Impressive Gingerbread Houses and No-Bake Cookie Cottages That Anyone Can Make
A quintessential holiday tradition, gingerbread houses are charming and whimsical fantasy lands come to life. Whether you invite friends over to decorate together, or take a solo approach and tap into your inner artist, the result will be a lovely centerpiece (not to mention conversation piece) you can display for the entire holiday season.
Some of the houses you'll see ahead are easy enough to assemble in less than an hour, such as graham-cracker cottages that don't even require turning on the oven. With wafers, gummy rings, striped gum, gumdrops, lollipops, shredded coconut, and other store-bought goodies, you can easily transform these humble cookies into the cutest little homes, replete with wreaths, landscaping, and other mini features, such as sleds and snowmen.
Other houses are made completely from scratch, like the Gingercake House shown here. That may sound daunting, but it's entirely manageable if you break the process into steps and spread them out over the course of a few days. To make a Swedish Gingerbread House, for instance, you can make the dough one day; and roll, cut and bake the walls, roof, and other details the next. The following day, use a caramel syrup as "glue" to assemble the house; and finally, when it's set, decorate until your heart's content.
A few tips: If you're constructing the house from scratch, take your time and try to be as patient as you can between steps. Follow the templates as closely as you can to ensure the house will stand firmly. And don't worry if you make a mistake—chances are, you can easily cover it up with some icing or a whimsical decoration.
This well-appointed A-frame flips the script on traditional gingerbread houses, with a rustic-chic exterior (courtesy of a faux-bois roof and pretzel-log walls) and a cozy interior complete with a "stone" fireplace.
Like all of our no-bake cookie cottages, this charming house starts with graham cracker construction. Use a serrated knife to saw a graham cracker into two squares. Saw the top corners off of another cracker to create a peaked roof. Repeat. Then pipe royal icing onto the bottom and straight edges of a peaked piece. Place on an upside-down paper plate; use a small object, such as a spice jar, to prop it up. Repeat to pipe icing onto edges of a square piece, and adhere it to peaked cracker. Remove the spice jar, and adhere other pieces with icing. To make the roof, saw a cracker into two squares. If desired, spread icing onto roof pieces and decorate with candy; let dry. Pipe icing onto top edges of house, and adhere roof pieces. To display, place the plate on a tray and cover with shredded coconut snow.
The cottage is studded with cinnamon candies, has a sour-belt roof, a heart-shape candy-cane window, and a graham cracker door. Letters destined for the North Pole are hidden inside a mailbox created with a swirl candy, a piece of a candy cane, and a gumdrop; the flag is cut from a stick of gum. There's also graham-cracker-and-mini-candy-cane sled and a peppermint-ball snowman. To make the snowman. slice off the top and bottom of a white gumdrop, and press it onto a soft swirl candy; use a piece of red gumdrop for a hat and two nonpareils for eyes.
Swedish Gingerbread House
Sweet details such as piped icicles, boughs of greenery, and a cinnamon-stick woodpile lend realistic charm to a Swedish-style gingerbread cottage. A light dusting of confectioners' sugar mimics freshly fallen snow.
Candy Land Cottage
Construct a basic no-bake cookie cottage using graham crackers, and add details such as a wafer-candy roof and icicles made of royal icing. The wreaths are gummy rings with chewing-gum ribbons cut with scissors. The landscaping includes striped-gum paths, gumdrop shrubs, and a lollipop topiary. The snow is a mix of shredded and desiccated coconut.
Gingerbread House Façade
You've probably made gingerbread houses in all shapes and sizes through the years, but have you ever considered creating one that looks like your own house? Use a photograph of your home as inspiration for your gingerbread facade then craft it using this recipe. Not only will it be unique but crafting a facade rather than a 3D house is a quicker route to gingerbread creation.
A bright gummy bird and chubby marshmallow snowman greet visitors to this thatched abode. The cottage is made using our basic no-bake cookie cottage. To create the look of freshly fallen snow, we used frosted-wheat cereal for the roof, yogurt-covered pretzels for the fence, and nougat candy for the walkway. The double doors are graham cracker sticks with knobs made from mini candy-coated chocolates. The nose of the snowman is a cone cut from an orange spice drop and gently rolled; his hat is a piece of black gumdrop, and his eyes are sprinkles pressed into pinpricked holes. Assemble his feathered friend with a gummy fruit slice, a spice drop, a mini candy-coated chocolate, and sprinkles.
Built in the English Tudor tradition, this cottage boasts a stucco royal-icing exterior, pretzel-stick timbers, and a dark-brown roof and door made with chocolate graham crackers. Underneath it's charming décor, this cottage also starts as a no-bake cottage made from graham crackers. Hazelnut rolled-wafer logs are heaped against one wall. Alphabet pasta spells out "welcome" on the graham cracker mat, and pasta numbers embellish the door, which has a pretzel knob. The fence—pretzel sticks glued together with icing—stands up when buried in drifts of coconut snow.
Woodsy Hideaway Cottage
Nestled in a sugar-cone forest, this cozy coffee-and-cream-colored abode is another of our no-bake cookie cottages, made from graham crackers and royal icing. It has almond slices for roof shingles and a roasted pumpkin seed in its shell for an attic window. There's a fire burning inside, thanks to a pile of cinnamon-stick logs and a chimney made from a stack of caramels behind the house. It's a chilly night, so hurry up the sesame-bar path, grab the jelly bean doorknob, and come in and warm up!
In this quaint town, all the houses are made from graham crackers and frosting and feature roofs tiled with yellow and blue candy-coated chocolates and green mint lentils. Windows are made with pillow mints, nonpareils, and wafers; bits of chewing gum are used for shutters and doors, which are dotted with tiny mint knobs. Jelly beans form the pebble paths.
Streetlights—striped candy sticks poked into gumdrops and topped with a mini gumdrop or candy-coated chocolate—ensure Santa Claus will find his way to this hamlet. Arrange the cottages on a "snowy" tray for a festive window display or holiday centerpiece.
Gingerbread Town-Square Cake
Truly impressive, this gingerbread town square has panels of two different kinds of decorated gingerbread cookies that wrap around a moist, slightly sweet sponge cake known as genoise that is layered with walnut meringue and gingerbread buttercream. This creation is definitely worthy of being on display all month long.