbsp water
- 1 and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 and 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp allspice or clove
- 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 145 g plain flour
- zest of one small orange (1 tsp)
To make the dough
- Add the butter, golden syrup, sugar and spices in a pan and simmer gently until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes
- Mix in the orange zest, then mix in the bicarbonate of soda, then add the flour and mix into make a soft dough.
- Dust with a little flour, then cover in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
Using the templates.
Once the dough has chilled and the templates have been printed and cut out, roll some of the dough out on a piece of parchment paper.
Place the paper with the rolled out dough onto a flat baking sheet, and place the template on top.
Cut out the shape. I find a pizza cutter great for this.
Use a long ruler if you have one to keep cuts straight.
Now add the brick texture using a spoon or knife.(see video) Bake one tray at a time on the centre shelf of the oven.
For the pieces that have a mix of both doughs, (the front of the house window frames and porch) cut the window frames/door and place them on top of the darker dough and bake. when it bakes they will join together.
You do not need to follow the exact template for the window frames etc, that is just the suggested design. Cut small strips of the lighter dough and arrange them together around the windows and porch to create the window frame and wood design.
Bake for half the suggested time, remove from the oven, then quickly place the template back on top and cut around template again using a pizza cutter or knife. Make sure you leave the cut pieces in place and return to the oven to bake for the remaining time. Once cool remove the off cuts.
This process will make sure that the pieces will remain the correct size.
The front porch piece is a mix of two doughs so cut out the dark dough and place the strips of the lighter dough on top to make the design, then place template over the top and re trim to make sure the size is still the same.
Suggested baking times
- Front and back part approx 12 -15 minutes at 180c 350f fan
- side parts approx 8-9 minutes
- chimney parts approx 8 minutes
- roof parts approx 10 minutes
- roof tiles approx 6-8 minutes if baking in large cut pieces
- chimney bricks approx 6 minutes
- garden wall approx 6 to 8 minutes
- porch approx 5 to 6 minutes for smaller parts, larger part may take longer
- gate approx 5 minutes
- Base approx 15 minutes 20 minutes depending on size
- times may vary slightly depending on your oven and if it is a fan or standard oven.
You may need to bake it longer than suggested times, once you notice the dough starting to colour around edges take it out.
Let the parts cool on the tray for 5 minutes before moving onto a large cooling rack. They will harden as they cool making it easier to move.
I made the chimney bricks and roof tiles with a mix of both doughs so that they are different colours. The chimney bricks are really small balls of dough that i flattened slightly. I needed a lot more than i anticipated to cover the chimney, so you will need a lot.
To make the gate, cut thin strips of dough and cut to size. Arrange them together on the baking paper. Once baked it will stick together in that shape as long as you place the bars across like the template.
You can cut strips for it as wide as you like, and make more fence panels if you want to make a larger garden and put a fence all the way around.
Stick the gate to the fence posts.
Assembling the gingerbread cottage
- Royal icing (recipe below)
- thyme and rosemary for decoration
- piping bag
- icing sugar for brick work
- sheets of leaf gelatine for windows
- Once cool, rub some icing sugar onto the parts that have the brick pattern so it looks like cement between the bricks and makes the dough look like stone and highlights the pattern.
- Make royal icing, then assemble the chimney. Stick the parts together, then cover in royal icing attach it to one of the side pieces, make sure it is level then stick on the bricks. leave to harden.
- Measure how much of the roof you need to cut to make space for it, then bake the roof panels and leave to cool,
- Add royal icing to the roof and starting at the bottom edge stick on tiles and cover the roof, leave to harden.
- Next make the porch and stick it to the front of the house, making sure it will stand up straight. Stick roof tiles to the porch roof.
- Cut some leaf gelatine to size and stick it behind the windows to look like glass.
Adding these parts first, will help with the stability when you stick the other two sides on as they can stand up on their own.
I assembled it over two days, the first day i assembled the chimney and stuck it to the side panel (then i measured it so i could make bake the roof). I made the porch and stuck it to the front panel and made the roof and added roof tiles. This way it was dry when i assembled the rest the next day.
I made one chimney, but feel free to make two one for each side, like the house in the movie, but be sure to cut a space on the roof both sides. I found the chimney very time consuming so only made one.
- . Make a large base with the dough any shape you wish that is big enough to fit the house and fence.
- . Stick the house together onto the base, adding most of the royal icing on the inside so the joins are not seen. let it harden for 10 minutes before adding the roof. You can pipe a thin line of icing on each of the joins first for extra strength, but add the majority of royal icing inside the house so you cant see it.. i used a lot of royal icing.
- . Once assembled, add the fence and gate, then add icing to look like snow on the base around the house. If you have any left over chimney bricks you can use them to make a path or door step.
- Add royal icing snow on roof and parts of the house and front wall and add thyme to look like ivy or wisteria branches growing on the front of the house.
I added a thin candle in the chimney and blew it out to make smoke for the photos and added some battery powered lights inside through the door hole i left at the back.. If you use a candle to do this for a photo be careful not to set the gingerbread house on fire.
- stand mixer with paddle attachment
- 455 g icing sugar
- 80 g egg whites about 2 eggs
- 3 g cream of tartar
- 9 g water
- Sift the icing sugar to remove lumps, add in the bowl of the stand mixer and add the water, egg whites and cream of tartar, mix for a minute or two with the paddle attachment at a low/medium speed until combined, scrape bowl with a spatula and then turn up speed to high and mix for 5 minutes or until peaks form.Place in a bowl or lidded box and cover with a layer of plastic wrap touching the surface so a crust doesn't form then add a wet paper towel on top and add another layer of plastic wrap, then if using tub/box place on lid and keep in the fridge.lasts for two weeks.if using right away cover bowl with a damp towel until ready.
If you want a Gingerbread house project that is a bit less time consuming then sally’s baking addiction has this really sweet one
looking for other gingerbread projects i have made?, find them here.