Built Teacup Gingerbread Houses (356/366)

356GBreadTop“The structure used 14,250 lbs. of gingerbread, cemented into place with 4,750 lbs. of icing, and one ton of candy.”
Guinness World Records, on the World’s Largest Gingerbread House

In 2006, Roger A. Pelcher built a 36,600 ft-square gingerbread house at the Mall of America in Minnesota. The house was 60 ft. tall, a bit over 45 ft. long, and about 35 ft. wide (you can see pics of it at SuperSizedMeals.com). Insanity!

Well, not that I was going for the record of World’s Smallest Gingerbread House or anything, but when I saw these tiny cookie creations (from awesome Polish website CakeTime) that are designed to perch on the edge of your mug of hot cocoa (or Hot Buttered Rum!), I just had to build some.

I started out by making the dough; this recipe uses honey instead of molasses, which gives the gingerbread a wonderful, delicate flavor, and beautiful, lighter color – molasses can sometimes be overpowering in flavor, and it’s dark (which is why most gingerbreads are that deep brown color) – using honey instead lets you see the spices in these pretty cookies.
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I rolled the dough out to about a 1/8-inch thickness and then used CakeTime’s template (thank you, CakeTime!) to cut out my little house pieces (I rolled my dough out on my silicone baking mat, and used a thin pie server as a knife so as not to cut the mat).   For the doorways, I took a page from another website I found that had also created mini gingerbread houses (NotMartha.org – thanks, Megan!) and used a clean mini screwdriver to help make my cuts.
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It took a while, but I got all my pieces cut.  The trick with these is to cut everything and then remove the outer dough instead of trying to move the pieces themselves (hence the use of the silicone mat to roll, cut, and bake directly on).

All set, and into the oven!  These bake in only about five minutes.  I hate waiting for cookies to bake, so these tiny guys are awesome!
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After the pieces cooled, I began constructing my houses.  I used a recipe for royal icing from FoodTV.com (an Alton one, of course), and used a quart-sized freezer bag with a tiny corner cut off for piping.  Because royal icing dries pretty quickly, and dries hard, you really should use the piping method.  I tried building my first house just spreading what was left on the rubber spatula I used for mixing, and that didn’t work well at all.  You need to be able to pipe, and then stick your cookies together almost immediately after.
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After getting the house framework frosted together, I let it set for a few minutes, just resting on its face (the joins are a bit fragile until they dry).  Once they were set enough for me to put them upright, I attached the roofs.  Depending on the thickness of the dough, the spot where the roof pieces join may leave a pretty big seam.  Here’s where the decorating creativity begins – you just fill that little valley with some more icing.

So cute!  Now, you just decorate to your heart’s desire!  You can make more icing or divide up what you have left and add food coloring to different batches, you can add candy embellishments, you can make these as detailed or as plain as you want.  I went mostly clean and simple.  I really loved seeing the spices in the cookies!
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These are adorable!  A perfect little treat to add to any mug or cup!

This is a really cute, simple, fun little cookie project.  I only used half the dough recipe and was able to make 15 houses, with dough still left over (you can probably get a total of 20-25 houses out of half a recipe of dough, depending on how thin you roll your dough – just remember they’re more delicate the thinner they are).  I also only made half a batch of the royal icing since I knew I wasn’t working with a full batch of cookies.

One tip I also got from the NotMartha website is to check that your doorways are big enough to fit on your mugs *after* they’ve been baked since the cookies will spread a bit in the oven.  NotMartha made a prototype of one complete house first and adjusted accordingly, sometimes cutting the doorways a bit bigger when the cookies had just come out of the oven.  Since I didn’t have enough time to make a prototype house, I just went ahead and enlarged the doorways after my cookies came out of the oven. If you make these magical mini houses, be sure to double check the thickness of the cups you intent to put them on, and adjust your door sizes after baking accordingly.  While this project is not that difficult, and is a lot of fun, there is some work involved – and it would be such a bummer if after making all these adorable houses you found they didn’t fit on your mugs.

All that being said, I really enjoyed this – and the cookie houses are DELICIOUS!  I still have the other half of the dough in the fridge – I can’t wait to make more of these!

Related Links:
Mini Gingerbread Houses from CakeTime.com
A Tiny Gingerbread House from NotMartha.com
Made Hot Buttered Rum Batter (354/366)
Silicone Baking Mat Set (2 pk.) Non Stick Surface

One Response to “Built Teacup Gingerbread Houses (356/366)”
  1. Ying says:

    These are so adorable…and tasty!

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