I had never made a gingerbread house before, so this was a pretty scary project, but I love how it turned out! I modeled it after a Brooklyn store front and used some of my old theater model making skills to put it together. This shape is particularly easy because it’s just a big decorative box, so you could make it any size you want. I used a recipe on Epicurious for the cookie and royal icing. I first made and chilled 1 full recipe divided into 5 pieces the night before.
I cut stencils out of a hard paper board. I had 1 front, 1 back, 2 sides, 1 roof, 6 window mouldings, 2 doors, 2 door mouldings, 9 moulding brackets, 2 crown moulding pieces and 3 roof mouldings.
I rolled 1 disc of dough at a time between a silpat baking sheet and plastic wrap until a little less than 1/4 inch thick. I worked on one wall at time, leaving the other dough in the fridge until I was ready to work with it.
I peeled away the plastic and laid my stencil on top. I gently cut around the stencil with a dull knife, making sure I didn't damage my silpat.
I carefully pulled away the extra dough and used the edge of a clean ruler and the back of a knife to score a brick pattern.
I also used a knife to make a faux chipping plaster effect. I chilled each wall in the freezer for a of couple minutes before baking so they held their shape better in the oven.
I cooled each piece completely while I rolled out and cut the next piece. I cooled everything completely before I started decorating the following day.
I used the last disc to cut all of the smaller detail pieces and then used a straw to punch little holes in my decorative brackets.
When my walls were cool, I placed the front wall back on the silpat. I boiled 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups light corn syrup without stirring until it reached hard crack temp on a candy thermometer.
I immediately spooned the hot candy into the windows and let set completely before moving.
I printed an old sign onto card stock and cut away the lettering with an Exacto blade. I then used a brush loaded with powdered sugar to stencil the remnants of a sign on the side of the building.
I glued on the mouldings and did some of the detail work with the royal icing before assembling the building. Most recipes don't suggest this, but I work better with everything on a flat surface.
I used a cheese platter as my base, and 2 pieces of card board glued with icing so I had something to mount the walls to.
First I put up a side wall and held it in place until the icing set a bit. Then I piped icing on the edge of the side wall and onto the base so I could stick on the front of the building. I then glued the door to the back side of the front wall so it looked inset in the wall.
I then glued on the other side wall and held until set.
I applied the back wall, also with the door glued on the back side and finished off with the roof.
I glued the top of the crown moulding on top of the brackets that were already completely dried and structural.
I used three thin rectangles around the top of the roof so I could create a little overhand. I then piled up the icing on top, letting some drip over the edge like icicles.
I finished everything off by schmering icing on the ground and adding gumdrop trees, light poles and a fire hydrant. The sign was the last piece I added to the structure because I wanted to make sure it was completely dry before it was vertical.
So many buildings in New York are only pretty from the very front, so I thought it would be funny to make the gingerbread version the same way!