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Make the holidays extra special with these adorable Mini Gingerbread Houses! Perfect for adding a touch of magic to the season. Use as mug toppers, creating an edible village, or giving away as gifts! Download the free template in this post to make them today!
The holidays are quickly approaching and that means baking season is upon us!
Bring out your bowls, whisks and spoons! Making gingerbread cookies and gingerbread houses has become a popular Christmas pastime for most households, including my own.
There's just something about gingerbread baking in the oven. The spicy aroma of cinnamon, ginger and cloves greets you and envelopes you with comfort.
It is also a creative way to get kids engaged with their family traditions and is a feast for the eyes.
So bust out the icing and the sprinkles and get ready to host a gingerbread house decorating party this Christmas!
These Mini Gingerbread Houses are the PERFECT addition to all that ginger fun!
A Fun DIY Holiday Cookie Idea
The best part about this recipe is, the gingerbread houses are made to fit on the edge of a mug!
I like to use these as fancy mug toppers for cocoa to dunk 'em and munch 'em and you can also wrap them and gift them in fun mugs to friends and family (a great add to Hot Chocolate Bombs)
Or, you can make a bunch of houses and display them as a tiny gingerbread village! No matter how you use your gingerbread house, both kids AND the adults will love this cute and creative holiday treat!
Perfect Gingerbread House Recipe
There is a lot to think about when searching for the perfect gingerbread cookie recipe as the foundation for your mini gingerbread houses.
You want the cookie to be soft, yet sturdy enough to work with to construct walls and a roof. You also want the recipe to be spicy, slightly chewy and rich with molasses.
These are all the reasons I especially love and recommend my recipe below as the foundation for these Mini Gingerbread Houses.
Be sure to also use my Famous Royal Icing recipe, which makes the perfect 'glue' to hold your houses together. Just be sure to make it on the thicker side (see video) to ensure it has enough stick to secure the pieces.
There are some tips to take into account when baking the cookies to ensure you bake that delicious batch of gingerbread every time:
- Be sure to use a well floured surface so the gingerbread house dough will be easier to work with and won't stick to your rolling pin or your countertop.
- You DO NOT want to overwork the gingerbread house dough. Try not to re roll too many times (2x max). This is a very important tip. When you overmix gingerbread house dough, or roll it out too much, it loses its tenderness and you won't have those desirable firm and crisp edges with a soft center. Of course, if you're planning on only using them for décor, you can roll them out a few more times.
- Gingerbread fares best when baked at a steady temp of 350°F which is the sweet spot for this beloved holiday treat. This is because the brown sugar and molasses are more delicate than refined white sugar and can burn faster and more easily in the oven.
- Before you add a mixture of candies and frosting to start decorating, make sure your houses cool completely after they bake. There's nothing worse than melted icing to ruin the look of your gingerbread house! Once the houses have fully cooled on a wire rack, you can go to town frosting and decorating!
Download My FREE Template to Get Started!
You can certainly buy a special cookie cutter to make these, but since I only do this once a year, I prefer to use my printable template.
It does take a bit of extra time to cut the sides of the houses manually, but it's a great alternative to having to buy a cookie cutter. And, you don't have to wait for shipping! You can make these today!
Using a cookie cutter like this one on Amazon will be extremely helpful if you're planning on making a bunch of these (more than 12).
Building the Houses
Once the cookies are completely cooled and the royal icing is made, you can get started building!
I find having a portable surface to build on is helpful (i.e. a cookie sheet, plate), so when it comes to setting your houses aside to dry, you don't have to physically handle them too much (which can cause them to fall apart).
Starting with front of the house, add a strip of icing onto each side.
Then, while continuing to hold it, set it on the surface standing upright. Attach the side pieces one at a time.
At this point, the house should stand up on it's own, but you still want to move quickly adding the backside of the house.
Add icing to the ends of the sides to attach the back piece. Once that's on, it will be fully stabilized.
Give it a gentle squeeze to ensure a tight bond.
Lastly, add the roof pieces.
Once the roof is secure, I like to add even more frosting to the middle seam for extra hold.
Yes, You Can Freeze Gingerbread
You can freeze undecorated, baked cookies from any gingerbread recipe for up to a month, so feel free to make these ahead of time to assemble the houses with icing later. I know that I always try to get a head start on my holiday baking for a stress-free holiday season.
Simply defrost for an hour or so and you're good to start piping icing!
Or, you can freeze half the dough from this recipe if you don't want to bake them all at once. Store in a plastic zip lock bag before freezing.
When you're ready to finish baking the cookies, let the dough thaw in the fridge overnight.
Time to Decorate Your Mini Gingerbread House
Now that you've successfully baked your mini gingerbread, it's time to put all the pieces together with icing!
To decorate gingerbread houses, anything goes. Get the kids to be creative and decorate the houses with a mixture of candies and cool shapes!
Use licorice, candy buttons, gumdrops, sprinkles, Necco's candy, Jordan almonds, candy canes, M&M's- the choice combinations to decorate are endless. Colorful candy with different shapes will make a big impact here and add a ton of dimension to the houses.
My one tip is to ensure to use mini candies wherever possible. Because the houses are small, it's more proportionate to use mini candies.
You can also use powdered sugar to mimic the look of snow on the roof or a splash of sprinkles to cover the whole roof area.
Just be sure that you pipe icing along the whole roof before you place the sprinkles on top so they stick in place.
Whether you're making one mini gingerbread house, four houses, twenty, or a gingerbread village, have fun with the magic of Christmas and what you can create with friends and family. When serving, simply place each gingerbread house on mugs filled with hot cocoa and enjoy. Good enough to eat!
For an extra special touch...
As mentioned, a popular use for these mini gingerbread houses is mug toppers!
I like to coat the edges of the mug in melted chocolate and dip in mini dehydrated marshmallows for an extra festive look!
Adorn with a candy cane stirrer and you're ready for a cozy night in!
Before You Go, How's Your Holiday Cookie Game Lookin'?
To get your printable template for the mini gingerbread house and the mug size gingerbread house topper, all you have to do is sign up with your email address.
While you're there, check out my Cookie Transfermation Course. If you've ever dreamed of making perfect cutout sugar cookies, but don't have patience for flooding and piping the icing, look no further.
When you sign up, you will receive exclusive access to video, recipe and printout content, including all my tips and tricks to make jaw-dropping, mouthwatering cookies for your holiday table or next event.
I've stripped it down and transformed the process so you can bake and create the cookies of your dreams in half the time without the stress and the mess.
It's a simple 3-step process that I created and I guarantee it will give you perfect cookies every time. After just a few videos, you'll be serving bakery-quality cookies to your guests in no time!
For the Gingerbread Cookies
- ½ pound of unsalted butter (or 2 sticks), softened at room temp
- 1 ¼ cup brown sugar (tastes great using light or dark)
- Zest of ½ an orange
- 2 eggs, room temp
- 1 cup molasses
- 6 ¼ c all purpose flour (+ additional for rolling)
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground clove
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
1 Batch of My Famous Royal Icing
Making the Dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Next add in the zest and combine with the butter mixture for 15-30 seconds.
- With the mixer on low speed, mix in 1 egg at a time, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Mix on medium speed for 30 seconds to ensure the eggs are completely incorporated.
- With the mixer back on low speed, drizzle in the molasses.
- Pause to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after all the molasses has been added. Mix again until incorporated.
- In a separate large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients; flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine.
- With the mixer on low speed, begin to add the dry ingredients in small amounts. When you see the wet mixture start to build up on the paddle, pause and scrape everything down using a spatula. This will help the mixture to combine evenly and avoid overworking the dough.
- Continue to add the flour mixture in batches, pausing to scrape the bowl along the way until all of it is combined. As soon as the last of the flour has absorbed, stop mixing.
- Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and bring it together into one large dough ball.
- Chill for 2 hours up to overnight (if chilling overnight, let sit for at least 1 hour before moving onto rolling).
Cutting the Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Prepare a surface with a dusting of flour.
- Take a portion of the dough and place onto the surface.
- Roll the dough to ¼ inch thickness (I like to use the best rolling pin for this)
- Using your cut out templates or a mini gingerbread house cookie cutter, cut out the pieces.
- Remember, if using the templates, you'll need 2 of each piece (6 pieces total for 1 house).
- Place pieces onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for about 10 minutes until puffed and golden.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool on the tray.
- Fully cool before moving onto assembling and decorating.
Assembling the Houses
- Once the cookies are completely cooled and the royal icing is made, you can get started building!
- I find having a portable surface to build on is helpful (i.e. a cookie sheet, plate), so when it comes to setting your houses aside to dry, you don't have to physically handle them too much (which can cause them to fall apart).
- Starting with front of the house, add a strip of icing onto each side.
- Then, while continuing to hold it, set it on the surface standing upright. Attach the side pieces one at a time.
- At this point, the house should stand up on it's own, but you still want to move quickly adding the backside of the house.
- Add icing to the ends of the sides to attach the back piece. Once that's on, it will be fully stabilized.
- Give it a gentle squeeze to ensure a tight bond.
- Lastly, add the roof pieces.
- Once the roof is secure, I like to add even more frosting to the middle seam for extra hold.
Decorate as desired and allow to dry for 2 hours or overnight before handling.
Recipe by Owlbbaking.com, adapted from New York Times Cooking
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Chill Time: 2 hrs
- Cook Time: 10 min
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: mini gingerbread houses, gingerbread house, christmas cookies, mug toppers, gingerbread village