Happy National Gingerbread Cookie Day! This is not to be confused with National Gingerbread Day, June 1st, or National Gingerbread House Day, December 12th. I was so happy to work on a piece for this day, after I saw these mini mug gingerbread houses on several high-end kitchen supply sites. I had to have them. But they were $5 a piece! Since we’re in a pandemic, I have time to make them myself with my favorite gingerbread man cookie recipe. These are a great activity for kids and family to decorate too.
With some trial and error, I learned how to do these myself without special tools. If you want to make a few dozen of these for gifts, you may want to purchase a specialty cookie cutter set. However, I think the gingerbread house cookie cutters all make cookies that are too big to sit on a mug.
Gingerbread dough can be tricky with this project, because it is so sticky. I quickly learned it was pointless to roll out gingerbread dough, as if I was cutting traditional gingerbread men. It softens up too quickly to keep its shape from the cutting board to the baking sheet. So instead, I formed the dough into a log and worked with pieces the size of large cookies. This project works well with any cookie dough that can be refrigerated and sliced. I’ve included a gingerbread and sugar cookie recipe at the bottom.
The template can be found here. It should print on one 8 X 11 sheet of paper.
Make either of the below recipes for cookies, or use your favorite refrigerated cookie dough.
Form your dough into a 2” – 3” wide cookie log and wrap in plastic wrap.
Freeze the dough for a hour.
Practice cutting, baking, and constructing a few houses at first, to make sure the house pieces are not too thin or thick.
Slice the dough into ¼” thick slices. Make only slice two pieces at a time. Layout the cut house pieces onto the dough. Carefully cut out pieces. I have found it easier to cut with a sharp flat edged knife across the whole cookie slice, to prevent pulling the dough out of shape.
Cut the door out of every house frame after you have removed the template. Don’t worry about the dough pulling out of shape. You will probably need to recut the cookie after it is cooked.
Place all cookies on parchment paper and cook for no more than five minutes. Normal cookie baking times don’t apply on these, since they are so small. If they haven’t turned golden on the edges, cook in two minute intervals until done.
Repeat cutting and baking house pieces until your have as many as you want. Remember each house has 6 pieces.
If needed, retrim the door frames. Also cut straight edges on the side pieces. This will make construction easier. Allow cookies to completely cool. If you aren’t ready to build and decorate, you can store in an airtight container and refrigerate.
To build houses, use Royal Icing (recipe below) or store-bought cookie icing. Place one house frame front side down. Squeeze frosting on the edges and stick the sides on. Repeat with all the houses. Let the piece sit for at least 15 minutes to a solid set, then attach the other house front.
Let the houses set for another 15 minutes. Then gently squeeze frosting onto the arches of the houses and attached the roof pieces.
Allow the icing to dry and harden for an hour before decorating. Decorate with small decorating tips, colored cookie icing, sprinkles or anything!
Use leftover dough to make cookies, so people don’t eat your gingerbread houses right away! Cookies can bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Gingerbread Cookie Dough
2 1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter – room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup dark molasses
Mix together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves and salt. Beat the butter, brown sugar, molasses and egg.
Beat together sugar, butter and egg.
Mix fry ingredients into butter mixture.
Sugar Cookie Dough
2 ¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter – room temp
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg – room temp
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract – optional
Mix together dry ingredients. Beat together sugar, butter and egg. Mix fry ingredients into butter mixture.
Royal Icing for Building Houses:
1 egg white (can use equivalent measurement of pasteurized egg whites)
2 cups of powdered sugar
Icing for Decorating:
2 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ tablespoons light corn syrup
2-3 tablespoons milk
food coloring (optional)
Mix all ingredients except food coloring together. Divide if creating many colors. Add food coloring to each section until desired color is achieved.