Gluten Free, Vegan & Allergy Friendly Top 8 Free!
I get so excited when I am able to develop a recipe that is gluten free, vegan and top 8 free. It’s like getting a turkey in bowling! It’s the trifecta of recipe glory!
Making a sturdy gingerbread house, and an eggless royal frosting that will adhere well, made me a little nervous, but it came out amazingly well!
This gingerbread house, didn’t get as rock hard as my non-gluten free houses that I have made in the past. I had to let it sit out in the air longer to “harden” up, but it still worked so well! In fact, as an end result I liked it a little better because it was softer to nibble on for days after!
Traditional or Allergy Friendly, Versatile & Forgiving Recipe
The other great thing about this recipe is that you can make it with traditional ingredients, OR allergy friendly substitutes. For the substitutes, I made mine using the sub’s so that I could ensure that they would also work for you.
Homemade is the Best!
I had never made a gingerbread house growing up as a child. I only ever saw them in movies. When I married into my husbands family, it was a standing tradition that they all got together a few days before Christmas and decorated gingerbread houses together. I not only adored the togetherness of this tradition, but I was also highly impressed that they had a recipe for a homemade house! Growing up we used a lot of store bought products, and had we ever done a gingerbread house it would have been of the store bought variety. As a family with food allergies, however, we don’t always have that “luxury” as they are often labeled for cross-contamination, or actually do have the allergen in them. Plus, friends I am here to tell you, if you have ever made a homemade gingerbread house, nothing else compares. They really are the best!
Sturdy & Tasty!
My husband was skeptical that I’d be able to pull off turning his family recipe into one that is gluten free, vegan and top 8 free. This is for two reasons. He wasn’t sure it would be sturdy, as especially with gluten free items that are baked, they can come out not so much like the original. Second, he wasn’t sure what it would taste like.
Gluten Free & Vegan Substitutes
Let me tell you!!!!! Friends, I even surprised myself! The banana that I used to replace the egg, leaves a nice hint of flavor and scent, but not overpowering to detract from the lovely molasses smell that is for me, one of the best things about gingerbread! The gluten free flour that I used was amazing as well!
Royal Icing Details
For the royal icing, it doesn’t have the same thickness, but it holds really well. You can add more sugar to thicken it up, or alternately more liquid to thin it out to your liking. I like that ours was a little thinner and really started to look like snow and we played off of that in our decorating with sprinkles on the “snow”.
Top 8 Free Decorations
We also were able to find several decorations that were also gluten free, vegan and top 8 free. If you think of other ones that we could use, please share in the comments below!
For the roof top and sidewalk, we used Wilton brand Christmas sprinkles in red, white and green. On the roof we used Bob’s soft peppermints, and on the “lawn” bordering the house and sidewalk, as well as above the door, we used Tootsie Roll brand DOTS.
Gingerbread House Pattern Printable PDF
Now for the pattern. The best way to do it, is to print the pattern PDF that I have included in this recipe. Then save cereal boxes. Save a couple cereal boxes to trace and cut out your patterns. I did mine that way, and I still have the same patterns cut from cereal boxes for the past 12 years and they have held up well. When I am done I keep them in a gallon sized ziplock bag along with my gingerbread house and royal icing recipe.
Tips for Constructing
Also, a tip on putting the house together. For the roof, if you take the roof pieces and glue (frosting) them together ahead of time, with a bent 3×5 index card, the roof will stay together easier. Additionally, I put the 4 sides of the house up one at a time, working in a “round”. First, I put the front of the house. Then I glued a side to that. Followed by the back, and then finishing with the other side. Each time I added a wall, I got a small juice glass and set it next to the wall to hold it up while the frosting set and hardened. This made it much easier!
For the Base of the House
For the base of the house, just use a large piece of cardboard that’s at least 12″x12″ (sizes can vary), and wrap it in aluminum foil.
Labor of Love
Now for the recipe! Eeeeee! I’m so excited y’all! I love Christmas so much. As a food allergy mom, one of my favorite things is to see not only my son with food allergies, but all kids with food allergies, enjoy the same things other kids enjoy! So here you go… enjoy!
Gingerbread House Printable PDF Free Download
Gingerbread House & Royal Icing
- 2 3/4 cup all-purpose or gluten free measure for measure flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ginger
- 2/3 cup molasses
- 1 egg or 1/2 large banana, mashed
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1-3 T water
- 2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 T light corn syrup
- 2 T water
Mix all of the gingerbread house ingredients until combined well. The dough should not be too dry, or overly moist. You can add a Tablespoon of water at a time, until it can be wet enough to come together without being crumbly, but not sticky wet.
Place cling wrap on top of bowl, and place in fridge several hours, although overnight or longer is ideal.
Remove and let sit until soft enough to press into a standard sized cookie sheet. If you are unsure of size, test placing your patterns on the sheet first, to see they will all fit.
Press dough into a lightly greased cookie sheet. You can wet your hands to prevent the dough from sticking to you, but be conservative in water, so that it does not become too sticky. I use a rolling pin to get it as flat as possible and then wet my hands to get it to the edges.
The good thing about this recipe is that it is very forgiving. If it starts to become too sticky just sprinkle a little flour, and press/pat it in. You want the dough to cover the entire cookie sheet from side to side. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and place pattern on hot bread immediately. The bread will harden very fast, and make cutting your pieces difficult if you don’t work quickly.
The front of the house has the door cut out, the back does not. The roof pieces are the two larger rectangles about 6″x5″, and the sides are the two smaller pieces about 4″x5″.
I lay out all my pieces immediately on top of the bread, and then cut them all at once. Then I get a very large spatula, and very carefully lift the pieces out. This is the tricky part. If you safely get the pieces out of here and then lay them on a cooling rack, so that they can harden and dry out, you will be golden! If any of them happen to crack and break, I let them harden, and then use the frosting to mend them back together.
If you are using all-purpose flour, they will harden very quickly, and you can make your frosting and start building your house. If you are using gluten free, it is better if you can let them sit in the air for 8-12 hours so that they can harden a bit more.
Once ready to construct and decorate, I found that it is super helpful to have 4 small glasses. As I stand a wall up, I put a glass near it to help give it some balance while the frosting sets. As I move around from front, to side, to back, to final side, I set a glass on the exterior wall of each front of side.
For the royal icing if you are looking for an egg free version use the recipe as is listed above. You will get a handheld mixer and mix until it is smooth. For a thicker frosting add a T of powdered sugar at a time, until you achieve desired thickness. For thinner frosting, add a T of water at a time until you achieve desired thinness.
Once you have your frosting made, you can scoop it into a gallon sized ziplock bag, snip off the bottom corner, and use it as a piping bag. Use the frosting to adhere the sides, front, back, door, and chimney together. Additionally, use it to adhere any candy decorations to your gingerbread house.
Finally, if you are looking for a great traditional Royal Frosting, there is the one we use with egg whites:
5 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 lb powdered sugar
beat until light and fluffy, and follow directions as listed above for adhering house together and decorating. This frosting gets hard fast, so you will want to cover your bowl with a kitchen towel, or cling wrap while waiting to load more into your piping bag.