My Gingerbread House Recipe (GF, DF, EF)

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” Every Thanksgiving my family decorates gingerbread houses to last throughout the season, and they even stay on display through the following year at my grandparents’ house.

My Gingerbread House (GF, DF, EF)

Gingerbread is a long standing tradition that even dates back to my great-grandmother. So, when I was diagnosed with celiac disease, this was something that I couldn’t let fall by the wayside. We set out to make our first gluten free house in 2013.

Sturdy Gingerbread House (GF, DF, EF)
My first gluten free gingerbread house featured a celiac awareness ribbon.

My house was a success (at least in my book). The new gingerbread recipe held up beautifully. And, I was able to keep the gingerbread house free of all my allergens. Beyond the front of the house, I also let the back of the house feature my new celiac friendly pride.

Sturdy Gingerbread House (GF, DF, EF)
Icicles made out of frosting!

The side of the house had a pattern all by itself. While not overwhelming, it gave the gingerbread a little bit of pizzazz. Sturdy Gingerbread House (GF, DF, EF)

The centerpiece was certainly the roof that I made out of vanilla & chocolate Rice Chex. Then, I used some gluten free pretzels to outline the roof and chimney. (Or, they could be gutters.)

Sturdy Gingerbread House (GF, DF, EF)
View from Above!

It’s always important to think of how you use the space on your board, which is why I created a tree with Skittles ornaments to make use of the whole board. And, I made a small pathway over toward the tree to leave a bit of open space on the board as well. Now, the pathway to the house itself is my favorite. It’s made out of a crushed up watermelon candy cane!

Sturdy Gingerbread House (GF, DF, EF)
Learn more about Gingerbread Decorating Parties in my post from last year!

Lastly, we even found a way to maintain a tradition that has been around since my childhood: gingerbread parties. (We invite lots of friends over to decorate with us as well.)

We had dedicated spoons for any of the candies that I would be able to use, a glove policy, and more. I should note that all of our guests were teenagers and older, and very aware of the allergy needs at the party. However, this is definitely doable with a younger crowd as well.

This holiday season, I’m grateful for all the traditions we’ve been able to keep alive by creating marzipan creatures, gingerbread cookies, and even hosting gingerbread parties.

Homemade Marzipan from Scratch
Homemade Marzipan from Scratch

And, finally, below, you’ll find our gingerbread recipe. It forms a sturdy house, yet is still tasty in dough form and sure to bring the smell of Christmas into your home.

Happy Holidays! And, I hope you have fun baking, cooking, or whatever comes your way this holiday season.

P.S: My Fiesta Friday friends, hopefully this makes for a festive decoration at this weeks party. And, this weekend, I’ll be out on the ski slopes. Hopefully, we’ll get some snow too, which would make for a wonderful winter wonderland. 🙂

How to Make Sturdy Gluten Free Gingerbread House

Make your own all purpose flour by mixing together with a whisk and set aside (you will have leftover):

  •  4 cups Rice Flour
  • 2 cups Arrowroot Flout
  • 3  cups Sorghum Flour
  • 8  tsp. Xanthan Gum

Dough:

  • About 7 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • One  12-ounce bottle molasses (mild flavor)
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½  cup water
  • ⅓ cup shortening
  • 2¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 2  tsp. ground allspice (optional – add more cloves and ginger)
  • 1¼  tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional – add more cloves and ginger)

1.  PREPARE DOUGH:  Into large bowl, measure 4 cups gluten free flour mix, one 12-ounce bottle molasses, 1 cup brown sugar, ½ cup water, ⅓ cup shortening, 2¼ tsp baking soda, 2 tsp allspice,

1¼ tsp ginger, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cloves, and 1 tsp cinnamon.  With mixer at low speed, beat ingredients until just mixed.  Increase speed to medium; beat 3 minutes.  With spoon (and hands if necessary), stir in 3 cups flour until dough is kneading consistency.  Wrap dough with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm and easy to handle, about 3 hours.

2.  Prepare a second batch of dough, if desired.

3.  Select a gingerbread pattern.  I find it easiest if the pattern is copied on to and cut out of poster board.

4.  Grease and flour a baking sheet.  Roll the dough out directly on the baking sheet.  Cut out the pattern.

Remove any excess dough.  Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.

The dough should be cooked beyond the perfect eating point, but before it is burned.

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

5.  Test your gingerbread pieces to make sure that the cooked pieces actually fit together properly.  Use a knife to gently trim any uneven areas.

6.  PUT THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE TOGETHER:

Place approximately 1 ½ cups of granulated sugar in an  old small saucepan.  Heat on the stove over low heat until it is hot and bubbly.  Use the mixture as you would any glue to put the house together.  (You may want to have a bowl of cold water handy as you are using the hot sugar.  It is very easy to burn yourself.)  The sugar may be reheated if it begins to cool beyond a working consistency.  You may add additional granulated sugar to your previous batch, if necessary.

The Frosting

Royal frosting typically contains egg or meringue powder.  I wanted to be able to eat EVERY aspect of my gingerbread house, so I used a combination of confectioner’s sugar, water, and pectin to make my frosting.  While the frosting worked (the house has been up for over a month), I don’t have the right proportions yet.  Look out for an updated frosting post next year!

48 thoughts on “My Gingerbread House Recipe (GF, DF, EF)

    1. Thank you! It’s definitely one of my favorite Christmas traditions. I’m sure you’ll make a beautiful house. (Or sleigh, I love making and decorating sleighs too.) 🙂

  1. That’s an adorable gingerbread house, Kaila! I did a gingerbread house with my son when he was small. We kept eating the gumdrops and m&m’s until we ran out. We put up the house alright, just without decorations, lol.

    1. Awh, thanks! I’m sure with your baking skills, the house was beautiful even without the decorations. Eating the candy (or licking in the frosting) is one of the best parts!

  2. You tweaked my interest right away as making and decorating gingerbread houses was almost a 20 year tradition in my home. It began when I was 16 and continued after I married with houses for up to 6 families/friends. I made the houses and provided most of the candy – great family tradition. None of us had allergies but thanks so much for sharing your “gluten free” version with all of us at FF #46. I would love to make them again but the kids are older and noone lives close any more. I am gathering up pictures to share in a post on my gingerbread tradition. Hey, I made a marzipan snowman too 🙂

    1. That’s awesome! (Only mine is gluten free, everyone else still makes gluten filled houses. Somewhere I have a newspaper clipping of my great-grandmother’s gingerbread houses that covered her piano top. (She lived in a small town.)

      It’s cool to see how they’ve transformed through the years. Her gingerbread houses are classic, simply gingerbread with white frosting (and some other white decorations), and with lots of stained glass windows in the churches made from sugar.

      Now, my mom grew us up with candy filled houses. She did some cool things too though. When a whole house was too much for us to decorate, we would get a sleigh. Then, when we were younger, she would read the Gingerbread Baby and then place a gingerbread man inside the house. We could see him through the window! Finally, the years that I got to help pick out the design, we made the Hogwarts Express and the reindeer barns. I decorate Cupid (Valentine’s day theme) and Vixen (black and red).

      I’m looking forward to seeing the houses you guys have made too! Happy Holidays!!

      1. I agree Kaila – the houses we decorated were a lot different from the house I made in 1966 from a McCalls Magazine 🙂 There was never any particular theme – it was just lots of candy and let the kids (with parents help of course) do their own designing 🙂

  3. I love this Kaila! 🙂 I’m making a gingerbread house as we speak (the second batch of dough is resting in the fridge and Im having a mini gingerbread party for a little fellow! I highly doubt it would look as good as yours!! But I’m definitely getting some awesome tips from this! (I have a feeling it might be a disaster zone though!)

      1. I’m sure it will come out well! Gingerbread houses are all about having fun. Plus, if any of the gingerbread baking goes awry, you can always cover that bit with frosting. 🙂

        I’m user you’re little fellow will have a lot of fun. We always put plastic wrap (or a disposable table cloth) under our work area, so that pick up was less disastrous! Happy FF, and have tons of fun decorating!! 😀

      2. I’m a HUGE control freak when it comes to baking! So this is my first time letting someone else other than my mum “finish” my baking products! Thankfully I’m going to be destroying his mother’s place! Haha! but I will take my table cloth so I don’t completely ruin things! Thank you for that tip! It might save my friendship :p

  4. Wow, I’m beyond impressed by that gingerbread house! Not only does it look amazing, but – thinking about it as a house – look at that structural integrity! I think you’re a wizard to make such a great gingerbread house without gluten or eggs 😀

  5. Making gingerbread houses is such a great tradition. Thanks for the tip on the substitute for royal icing. I have been looking for one and look forward to your final recipe.

    1. Thanks, Hilda! I’ll blog as soon as I get the “royal frosting” recipe down pat. The pectin is by far the best solution I’ve tried so far, but it’s still not always ideal for pipetting. Well, sometimes it’s doable, but other times less so. I think I just need a bit more practice to get the proportions figured out. 🙂

      Have a fantastic weekend!

    1. Thanks, Julie! We’re still going strong. In late elementary school and middle school we started doing them with groups as a community service project. And, both my sister and I have kept them up through college as a way to see our friends over Thanksgiving break!

      I’m so glad to hear that y’all have the same tradition; it’s one of my favorites! Have a wonderful weekend too. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Meghan! It was actually really simple to make gluten free from my grandma’s recipe, which was nice. Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season. 😀

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