Paige’s Kitchen Holiday Special Edition: Gingerbread Houses

TV20's Paige Beck and Chef Billie Denunzio share tips and suggestions for your Gingerbread House
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 2:38 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The annual Build A House For The House fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House North Central Florida is Friday, Nov. 9. at the Hilton in Gainesville. TV20 is a proud sponsor of the event once again this year.

If you are taking part in the festivities or just building a house on your own Chef Billie Denunzio joins me on Paige’s Kitchen with some “must-see” inspiration.

We have added an additional video to this episode to help you get the most out of your gingerbread house experience this year. Enjoy!

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Chef Billie Denunzio joins TV20's Paige Beck on Paige's Kitchen with some "must-see" gingerbread house inspiration

Tips and suggestions for your Gingerbread House

Gingerbread goes back many centuries and features many countries with good reason – it is the perfect medium for one of our favorite holiday traditions – the gingerbread house!

How to hold the house together

Depends on whether you want the gingerbread house to be edible or purely decorative.

For decorative these two options are sturdy:

  1. Glue gun
  2. Straight pins on all the corners going through two layers of gingerbread. I like the long pins with colorful heads so you can tell where they are.

For edible these two options are available:

  1. Use frosting. Royal icing made with confectionary sugar, egg whites and vanilla
  2. Use melted sugar (place ½ cup sugar in heavy pot, place over medium heat, stirring often until the sugar melts and liquefies - about 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully dip the gingerbread edges and glue together.)

Decide on the design for your gingerbread house

Think ahead ~ How much space will you have to display the house and is it safely out of the way of children and animals?

Gingerbread creations do not have to be just houses. Think outside the box. It can be a farm a train or even rocket ship.

Assemble all your supplies before the gingerbread house decorating begins.

A muffin tin works perfectly as well as a toolbox.

Protect the frosting for your gingerbread house.

The royal icing hardens quickly so keep a moist kitchen towel over the bowl that holds the frosting as you work on the house.

Cut a sturdy base for your gingerbread house.

For the least expensive way, just cut out a thick cardboard base to put under the area where the house will sit. A foam board or piece of Styrofoam is great because you can stick things like trees in the material.

Decorate the pieces first

It is much easier to decorate the sides then assemble if you have time, allow it to set. You can assemble the house first but it is awkward to decorate.

The roof area is easier to decorate after assembly.

When assembling the house, start with the seams.

A gingerbread house needs to sit in position as you add the decorative parts to it. Start with the seams and let the icing harden in place. Glasses or cans of food will help to hold the pieces upright as they harden

Untidy seams can be hidden later with more icing in the form or icicles or by adding extra candy over them. Be sure to build the roof totally before you decorate it.

What if my sides aren’t straight?

A microplane grater will file down the edges evenly and smoothly. Just sand the edges with the grater until they are nice and smooth.

Take plenty of time when decorating gingerbread houses

Making gingerbread houses takes time and patience. A good gingerbread house cannot be made in just a few minutes.

Don’t be limited by your gingerbread house kit.

A basic gingerbread kit will give you everything you need to make a house. But again think outside the box….you want to hear a WOW when people see it.

Some ideas:

  • Pretzels – These can give your gingerbread house design a log cabin look.
  • Striped gum – Change the look of your gingerbread house with pastel colored “shingles” with these sticks.
  • Ribbon candy – Stick these together to form unique striped Christmas trees to stand near your house.
  • Candy canes – Make great porch supports and front door decorations.
  • Mini marshmallows – These little pieces can be used in any number of ways to resemble snow.

Add some lighting to your gingerbread house

There are many VERY SMALL lighting stings that fix inside the house to make it look like there are lights on. The lights can also go on the outside of the house or on a tree to add a new element.

Making fallen snow

Add the look of freshly fallen snow by using a small sieve to sprinkle the house with confectioner’s sugar.

How to make icicles for a gingerbread house.

Icicles give a delicate look to the roof area. Use a number 1,2, or 3 tips (this looks like a small circle tip) and pull the icing off the edges of the house. icing to add icicles to the edge of the eaves.

Ice Cream cone fir trees

A star tip and stiff green icing piped over waffle cones make edible trees that are a delight to see and eat!

Another way to make cone trees is to add icing over them and roll in sprinkles.

Find a safe spot for the finished gingerbread house.

HAVE FUN and enjoyed the candy as you go!

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