Haunted Gingerbread House Scene

Haunted Gingerbread House

The BEST recipe for gingerbread house, no matter what holiday you are celebrating! Most people reserve gingerbread for Christmas but why not make a Haunted Gingerbread house for Halloween?

Haunted Gingerbread House Scene
It’s all in the details in this Haunted Gingerbread House Scene

I mean, doesn’t everyone make a gingerbread house for every occasion?

Okay, I know it is a bit unconventional but I love to work with gingerbread. I love to come up with a design, make my templates by hand and decorate for hours.

Gingerbread is such a great medium to work with. The ingredients can be changed up a bit to get your own version of the perfect gingerbread. It can be thick or thin, crunchy or soft (not too soft if it is part of the structure!).

Haunting gingerbread details
It’s all in the details in this Haunted Gingerbread House Scene

My love of Gingerbread

Every year, I take my birthday off from work in early December. Then I spend that whole day – and usually several hours a day afterward – cutting, baking, building, recutting, decorating and assembling. The design is different every time and is usually inspired by a place that I have visited recently.

Last year I made a replica of Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland. I finally had the chance to visit the castle last August and couldn’t wait to build it – or a version of it – out of gingerbread. You can check out the Gingerbread Castle HERE.

The year before last, I recreated the first house that my husband and I lived in together. This house was also in Scotland but on the other side of the country. There are so many memories for us as a couple there and that was an extra special house to build.

The Best Recipe for Gingerbread House building

Gingerbread does have the traditional holiday spiced smell and taste. Those spices in most places come out of the cupboard by October so that we can all get our pumpkin spice fix.

In this recipe for gingerbread houses, the spices can be changed and even the syrup that is used (molasses vs. honey vs. light corn syrup) to achieve a different look and taste.

Halloween Challenge

About a week ago, a baking friend of mine, threw down a Halloween challenge. It didn’t have to be gingerbread but anyone in our circle of baking friends that wanted to join in should put together a Halloween- themed bake.

So, of course, I went straight to work on a template and made the dough within an hour of the challenge.

It took me about 4 hours to create the template, make the dough and cut and bake the pieces. The next morning, I was up early (as usual) and I got straight to work. Another 4 hours or so was spent decorating each piece while laying flat, allowing to dry and then assembling the structure.

Funny Gingerbread headstones
It’s all in the details in this Haunted Gingerbread House Scene

The only piece that took longer was the fence. I piped it on wax paper and left it to dry for over 24 hours to make sure that it was thoroughly dried. That was the last element that was attached because I was TERRIFIED that it would break!!

Royal Icing Spider Gate
A royal icing replica of the Gate at Stephen King’s house.

The gate is a replica, with a bit of creative license, of Stephen King’s gate at his house in Maine. I was stationed at a base about 30 minutes from his house several years ago and drove by often because it was just COOL!

Gate to Stephen King’s House

Gingerbread Recipe for Construction AND Eating!

When making gingerbread for any project, my base gingerbread recipe will work for you – guaranteed. But you can play with the recipe if you would like to change it up a bit!

How to customize this gingerbread recipe:

  • For a darker color and more robust flavor and smell, use molasses as your only syrup
  • For a medium color and spicy but sweet flavor, use half molasses and half honey
  • For the lightest color and the most rigid gingerbread, use all light corn syrup. Light corn syrup is basically just sweet – and that’s it. But if you are making gingerbread solely for construction, light corn syrup is much less expensive than the alternatives and also gives a crisper cookie.
  • Experiment with other syrups such as treacle or golden syrup to see if you like the effect. It’s all about experimentation!
  • The spice in this gingerbread recipe is strong without being overwhelming. It is the perfectly spiced dough! But if you do not plan to eat your gingerbread house, increase the spices, especially the cinnamon. This will fill your house with the scent of warm spices for as long as your gingerbread house stays on display!
  • Rolling your gingerbread dough thicker will produce a softer dough after baking. If you are rolling pieces for the structure, make sure to roll them thinner so that they crisp when baked and provide strength to the structure.
  • Instead of orange zest, try lemon and then increase the ginger slightly. Lemon is amazing with ginger!
  • You can choose to leave out the vinegar and the egg if you want a crisper cookie. The vinegar helps to tenderize the dough. The egg provides structure as well as richness and makes a chewier cookie. I prefer to keep both of these ingredients in my gingerbread. It still bakes up strong enough to build with but is a bit tender inside. Also, the egg seems to help make the dough easier to roll and work with.
  • Another tip is to reduce the total amount of syrup and roll the dough thin if you want crispy instead of tender in the center! My recipe calls for 1 cup of syrup (whatever combination you choose) but you could cut this down to 1/2 cup. Your gingerbread will be crisper but not brittle with this amount.
A gingerbread coffin with hatchet
It’s all in the details in this Haunted Gingerbread House Scene

Go ahead and get creative! Make a gingerbread structure for your next birthday celebration, Thanksgiving or even Easter! Post a picture on Instagram and tag @globalbakesbytanya or #globalbakes. I would love to see what you create!

The BEST Recipe for Gingerbread Houses

Recipe by Tanya Ott


Prep time


Cooking time




  • Gingerbread dough
  • 640 grams all purpose flour

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 200 grams (1 cup) shortening OR 226 grams unsalted butter

  • 200 grams granulated sugar

  • Zest of two oranges

  • 1 egg, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup molasses

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • 2 Tablespoons white distilled vinegar

  • Royal Icing
  • 2 pound bag of powdered sugar (900 grams)

  • 155 grams pastuerized egg whites

  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar


  • Whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the orange zest and sugar for 30 seconds to release the oils from the zest. Add the shortening and mix until well combined. Add the egg and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at least twice during mixing.
  • Add the molasses, honey, and vinegar and mix well.
  • Turn off the mixer and add about half of the dry ingredients. Mix on low just to combine. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
  • Gather the dough together into a ball and then flatten the dough into two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate for about 3 hours or until firm enough to roll without sticking.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats
  • Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 3/16-inch thickness. Cut out shapes with your favorite cookie cutters or cut according to gingerbread house template. Carefully transfer the cookies to the prepared cookie sheets with an offset spatula or dough scraper (I like to use a wide dough scraper to keep the cut dough from losing it’s shape.)
  • Baking time will vary with cookie size and thickness. Bake until the cookies are firm to the touch and lightly browned around the edges. A three-inch round cookie will take about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely before frosting and/or assembling with royal icing.
  • To make the royal icing: In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the powdered sugar and cream of tartar and whisk together to combine. Add the egg whites and stir gently with a rubber spatula until the powdered sugar is moistened.
  • Put the bowl on the stand mixer and, using the whisk attachment, whisk for 1 to 2 minutes until smooth and bright white in color.
  • At this point, you can use the icing to assemble a gingerbread house. To use the white icing, you will need to thin the icing as directed below.
  • **To outline shapes or cookies for flooding, put about 1 cup of the royal icing in a small bowl and add about ½ teaspoon water. Add another ½ teaspoon if needed to allowing piping. Stir until smooth and combined.
    **To flood cookies inside the dried outline, put about 1 cup of the royal icing in a small bowl and add about 1 teaspoon of water. Add another ½ teaspoon water to allow smooth spreading. Stir until smooth and combined.
    **Color as desired.

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