By Laurie Sadowski
Put on your favorite Christmas tunes, and get your oven mitts ready! Building a gluten-free gingerbread house (sans top allergens) is a holly jolly way to enjoy the holiday season.
Note that you will need to make two batches of the gingerbread dough for this recipe. (Making a double batch is typically too large for most mixers to handle.) Once baked, assembled and decorated, the gingerbread house will stay fresh and sturdy at room temperature for up to five days.
Makes: 1 house with all the trimmings
Free of: gluten and all top allergens
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Ingredients
Need to make 2 batches of the following:
- 2 cups (475 mL) sorghum flour
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) quinoa flour
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) tapioca flour
- 2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) dairy-free, soy-free buttery spread (such as Earth Balance)
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) unsulphured molasses (not blackstrap)
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) crushed allergen-free hard candies (for “stained glass” windows)
Edible Sugar Glue
- 1 1/2 cups (350 mL) white sugar
- 4 cups (950 mL) powdered confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch*
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- Pinch salt
- 1/4-1/2 cup (60-120 mL) water
*Cornstarch produces the best results. Tapioca starch can be substituted, but the icing won’t be as firm when dry.
See bottom of recipe for allergy-friendly candy decorating ideas.
Next: The Method
- To make gingerbread dough, whisk flours, ginger, xanthan gum, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and cloves in a medium bowl to combine.
- To a mixing bowl of a large stand mixer, add brown sugar and buttery spread. Beat on high with mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in molasses.
- With mixer on low speed, gradually beat in dry ingredients, scraping down bowl sides as needed, until dough begins to come together into a ball.
- Divide dough in half and flatten each piece into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Repeat steps 1-4 to make second batch.
- While dough is chilling, make templates .
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Roll out first dough disk to 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness on parchment paper. Place template pieces on top of dough. Following the template, cut 1/2-inch away from the template edges (try not to cut through the parchment). The extra border allows for shrinkage and trimming of cooked gingerbread. Reroll scraps and repeat with other templates.
- Gently transfer parchment paper with dough shapes to baking sheet. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- On house FRONT, sprinkle crushed candy into each window opening. Bake 10-14 minutes, until edges are brown and center is firm (but soft) to touch. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then carefully remove gingerbread pieces to a wire rack using a large spatula.
- Repeat steps 8-10 with remaining dough disks, using cookie cutters to make trees (cut 2 tree shapes for each standing tree), gingerbread men, snowmen, and other desired shapes for decorations once the template is complete.
- While gingerbread is still warm, gently transfer to a cutting board. Place original templates on top of pieces, and carefully trim any excess to fit template (do not trim the chimney yet). If dough is cooled too much, use a serrated knife. Keep your trimmings for a fence.
- To make sugar glue, place sugar in a wide saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts into thin syrup. If it thickens up at any time, warm over low heat.
- Assembling gingerbread house: Line a flat, moveable work surface with aluminum foil. Adults should be in charge of assembly (2 people, if possible) as the sugar glue is quite hot.
- Lay FRONT (with the door) of gingerbread house on work surface, face down. Dip edge of one SIDE into sugar glue, and immediately adhere it to a backside edge of the FRONT, lining up the bottoms for a sturdy base. The glue will set-up in about 30 seconds. Repeat with second SIDE on opposite side of the FRONT.
- To affix the BACK, carefully and quickly drizzle sugar glue onto SIDE edges, and immediately affix the BACK, lining up the base. Once dry, stand the structure upright.
- Carefully and quickly drizzle sugar glue onto slanted edges of one ROOF piece, and affix to a top edge of the structure, lining it up with the peak. With a steady hand, hold the piece until set. Repeat with other ROOF piece.
- Check to see if CHIMNEY FRONT/BACK pieces line up with the roof peak. If not, trim to fit with a serrated knife. Then trim CHIMNEY FRONT/BACK and CHIMNEY SIDE pieces to evenly fit together. Carefully and quickly drizzle sugar glue onto side edges and adhere to one another to create a box shape. Drizzle sugar glue on the slanted edges of chimney, then affix chimney to the roof peak.
- To secure the house, place it on foil and mark where the four corners hit. Move structure and dollop sugar glue onto foil where corners are marked. Immediately align the house atop sugar glue corners.
- To attach DOOR (see template  for creating), drizzle sugar glue on one long side edge, and affix to a side edge of the house doorway so the door is “open”.
- To make a fence, dip long edges of rectangular gingerbread scraps into sugar glue. Affix long edges together to form a picket-style fence. Dip base of fence in sugar glue and place on foil in the “front lawn”.
- To make a 2-dimensional standing tree, cut one tree shape in half lengthwise. Dip cut edges in sugar glue, and affix one half to middle of front side of an intact tree shape, and the other half to middle of backside. Once set, it should stand on a crisscross base.
- For the royal icing, sift the powdered sugar, starch, xanthan gum and salt together into a large mixing bowl. With mixer on low speed, slowly beat in 1/4 cup water. Mix in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until icing just starts to come together into thick paste. Scrape down sides of bowl then beat on high for 2 minutes.
- Scrape icing into a piping bag or large plastic storage bag with a small piece of a lower corner snipped off. Pipe icing to decorate house edges and cut-outs and create snow on fences, “ground” and roof. Immediately apply allergy-friendly candy decorations, as desired, before icing sets up.
- For additional gingerbread decorations, such as stars and candy canes, decorate them first then adhere to the “ground” or house with sugar glue.
Next: Allergy-friendly candies and decorations
Allergy-Friendly Decorating Ideas*
- Candy Tree Organic  licorice laces, twists, bites; lollipops
- Divvies  jelly beans, gum balls, superstars
- Dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries, sliced figs
- Enjoy Life Foods  for safe chocolate: Mini Chips, Mega Chunks and Morsels
- Indie Candy , natural Christmas tree gummies; Christmas light lollipops
- Florida’s Natural Nuggets , sticks, sour string
- Gimbal’s Fine Candies Gourmet Jelly Beans , sour, cherry, cinnamon
- Let’s Do…  Sprinklez organic confetti
- Pure Fun  candy canes, pops, meltdowns
- Skittles  candy, various flavors
- Surf Sweets  watermelon and peach rings, gummy worms, swirls, jelly beans, sour worms or bears
- Trujoy Sweets  organic candy canes
- Yummy Earth  lollipops, drops, gummies, snacks, and sour beans
*Always check labels for your or your child’s specific allergens or gluten.
Laurie Sadowski is a gluten-free author, coach and baking expert. Laurie’s books include The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread and The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cookies and Cakes. Visit her at lauriesadowski.com .