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Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Ultimate DIY Gluten Free Gingerbread House Guide + how to make a lighted gingerbread house!

Since the holiday season is upon us, I'm re-posting my Gingerbread House tutorial from last year! I hope you enjoy it :)

Those of you who follow me on Facebook probably saw some of my posts this past week as I attempted to make my very first gluten free gingerbread house, and I promised to post about it. I still haven't gotten around to actually decorating it (thanks to having not one, not two, but THREE decorating devices fail on me), but this post should give you everything you need in time to make one yourself!

So in this post you'll find:
* A link to the gluten free gingerbread recipe I used (it's fabulous, and my non-GF hubby really liked it too)
* Links to the TWO different free gingerbread house templates / patterns I used
* A tutorial on how to make a lighted gingerbread house (my first attempt at this and I'm pleased with the results)
* Some suggestions for constructing a gingerbread house
* A recipe for simple, gluten free, dairy free, corn-syrup free royal icing

So let's get crackin', cuz Christmas is just around the corner!!

Recipe for Gluten Free Gingerbread House / Men

Rather than re-invent the wheel, I used this recipe from Melissa D'Arabian on for Gingerbread Men. I altered it slightly because I didn't have buckwheat flour and didn't want to use so much white rice flour - so I ended up using 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup white rice flour, 1/2 cup chickpea / garbanza flour, and 1 cup tapioca starch.

I let the larger pieces bake for 12 minutes to harden them. The smaller pieces (people, etc), I baked for 10 minutes. 

If you wanted to make it vegan, I suspect you could probably get away with subb'ing the 1 egg with a flax egg, and the butter with a dairy-free butter substitute.

One batch of the recipe made enough gingerbread for a small A-frame house, a larger, traditional style house, AND several gingerbread people and decorations. 

Free Gingerbread House Patterns

Nikki Wills on has some fabulous posts on making gingerbread houses. I used both her small A Frame pattern and the Standard House Pattern. 

The above post photo is the standard house pattern, and the below is the A-frame (sorry the lighting was awful, I had to take some of the photos at night in my living room)

I just printed the pieces out and they were super easy to follow. 

She also has a post with some really useful tips and tricks for building gingerbread houses and I highly recommend you check them out. The one about dusting your gingerbread with flour before laying out the templates is REALLY important, or else your template will stick to the dough like mad!! 

 As you can see from my gingerbread house, I cut out the door and windows, and used the cutouts to make window shutters.

For the gingerbread people, I used a cheap Wilton cutout set that I picked up at Safeway. 




Making a Lighted Gingerbread House

I could explain it all to you, but I think pictures work better.
Cut a piece of cardboard to the size you want to hold both your house and a few people / decorations, a walkway, etc. OR use cardboard cake rounds. 

Using an exacto knife,  cut a small square slightly larger than an electric tea light (I would not use a real candle in here!!), roughly where you want the centre of your house to stand.
Underside of the cardboard, covered with aluminum foil and taped in place.

Cover your  cardboard with aluminum foil

Push the foil through the cut out and construct your house over the hole.

Then, you can light an electric tea light and position your house over top of it, see? The more windows and doors you cut, the more your light will shine :) 

Construction Tips

I strongly recommend checking out Nikki Wills post on useful tips and tricks for building gingerbread houses 

* Dust the dough with flour before laying out your template patterns, or else they'll stick to the dough
* After baking and immediately after taking the pieces out of the oven (while they're still soft) lay the pattern over the pieces and trim off excess with a sharp knife, as the dough will expand and warp a bit during baking.

Otherwise, I wish I had used a sugar syrup to put together my house instead of royal icing, because the icing does seep around the seams and requires covering up. Sugar syrup can be made just by simmering 1 cup of white sugar until it's golden brown, and dipping your pieces into the syrup and holding them together. The downside of this, as I recall from my youth, is frequently burnt fingers... 

I made my houses in stages and I recommend you do the same:

Day 1 - make the gingerbread and cut out the pieces. Let cool and firm up overnight. 
Day 2 - construct house. Let icing set and cool overnight. 
Day 3 - decorate. At least I would have decorated on day 3 if all my devices hadn't failed me :( 

Dairy-Free, Corn-Syrup Free Royal Icing

 I do not understand why every royal icing recipe involves corn syrup!! This drives me mad, so I've posted what I use to make a simple royal icing to construct my house and glue on decorations: 

1 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp water

Mix until stiff. Adjust icing sugar and water as needed. 

So there you have it, I hope it helps! I'll post more pics as soon as I get around to decorating my houses (this weekend, perhaps!)  

How do you make your gingerbread houses? Any tips and tricks? If you have links to your own gingerbread projects please share in the comments!!

Did you know the latest novel in my Ancient Egyptian Romances series is available now? It's a murder-mystery romance that starts out in the secret recesses of the Temple of Mehyt, and takes you through to the seedy underbelly of Ancient Egypt!


  1. This gingerbread house is so cute! I want to make one so bad! Even though Christmas is past your post is inspiring me to just do it!

    I haven't seen anyone light one up before like you have! I love that!! Now I really want one!

    1. My husband had so much fun decorating his (we made it a "date night" thing) he said, "We could do this like anytime of year, right? It doesn't just have to be Christmas, does it?" Since then I've googled around and seen some really cute Valentine's Day ones, or even St. Patrick's Day, so it's totally okay to make one anytime!! I think we'll be doing more this year, too ;)


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