Trick or treat, the crypt keeper wants his gingerbread house back, straight out of a delicious spiced graveyard. So readers beware, you’re in for a scare with this Halloween twist on a festive classic.
Taking the popularity of the festive gingerbread house, I wanted to give it a slighter darker and minimal (yet still beautiful) appearance by reimagining it in a different setting. With mausoleum vibes and gothic influences, this Halloween Gingerbread House should become a new tradition each spooky season. After all, do we really need more excuses to eat gingerbread…
Firstly, you’ll need a printer to download and print out a template HERE. Once printed, I found it best to trace the template onto pieces of greaseproof paper. This is because regular paper may stick to the rolled out dough and not pull away cleanly once shapes are cut out. Greaseproof paper comes away like a dream.
Other than your regular baking equipment, you’ll also need a baking tray, rolling pin, sharp knife and lots more greaseproof paper. To decorate you’ll need piping bags and tips or squeezy bottles with small nozzles and perhaps a paint brush and ruler to pre-draw designs on the baked dough (See my example photo below).
If you do an image search online, there are plenty of Halloween themed gingerbread houses to offer inspiration. You can use different coloured icings, chocolates and lollies to create your haunted or sweet treat fantasy. You could incorporate skeletons, ghosts, bats, pumpkins, cobwebs, spooky trees and of course, the undead.
For my design, I really wanted to go minimal and more graphical. I tossed up the idea of creating a witches house, much like the gingerbread house that Hansel and Gretel visited covered in candy. However I decided to keep the colour palette in brown, black and white. This had me looking at different design elements of Gothic and Victorian architecture and then came back to a boxed mausoleum concept. This was perfect, because I wanted to make little gingerbread grave stones and set my Halloween gingerbread house in a cemetery. My decorations were very minimal too, using only black and white royal icing to create the exterior patterns, a rickerty roof made of licorice ribbons and feature roof spikes using black chocolate melts. When it came to styling my gingerbread house, I found some lifesaver lollies in my pantry and felt they’d make some neat paver stones leading up to the front door. Easy and simple.
Some gingerbread house designs require or include a base piece, however I prefer to leave this out and directly adhere my house structure to my display or serving board with white royal icing.
When it comes to decorating, make sure you draw your design on your panels of gingerbread while they’re flat, so before it’s constructed. This will make it easier to ice any kind of intricate design. Before icing I also drew on my design using a brush and water with a small amount of black colour gel in it. This allowed me to follow over easily when piping the royal icing.
When You’re ready to start piecing your house together, I use a technique much like building a house of cards. I start by applying a generous amount of white royal icing to the bottoms and adjoining edges of the front and side panels. Having the font panel on the outer edge, I hold these panels together and balance them as straight as possible until they’re semi firm enough to move my hands away. You can use other household items (Eg. can or jar) to gently keep panels upright while you prep the other pieces. Continue making your way around the house, until all 4 wall panels are in place. For the roof, again apply a generous amount of royal icing to the top edges of the walls, place roof panels centered on top, manoeuvre and hold in place until semi set (you can use household items again to help keep them in place until set).
For my roof design I cut up flat licorice ribbons to resemble roof tiles, then used black royal icing to set them in place. To finish the look I wanted to add spikes to the top centre of the gingerbread house. So I drew up a design on paper and taped greaseproof paper over top. I then gently melted black chocolate in a bowl over a pot of boiling water, until smooth. I then piped this over the design and placed it in the fridge to set.
For this recipe, I didn’t want to recreate the wheel. So thank you Chelsea for providing me with the recipe below.
Download Halloween Gingerbread House template HERE.
- 3 ½ Cups Flour (525g)
- ½ Tbsp Baking Powder
- 2 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1 tsp Mixed Spice
- ¼ tsp Cardamon
- 125g Butter
- 1 Cup White Sugar (225g)
- ½ Cup Golden Syrup (180g)
- ½ Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 Egg, whisked with a fork
- 1 Egg White
- 2 ½ – 3 Cups Icing Sugar (375g – 450g)
- 1-2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- Black Colour Gel
- Mixed lollies, or sprinkles for decoration
- Licorice Ribbons for roof
- Chocolate Melts (Optional)
Print out the Gingerbread House Template and cut out. It is best to transfer the template to baking paper as normal paper can stick to the dough.
Preheat oven to 170°C bake.
Sift Flour, Baking Powder, ginger, mixed spice and cardamom into a large bowl.
In a large saucepan, stir Butter, White Sugar and Golden Syrup over a medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and leave to cool for 15 minutes.
Mix in lemon juice and egg. Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients and work into a soft pliable dough (add a few tablespoons of warm water if needed).
Divide mixture into four or five pieces and roll out each piece of dough between 2 sheets of baking paper to a thickness of about 5mm. Remove the top layer of paper. Using the template provided, cut out 2 sides, 2 ends, 2 roof panels
When cutting out the gingerbread, the dough will retain its shape better if you remove the surrounding excess dough and leave the cut out template piece on the baking paper, then transfer directly to a baking tray.
Bake pieces for 10-12 minutes, or until golden and set. Allow to cool and harden.
Make icing by whisking egg white in a bowl with a fork until frothy. Add Icing Sugar and lemon juice and mix to a thick white paste, adjusting quantities of icing sugar and lemon juice as required. Divide icing across 2 bowls, leave one white, and mix the black colour gel through the second until smooth. Transfer each colour to a piping bag fitted with a small round piping tip or squeezy bottle with a small nozzle.
Use the icing to pipe decorations on the sides, creating doors and windows. Add any sprinkles as you go (save heavier lollies to attach later).
Assemble the house directly on your display board and attach the sides and ends with royal icing. Hold each piece for a few minutes until dry and set in place.
For extra structural support, pipe a thick layer of icing along the inside of each roof piece, where the roof will rest on the sides of the house. These act as ledges, to help hold the roof up. Allow the 'ledges' to dry completely, then attach the roof with extra icing.
Decorate the roof while flat (I used the licorice ribbons), then place on top of the 4 walls. Now that the house is nice and stable, attach any heavier lollies or roof details. Cover any joins in the house with icing to tidy anything up.
Finally decorate your grave stones and use more royal icing to stick them to your display board. Now you’re ready for the spooky season. Trick or treat!