The after school gingerbread project: rolling & baking

Yesterday’s project was all about sifting and stirring; today is about snipping and sizing. It’s both a craft project and a baking project, so you’ll need scissors and a rolling pin.

Once again, Noah and Mateo are your hosts for this step, and they begin with cutting out the template for the gingerbread house pieces.

The after school gingerbread project: 5 simple steps. 2 happy kids. 1 edible house. www.simplebites.net

Print the Template.

My good friend Marian of Sweetopia has created a handy – and exceedingly adorable –  gingerbread house template (that is, the pattern we will be using for the house. The building plans!) It is free for you to download and print right HERE, so I suggest you get right on that!

Marian also has some very cute ideas for decorating gingerbread houses and a great video tutorial, so you might want to go ahead and bookmark that page for future reference.

The after school gingerbread project: 5 simple steps. 2 happy kids. 1 edible house. www.simplebites.net

It’s a good idea to print two copies of the gingerbread house template, in case you accidentally have a scissor slip. It happens.

Once you have printed your template, find a sharp pair of scissors and get to work cutting out the pieces.

TIP: While you are working on the template, remove the dough you made yesterday from the refrigerator and let it approach room temperature. There will be less cracking of the shapes and the dough will be easier to roll.

The after school gingerbread project: 5 simple steps. 2 happy kids. 1 edible house. www.simplebites.net

Roll the Dough

TIP: Generously flouring the counter and rolling pin makes this step much easier.

Working with one round of dough at a time, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. It will be thin and delicate, but it will bake up nice and crisp, perfectly sturdy for the walls and roof of your house.

The after school gingerbread project: 5 simple steps. 2 happy kids. 1 edible house. www.simplebites.net

Begin in the center of the dough and roll outwards, moving clock-wise around the disc of gingerbread dough. Don’t worry if it tears; just patch it back together and keep going.

The after school gingerbread project: 5 simple steps. 2 happy kids. 1 edible house. www.simplebites.net

Cut the Pieces

Once the dough is rolled out, you are ready to cut the pieces of your gingerbread house. This takes a bit of teamwork. One person should hold the template piece firmly on the gingerbread, while the other person cuts around it.

TIP: Use a pastry bench scraper to cut the dough if you are not quite old enough to use a big knife.

The after school gingerbread project: 5 simple steps. 2 happy kids. 1 edible house. www.simplebites.net

Keep working until you have all the pieces cut out. You will need to use two rounds of dough, and maybe more.

Use a large spatula to carefully transfer the pieces from the counter to the baking tray. If you have any “oops”, just push the cracks together. They will bake back together in the oven.

Tip: Remember, you can always re-roll the scraps of dough and cut new pieces if any get mangled in the move.

The after school gingerbread project: 5 simple steps. 2 happy kids. 1 edible house. www.simplebites.net

Here are all the pieces, cut out and on a baking sheet. We used one really big tray, but you will probably need two regular sized baking sheets.

The after school gingerbread project: 5 simple steps. 2 happy kids. 1 edible house. www.simplebites.net

See how they are not perfect? That is totally okay. Those cracks will smooth out, and once the house is decorated? No one will know the difference. I promise.

Baking

Preheat oven to 350F. Always make sure the oven is up to temperature before baking.

Tip: Because gingerbread have a lot of molasses in them that caramelizes, they are susceptible to burning quickly, so keep an eye on them!

Bake gingerbread on the center rack of your oven for 9 to 12 minutes, or until the shapes are slightly darker around the edges.

The after school gingerbread project: 5 simple steps. 2 happy kids. 1 edible house. www.simplebites.net

Remove the gingerbread house shapes from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet. With a thin spatula, transfer the shapes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store the pieces of your gingerbread house in an airtight container until you are ready to assemble the house. That is coming up tomorrow. Are you excited yet?

Coming Up:

Introduction to the project.
Day 1: List of ingredients and equipment.
Day 2: Make and chill the dough.
Day 3: Cut and bake the pieces.
Day 4: Prepare Royal Icing + assemble the base.
Day 5: Decorate!

How is it going so far? Having fun? Are you barely keeping up or raring to keep going?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. I’m just catching up on my reading for the week – this is such a sweet project! Also, the boys are adorable… It makes miss those ages. 🙂

  2. Love this project and the great tips! Can’t wait to see the finished product! 🙂

  3. Such a sweet project with the little ones.

    • It is, Ash, and one that I remember *always* wanting to do as a child, but for one reason or another, we never did. I guess I’m making up for lost time now. 😉

  4. This is such a fun series Aimee! You know, I have never made a gingerbread house with the kids. I should hang my head in shame. This is the year – you are making it too easy with all these fantastic posts! My kids will thank you!

  5. La Torontoise says

    Aimee, thank you so much for the templates and the pointers to your friends’ site!
    We live and work in North Europe now, in a town near Germany, where gingerbread-house-making has a tradition similar to the one in Canada (my warmest memories from my work in Toronto was the pre-Christmas time when there was a gingerbread house competition in the office and tens of houses were presented each with its own history and decoration style).
    In Germany, the local supermarkets sell special kits with pre-baked house elements and decoration tools for kids to assemble the house. Each year we buy a kit to our little boy who developed this (the house-assembling) as his very own ritual at advent time. We have one this year too, but now reading your project experiences both I and my son, we are feeling very enthusiastic making a house from scratch and, in fact, executing the project by using your blueprint. It all sounds so exciting!! We are looking forward to hearing more from your kitchen.
    Success!!

  6. This is really an amazing activity to keep children busy in summer vacations and they learned something new as well.

  7. hi aimee,
    if i make a batch of the dough how many gingerbread houses can i make with this template??
    thanks!! love your blog!!

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