Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gingerbread House Cookies

Last Christmas I spotted these cookie cutters in the holiday section of my local grocery store. I had to have one. I couldn't wait to make mini houses and I love the simple genius and efficiency of this cutter. Even though it was only $5, I'm a cheapskate and I was on a tight budget last holiday season (who isn't) and was trying to be really good about impulse purchases. So I passed on them. Then a week or two past Christmas, I was browsing through the clearance bin of that same store and discovered there were 3 of these cutters left, priced 75% OFF. OK, that was it, I couldn't resist. I snatched them up. Then sat a waited, a whole year, to try the recipe, post it for all of you AND. . . give the two extra cutters away. Yep, two lucky readers can have one of these all for themselves. Wahoo. But first, check out how cute these little houses turned out. . .

For the cookie dough: Light brown sugar, molasses (if you're not used to the taste of molasses, go for the mild flavored.), cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, unsalted butter (at room temp.), an egg (beaten), vanilla, salt and AP flour. You also need to make a batch of Royal Icing.

In a large saucepan (use a large one, you see why later.) stir together the brown sugar, molases, cinnamon and ginger. Continue to stir over medium low heat and bring to a boil.

Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda.

And here is where it gets weird. The mixture will really fluff up (see why you needed that large pan) and turn light brown. I was kinda worried at this point but I kept going.

Stir in the butter, a couple of tablespoons at a time, stirring well until fully incorporated before adding more butter.

When all of the butter has been added, it will have deflated again and look like this.

Now add the beaten egg but temper it first. Add about 1/4 cup of the molasses mixture to the beaten egg and stir it in to bring the egg up to temperature. It helps if the egg is at room temperature to start. Then add this back into the pan and stir well.

Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the flour.

Turn dough out onto a well floured board, dust with more flour and knead until smooth and no longer sticky.

It should look something like this. At this point, I wrapped the dough tightly in plastic wrap and parked in the refrigerator for two days. I just didn't have enough time to bake. I would suggest you refrigerate the dough at least 2 hours before you bake but you don't necessarily need to go two whole days.

When you're ready to bake the cookies, set the oven at 325°F. Roll half the dough out on a well floured surface to 1/8 inch thick. Keep things pretty well floured so you don't get any sticking.

Cut out your shapes. This cutter made it so easy to make houses but you can used any cutter your like.

Lay the pieces out on a silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet. The cookies don't spread much so you can get them fairly close together, just not touching.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and let set on the cookie sheet another 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Now make a batch of Royal Icing and don't thin it out at all. You want it to be stiff. If you aren't making houses, you can divide and color the icing and use it to decorate whatever shapes you decided to make. 

If you are making houses, here's how they go together:

Using a pastry bag, pipe a generous amount of icing on the bottom of a back (no door) piece and set it on a base. Then more icing on one long and one short edge of a side piece. Press them together firmly. (I got these black cardboard rounds from the bakery at our local grocery store, then realized that I could have just cut 4 inch circles out of the dough and made cookie bases, I'm doing that for sure next time.)

Do the same to add the front (door cutout) and other side.

For the roof, put a generous amount of icing on the diagonal edges of the front and back and add the roof piece. Do the same for the other side. Don't skimp with the icing, it's your glue and helps to fill in where the cookie pieces aren't totally straight.

Now pipe some icing along the roof edge and add any details you like.
I kept it simple and just used icing to outline and add icicles. You could totally add candies and sprinkles using the icing as glue.

These turned out totes adorbs! For sure! I can't wait to make more.
As for the recipe. This is a pretty strong flavored gingerbread. If you like spicy cookies and molasses, you'll like this. It isn't too sweet, which is good because the royal icing adds plenty of sweetness. It bakes up firm enough to build 3D cookies but still has some give when you bite into it. If you want something a bit milder, try substituting honey for the molasses. 

Here's a link to the recipe: Gingerbread Cookies

And now the fun part. I'm giving away one of these house cutters to two lucky readers.
To enter, comment below and let me know your favorite recipe from this blog. Deadline to enter is 11:00pm pacific time on Friday December 13, 2013. I'll randomly draw 2 winners and post an update on Saturday. Good Luck!

Or, here's where you can buy the Gingerbread House Cookie Cutter on the "Good Cook" web site.


  1. These gingerbread houses look great. And, would you believe our (1 yr old) dog just ate one of our gingerbread creations?! My kids and I still look forward to your Zombie recipe :)

    1. Congrats RIchard. You're my only commenter and so you win a cookie cutter. Send me an email with your mailing address to beckybakesandcooks(at)gmail(dot)com
      Happy Holidays!

    2. Woo hoo! :) will do the email soon.

  2. hi , i will love to make these for my gals. Any chance you still have a spare cutter to sell me please ? I can't find this cutter at my country. Will be glad to pay for shipping and handling . thanks :)

  3. Oh how I wish you had emailed me just two weeks ago. I did have an extra but had a yard sale last week and sold it. Bummer.

    I see that they do have one at (but it is temporarily out of stock) see this link:

    I also see that they have it at Jo-Ann Fabrics online. See this link:

    If you cannot get shipping to your country via those sights let me know. If I see one at my local store I’ll let you know.
    Thanks for reading my blog.

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