Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

Feeling & sharing a world of cooking ~ more than your average Cajun


Ginger Bread Houses

December 23rd, 2008 · 22 Comments

A family tradition of holiday fun

Ginger Bread House

Every year for the past 10 or so we have taken the weekend before Christmas typically on Saturday to bake and build ginger bread houses. Years ago Monique hosted and attended Pampered Chef parties and one year she got a hold of the ginger bread mold stoneware and ever since I have taken to the fun task of helping the boys build each their own ginger bread house. This year we were without Bryan so Monique and I decorated one together. Ben did his all up in purple and gold LSU colors, it is quite a unique little ginger bread house.

LSU Ginger Bread House

I typically make a double batch of ginger bread dough and a double batch of royal icing as well to complete two houses from the mold. Over the years I have perfected the art of making even and smooth walls, roofs and chimney. The trick is to hand press the dough into the mold until filled over the top edges, then taking a sharp knife I will run the blade parallel to the top and slice off the excess using a sawing motion, the exess dough is added back to the ball.

Usually there will be some dough left over and I will roll out this to about 1/4 inch thickness and then cut out Christmas shapes using tiny cookie cutters. We typically will have a few dozen stars, ginger bread men, bears, candy cane and sleigh shaped ginger bread cookies to eat while we build and decorate the houses.

Ginger Bread Dough

Gingerbread House Dough (Single batch, yield: 1 house)
3 Cups All-purpose flour
1 ½ Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Ginger
½ Tsp Baking soda
½ Tsp Salt
¼ Tsp Cloves, ground
½ Cup Solid vegetable shortening
½ Cup Granulated sugar
½ Cup Molasses
1 Large Egg


Procedure Steps (Pre-heat oven to 350 º F.)
1. Combine the first 6 dry ingredients and mix well.
2. Combine the shortening and suger and whip until creamed smooth.
3. Add the molasses and egg to the sugar shortening mixture and whip until smooth.
4. Gradually add the dry flour mixture to the wet mixture until well incorporated into a dough.
5. Press dough into lightly greased mold and cut excess. Or on a lightly greased sheet pan roll out dough to an even shape about ½ inch thick.
6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until edges of dough are lightly browned. Place mold or sheet pan on cooling rack for 5 minutes then un-mold or remove from pan.
7. If using a single sheet pan method use the template below to cut out the walls and roof shapes. If using the mold allow it to cool somewhat before adding the next batch of dough.
8. Once cooled the house sections are ready to build.


Royal Icing
4 Cups Powdered confectioners sugar
3 Each Egg whites
2 Tsp Cream of tartar
Procedure Steps
1. Blend together the confectioners sugar and cream of tarter, then add the egg whites and whip on medium speed until in electric mixer until glossy and hit holds stiff peaks.

Royal Icing

This icing will start to dry very quickly so keep covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small star tube and use the icing as the “glue” for attaching the walls then the roof sections. Add more icing and then decorate with various candy pieces. Add more icing on the roof to simulate snow and then decorate that too.


Now everyone is ready to decorate their houses, Monique and Ben start adding candy pieces after I have set up the walls and roof sections with the royal icing “glue”. The fun begins and goes really quickly too.
Ben Decorating the LSU House
Monique piping in some icing
Ryan added some icing too


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Tags: Baking · Holidays · Traditions

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ingeborg // Dec 19, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Looks very nice, Ryan. You and your family are so creative. No gingerbread aromas in our home this year.

  • 2 Doc // Dec 19, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    They look incredible and I bet they taste they same. Looks like y’all had a great time putting them together; that’s a great family fun idea. Way to go, Chef!

  • 3 My Mans Belly // Dec 19, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Too cute! My grandfather used to make a big gingerbread house every Christmas. It was his contribution to decorating the house.

  • 4 Trix // Dec 19, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Part chef, part sculptor, part architect! Awesome.

  • 5 Emily // Dec 19, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Oh how wonderful!!! Construction and baking all in one?! :o) A day well spent

  • 6 Shirley // Dec 19, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    This is cool Chef!

  • 7 ninni // Dec 19, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    oh my friend,looking at your family at home around table/baking,building together/make my heart full of happiness…may i wish You and Your family a million more days like this one!!

  • 8 HoneyB // Dec 19, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Ryan, I love your family does this together! Great photos of your family too!

  • 9 Conor @ HoldtheBeef // Dec 19, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    This gets me excited for my first gingerbread house building experience to come this week! I hope it works out as such an engineering feat as yours 🙂

  • 10 Alta // Dec 20, 2009 at 1:14 am

    After building my first gingerbread house today – I can imagine these molds are genius for getting the edges to fit together! I made my own pattern and the pattern fit together, but as much as I tried, the cookies were somewhat misshapen and I had to trim, and still it came out a bit wonky. Good thing I made a lot of royal icing to fill in gaps!

  • 11 penny aka jeroxie // Dec 20, 2009 at 2:33 am

    What a lovely house! And everyone seems to have so much fun.

  • 12 MaryMoh // Dec 20, 2009 at 2:47 am

    What a beautiful Ginger bread House! It must be so fun to make.

  • 13 alison // Dec 20, 2009 at 2:52 am


  • 14 Drick // Dec 20, 2009 at 10:07 am

    great details on the gingerbread by using a mold. love this as a family tradition, wish mine had done this…..I think we sat around the table polishing silver…lol

  • 15 Jessie // Dec 20, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    that is such a nice tradition you have with your family. I’ve always wanted to either build a gingerbread house or do gingerbread cutout cookies.

  • 16 Cheah // Dec 20, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    The gingerbread house looks so cute and beautiful!
    Great work.

  • 17 Brie // Dec 20, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    very cute houses – that looks like fun!

  • 18 wasabi prime // Dec 21, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Awww… this is an adorable post. Thank you for sharing such a happy time with loved ones!!

  • 19 averagebetty // Dec 21, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Gingerbread houses are just plain ol’ fun!

  • 20 Thas // Dec 21, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Such a beautiful house, it must have been hard to break the house and devour it. You have a great blog. Happy holidays!

  • 21 ValleyWriter // Dec 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    What an awesome family tradition! I love that Ben is still participating, even though he’s clearly not a “kid” anymore. Happy Holidays!

  • 22 Shelly @ Experimental Culinary Pursuits // Dec 22, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    That’s an adorable house! I love putting these together but have always bought the ready-made versions. ALmost as fun, but not as satisfying. Must work on my patience to make sweets so I can assemble a 100% from scratch house next time!