It’s National Gingerbread House Day on Sunday, so to celebrate I want to show you how to make a kawaii gingerbread house, in miniature size.
What you’ll need
- gingerbread dough
- rolling pin
- cookie cutters or a house template
- royal icing
- small decorations
You can make your own gingerbread dough using King Arthur’s recipe or for a vegan version, try Sweet Simple Vegan. Buying premade dough works great too. Since these are mini houses, I cut the recipe I was making in half.
Roll out your dough, not too thin or your house pieces may be brittle and break.
Cut out your pieces and make sure that for each house, you have 2 of each piece (2 roofs, 2 walls, etc.). I have this adorable Japanese cookie cutter set, but you can easily print out a gingerbread house template – here’s one from The 36th Avenue. Just set the template pieces on your dough and cut around them with a sharp knife. Bake the cookies and keep an eye on them because they are small and quick to burn.
Gingerbread dough spreads a little while baking. If you have a piece that turned out a little uneven, you can fix it. While it’s still warm, simply trim the piece with a sharp knife.
While the cookies cool, get your icing and decorations ready. If you have had difficulty assembling gingerbread houses in the past, consider making your own royal icing – here’s a recipe at Wilton. Royal icing is designed to dry quickly and thoroughly so it acts like glue while still being edible. The key ingredient is meringue powder – this will ensure a stiff, quick-drying icing. You can also purchase royal icing ready to go in icing bags.
Once your cookie pieces are cool, you are ready to decorate. An important tip – decorate the front and sides of your houses before assembling. It is much easier to ice cookies that are lying flat. Don’t worry about making mistakes – just wait for the icing to dry, then pick it off the cookie and start again.
Once your decorations are dry, you can start assembling. Put thick lines of icing where the walls meet and gently press together. Give the walls time to dry and harden before attaching the roof.
Once your house is together, fill in any gaps with extra icing and let dry. Once dry, add any last minute touches like icicles or powdered sugar for a snow-effect.
They are almost too cute to eat!
To use up your leftover gingerbread dough, consider cookie painting. This is a very fun activity for kids, who can find squeezing an icing bag difficult and frustrating. Simply put a small amount of royal icing in a dish, add food color and a little water. Hand your little one a food-safe paintbrush (and maybe an apron) and let them paint a plate of cookies while you work on decorating your tiny houses.
Even if they mix the colors, the cookies will end up with a cute tie-dye effect. If you have leftover royal icing, you can add lines and details to the painted cookies for an added touch.
Happy National Gingerbread House Day! And if you can’t get enough gingerbread, check out these gingerbread themed picks from last year.
Nova is a contributing writer who lives in the Pacific Northwest in America with her husband, young daughter, and 3 cats – Evey, Ophelia, and Adora. She is an introvert and a traveler who has been to over 20 countries. Her first years as a teacher were teaching English in Japan, so Japan and all things kawaii will always have a special place in her heart. Nova’s favorite color is grey, character is Rilakkuma, and cartoon is Adventure Time
SuzanneDecember 10, 2021 at 4:32 pm
I was not prepared for how tiny those gingerbread houses were!
NovaDecember 11, 2021 at 6:38 pm
Ha, I really have a passion for miniatures. I will admit that I used tweezers for most of the decorations . . .
Katy AlexanderDecember 11, 2021 at 5:23 am
These are SO CUTE!!! I love them on the side of the mug! What a fun idea!
NovaDecember 11, 2021 at 6:39 pm
Thank you! Traditional gingerbread houses are so big that no one ever actually eats them. On a mug they can actually be enjoyed!