Tips for an easy gingerbread house

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Our tips for building a gingerbread house in a flash.
Building a gingerbread house can be a daunting task. If you're making your house from scratch, it can take hours. And with busy holiday schedules, who has time for that? It is possible to share the experience of building a gingerbread house with your family even if you don't have hours to spend in the kitchen.

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Here are our tips for building a dreamy gingerbread house in a flash.


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1. Whether you're giving your gingerbread house as a gift or making it simply to serve as a beautiful, edible centerpiece, your first step is to select a sturdy base on which to build. Choose a stiff paper, like cardstock, a cake board or a piece of cardboard. Wrap your base in aluminum foil or buy colored foil paper made especially for covering cake boards at your local baking supply store. Your base should be large enough to hold your house and strong enough to support its weight. No matter what type of base you choose, make sure to place one hand underneath the board whenever you lift or move it.

2. If you just want the fun of assembling and decorating your gingerbread house, you have a few options. You can purchase a kit that includes pre-baked pieces or you can use graham crackers or even gingerbread Pop-Tarts instead of gingerbread.

3. If you're up for baking, you can take a shortcut by picking up a tube of refrigerated gingerbread dough from your grocery store.

4. Another way to speed up the decorating and to give your house lots of detail is to use a gingerbread mold. Simply press your gingerbread dough into the mold and bake. All of the details -- from doors to windows -- will be baked into the gingerbread. All you have to do is assemble the pieces and decorate them.

5. The icing will serve as the glue that will hold your gingerbread pieces together so it's important that you use the right one. Royal icing, a thick, white frosting that hardens as it dries, is the perfect mortar for your gingerbread creation. When you're working with royal icing, keep it covered with a damp paper towel so it doesn't dry out before you use it.

6. When you're ready to start construction, assemble the sides and walls first. Wait for the icing to dry completely before attaching the roof. By allowing the walls and sides to dry completely, you can be sure they're strong enough to support the roof.

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