Gingerbread Houses
From Superkids by Jean Marzollo - Illustrations by Irene Trivas

Many of the activities on these pages may require adult supervision.
Be sure to tell a grown-up about what you're planning and ask for permission before getting started.

A good project for December.


Recipe for Gingerbread Dough

1. Heat in a very large saucepan until the sugar and shortening are melted:

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
Let cool.

2. Beat together, then add to the above mixture:

2 teaspoons vinegar
1 egg

3. Add and mix well:

2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon

4. At the end, mix the dough with your hands if you have to. Chill in the refrigerator.


Make your patterns for Walls and Roofs walls and roofs

You need two side walls, a front and a back wall, and two roof sections. Cut them out of paper or cardboard.


Bake the Gingerbread

When the dough is chilled, roll it out to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Lay your patterns on the dough and cut around them with a knife. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes or until done in a 325 degree oven. When you remove the sections from the oven, immediately put your patterns on them and trim away any part that has spread beyond the original pattern. You have to do this while the gingerbread is still hot and soft. Be careful.

If necessary, have a grown-up do this for you.

baking illustration


Make the Glue Frosting

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup water

Boil sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium-size pot. Watch it. The minute it turns brown, take it off the stove.


Put Your House Together

Dip the edges of the house walls and roofs into the glue frosting just before you set them together. This is a slightly dangerous procedure because the glue frosting must be used while it is still hot. If it cools in the pan, it will harden and you will have to heat it up again in order to use it. I suggest that you have a grown-up assemble your house, that you assist by holding the sections together, and that both of you wear long sleeves and gloves to protect your skin from hot drips and splashes. Do not undertake this step alone.


gingerbread construction illustration


Make Decorator's Frosting

Beat 3 egg whites until stiff. Add 1 pound confectioner's sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar. Beat until stiff enough to hold a line.


Decorate Your House

To make lines, spoon Decorator Frosting into a small plastic bag. Snip a tiny comer off one of the lower corners of the bag. Hold the bag in your hand and squeeze frosting through the hole to make a line. Practice on wax paper until you can control it. Then decorate your house. Add candies to the decorations if you like, gluing them on with a dab of Decorator's Frosting. This gingerbread house will last for several days while others admire it. Then you can eat it.

gingerbread illustration



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Based on the book SUPERKIDS: Creative Learning Activities for Children 5-15
Text © Jean Marzollo, Illustrations © Irene Trivas

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