Making a Gingerbread House 1: Baking

Baking off pieces of a gingerbread house is no different than making cookies, the only difference is size. The main difficulty, when it comes to shapes that are 8″ x 10″ or larger, is transferring them from point A to point B. Just use plenty of flour and check as you roll to see if the bigger pieces are sticking or not. When it comes time to move them, remember that most tears can be gently pushed back together. Failing that you can just ball the dough back up and re-roll it. This dough is almost impossible to overwork. Should it start to dry out as you roll, just wet your hands under the sink and knead the moisture in until you have a good rolling consistency.

Start by preheating your oven to 375. Lay a piece of dough out on a well-floured work surface (this piece wasn’t nearly big enough, but it was the only one I remembered to shoot while I was rolling).

Roll the dough out until it’s 1/4″ thick or less, lay the template down and trim around it with a pizza cutter. Reserve and re-roll the scraps.

Gently transfer the pieces to a parchment-lined baking sheet. (UPDATE: Reader Ken suggests that another way to perform this maneuver might be to roll the dough out onto a pre-cut piece of parchment, do the trimming on the paper, then just pick up the paper and move it over onto a sheet pan. I think that would work just fine if you find that the transfer step is giving you trouble.)

This is the point when you can do any detail work you want to do, like windows and doors. Just use a sharp knife…

…then gently lift the excess out. Reserve it, of course.

Window are a little trickier, just take your time and gently poke out whatever shapes you want.

Pry the excess out with a knife tip, then use the point to clean up the corners if necessary. Once that’s done you’re ready to bake! Pieces this size take about 12 minutes in my oven.

Hey! Where’d the door go? I got the pans mixed up, gimme a break, OK? . I baked a lot of gingerbread last weekend.

While the dough is still warm, it’s a good idea to trim up any edges that might have become distorted while the gingerbread was baking. This is especially important with any smaller pieces you might be baking off. You’ll be glad you did when it comes time to assemble.

Allow the pieces to cool completely before you try to work with them.

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