Traditional German Gingerbread House
The Traditional German Gingerbread House reminds me always of the story of Hänsel and Gretel. I remember one apple blossom festival in my small hometown when I was Gretel during a parade in front of the gingerbread house, driving on a wagon pulled by a tractor. Unforgettable memories.
Ingredients for the Traditional German Gingerbread House:
- 1000 g (2.2 lb) of flour, all-purpose
- 500 g (1.1 lb) of honey
- 450 g (15.8 oz) of sugar, white
- 100 g (3.52 oz) of margarine OR butter
- 2 eggs, XL
- 15 g (½ package) of Lebkuchengewürz OR 2 teaspoons of the homemade gingerbread spice mix, find the recipe here
- 3 ½ teaspoons of Pottasche (potash, pearlash) OR 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 2 tablespoons of water, to dissolve the Pottasche/baking soda
Ingredients for Icing:
- 1 egg white, XL
- 150-200 g (5.29-7.05 oz) of powdered sugar
- food color for coloring the icing (optional)
Beat the egg white until it is stiff. Add the powdered sugar slowly to it. If the icing is too soft, add more powdered sugar; if it is too stiff, add little by little warm water. After the house is glued and decorated with lines, you can color the rest of the icing with food color to make the sugar flowers and decorate the gingerbread cookies.
Ideas for the Decoration:
- sugar flowers, find the recipe for the homemade flowers here
- shaped cookies into Christmas themes
- waffle cookies
- peeled almond halves
- maraschino cherries, cut into halves
- marzipan fruits and flowers
- deco sugar
- chocolate morsels
- chocolate Nonpareils
Preparation of the dough for the Traditional German Gingerbread House:
First, mix the Pottasche/baking soda with the water in a glass and set aside.
Add butter, honey, and sugar in a saucepan and heat it while continually stirring until the sugar dissolves. Take the honey mixture off the stove, pour it in a mixing bowl, and let it cool down.
Add the gingerbread spices, dissolved Pottasche/baking soda, and eggs into the mixing bowl and knead the ingredients using your handheld mixer. Add one tablespoon at the time the flour to it and continue kneading until a smooth dough is forming. If necessary, knead the dough with your hands.
Cover the dough with a cellophane wrap and let it rest for 2-8 days. If you store the dough in the refrigerator, take it out 1 hour before working with it.
Material for the Templates:
- poster card board
- baking paper
Preparation of the Templates:
You need the following templates to build the gingerbread house; one front, one back, two sides, two roofs, one square window, one round window, and the door. Cut the templates for the Gingerbread house with the measurements shown in the picture above. Glue baking paper onto the cut templates, so that the templates do not stick to the dough and it is easier to remove them.
Preparation of the baking:
Take the dough out of the refrigerator, 1 hour before working with it. Knead the dough using your hands. If it is too sticky, add some flour to it. Work with parts of the dough at a time. Use one-quarter of the dough, place it onto baking paper, and cover it with cellophane wrap. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 5 mm (¼ inch). Remove the cellophane wrap and transfer the dough with the baking paper onto the baking sheet. Place the template on top of the dough to cut the shape using a pizza cutter or knife. Remove the template.
Preheat the oven to 185°C (365°F) for 12-15 minutes. Bake the gingerbread on the middle rack for 12-15 minutes.
Continue baking the other parts of the house the same way. Cut out the door and windows of the front before baking. Use the rest of the dough for baking the base for the house.
Building the Gingerbread House:
There are two ways to build the base for the house. You can bake the rest of the dough to a base, but you also can use a cake drum or baking sheet and cover it with foil wrap, which I did. I like to use the rest of the dough for baking the decoration using cookie cutters for stars, hearts, pretzel, trees, and the fence.
It takes three steps to build the house. Use the icing to glue the gingerbread house together. Fill the icing into a decorating bag and cut a small hole into the bag. Spread the icing onto the edges and bring the parts of the house in place. Have a bottle standing against the parts to hold them in place. First, connect the sides with the front and the back and let it entirely dry, best overnight. Secondly, place the roof on top using toothpicks to support the roof staying in place, and lastly, the door and shutters before decorating with the icing using a star tip and decorating bag.
The dough is enough to build a gingerbread house, as described in the recipe. Or a large gingerbread house and base, or using a gingerbread house cookie cutter set to build 4 small houses. You can find the cookie cutter set here.