Peppermint Gingerbread House
I love gingerbread houses during the holidays. My dad and I always used to buy the little kits and make them together, and our family used to meet relatives for dinner every December at a place that had HUGE and elaborate gingerbread houses on display. This house I made last year so I’m lacking a lot of “how-to” pictures and the ones I do have were taken on my Blackberry, but it turned out so great that I still wanted to share it with everyone!
Make all of the walls: Make One recipe Gingerbread Dough. Print out these templates and place them onto the rolled out dough, then cut them out using an exact knife. Chill for 10 minutes and then bake at 375 until firm to the touch.
Place 1 1/2 cups royal icing (recipe found HERE) in a squirt bottle (or a pastry bag fitted with a small tip). Starting with 1 side wall, pipe an outline on cookie, and make window openings. Fill in the outline area. Pulse 15 peppermint candies in a food processor to make peppermint dust and then sift it over the wall coating icing completely. Blow off excess dust from window openings. Repeat with remaining side wall and 2 pointed side walls, making a door opening and a round window opening on each of the pointed side walls, leaving door and window unfilled. Let pieces stand until set, at least 4 hours or overnight. Tint 1/2 cup of remaining royal icing with red gel-paste food coloring. Place in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip. Outline and fill in 1 round window with white royal icing. Immediately pipe a bullseye patter of circles of red icing inside window, and drag arching lines from the center to the edges of the window in a spiral pattern using a toothpick or skewer. Repeat with remaining round window. Outline and fill in 1 door with white royal icing. Immediately pipe horizontal lines of red icing across door, and drag a vertical line down from the top left to the bottom left of the door using a toothpick or skewer. For next line, drag from the bottom to the top of the door. Continue dragging lines through the icings, alternating up and down. Repeat with remaining door. Outline and fill in both windows on 1 side wall with white icing. Immediately pipe several small dots of red icing inside windows, and drag lines through dots to swirl. Repeat with both windows of remaining side wall. Let pieces stand until windows and doors are set, at least 4 hours or overnight. Use halved peppermints to outline the round windows and cut candy canes to outline the square windows and the doors.
Make some more royal icing and “Glue” candy melts to the bottom of each roof piece with it and cover whole both roof pieces with royal icing or any white frosting in a swirling pattern. Set all the pieces out to finish drying and then make the house glue (1 LB confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup whipping-quality pasteurized egg whites, 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, 1 tbsp water if needed. Beat sugar, whites, and cream of tartar with a mixer on low speed until combined, about 3 minutes. Increase speed to high, and beat until thick and glossy, 7 to 10 minutes. Use immediately, or cover and let stand until ready to use, up to 2 days. If glue thickens, mix in the water to loosen). Place glue in a pastry bag fitted with a medium plain tip. Pipe lines into an L shape onto a cake stand or serving platter, about the width of 2 side walls. Place base of 1 pointed side wall on stand, with bottom edge on line of glue. Pipe glue up left or right side, and attach a side wall, with bottom edge on line of glue. Hold walls together in place until somewhat set, about 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining 2 walls, gluing them to cake stand and walls and holding until somewhat set.
Reinforce walls by piping glue inside the house at the joints. Let stand until set, about 4 hours or overnight. Pipe lines of glue onto the top edges of house. Attach 1 roof piece, laying it on the icing seams. Hold in place until somewhat set, about 2 minutes. Place a can or glass under the bottom of roof edge. Repeat with other side of roof. Let stand overnight. Pipe a line of icing on the top seam of the roof and add peppermint balls along the top of the house. Pipe a line of icing up the seams on the corners of the walls and cut a piece of licorice open lengthwise to cover these seams. Pipe icicles on the front of the roof and cover the platter with icing to look like snow. Add a sidewalk of peppermints and a “snowman” made from the peppermint balls.