“SNOWGLOBE À LA MODE.” WITH TEENSY, TINY GINGERBREAD HOUSES.

Gingerbread-dessert This right here is why I went down to 3 posts a week a year ago.  The Snowglobe à la mode.  An original Karen idea (although it was named by my friend Jamieson).

If I were still trying to write 5 posts a week what you probably would have got today is a regular gingerbread house.  From a kit.  That was half eaten because I was a starving, little shell of myself, from trying to churn out 5 posts a week. For my brain to be able to come up with good stuff, it needs room to move and shift and wander.  Without that freedom my brain can’t function.

I get artistic brain freeze. Instead,  what you get today is a winter dessert that’s so much fun and so easy to make that I’ve taken the liberty of including the link to the Nobel Prize website so you can take the next obvious step and nominate me.  Might I suggest your nominations be either in Physics or the Peace Prize.  Dealer’s choice. I expect to be very busy fielding calls from them shortly so let me quickly run you through how to make your own Snowglobe à la modes.

pushing-out-dough Make your favourite gingerbread dough.  I’ll include a link to the recipe I’ve been using since I was 20 years old and made dirty gingerbread men near the end of this post.  Press the dough out into a large rectangle and then roll it it until it’s very thin.  Around 1/8th of an inch or even less. I like to roll mine out on Parchment paper. Then you can just slide the entire hunk of rolled out dough, along with the Parchment paper onto your baking sheet.   gingerbread-dough-cooked

Bake according to the recipe directions. I usually bake my gingerbread a little bit more because I like to make sure it’s is crispy. I don’t like doughy gingerbread, I like crisp gingerbread.

cutting-cooked-dough

Immediately start cutting your gingerbread.  Yes. You’re cutting the shapes after the big, whack of dough has cooked.  Not before.  The finished houses are TINY.  Teeny tiny.  So cut some strips that are 1″ or less wide. These will be the sides of your house.

mini-gingerbread-door

You can use a pizza cutter or a paring knife for cutting.  While the gingerbread is still warm and hasn’t “cured” hard yet you can do fairly precise cutting with it, like cutting out doors and windows.

house-parts

You can make the houses as big or as small as you like.  And you can make any shaped house you want.  But for a basic house shape you’ll always use these shapes.  Two square pieces for each side of the house and a pointed square piece for the front and back of the house.

cutting-roof

To make the roof cut 2 pieces that are slightly larger than the sides of the house.  You can also wait to cut the roof until you’ve “glued” the house sides together.

icing-sides

The glue you use is Royal icing. It works great.  If you’re doing a great BIG gingerbread house you can also melt toffee to use as glue.

icing-side-2 Make sure you glue the sides like you see me doing it here.  With the sides behind the front piece, not on either side of it.  Otherwise your house will look unfinished from the front and be very wide.  Maybe even double wide. side-by-side-size

You can see the front of the house has a finished length of only 1.5″.  The width is only 1″.

roof

Because it takes so long for the gingerbread to harden you have quite a long time to work with it.  So cut, trim and shave.  If your roof seems too thick for example, you can slide the thickness right in half to make the roof a bit more delicate.

thinning-roof

A paring knife works best for this.  If your gingerbread starts to harden WORK MORE QUICKLY.  Also you can use a breadknife to cut gingerbread that’s getting hard and brittle.

icing

Once your house sides are sturdy and the royal icing has dried a bit you can add the roof and a chimney.

placing-steeple

Then you can finish decorating the house or adding tidbits like a steeple to make it seem like a tiny chapel. Use long, needlenose tweezers for delicate work like applying the razor thin steeple. Hey!  Did you hear I’m going to be nominated for a Nobel Prize?  Yeah, it’s kindda all over the news by now I think.  So embarrassing.

mini-gingerbread-houses

You can spend as much or as little time on these houses as you want. I’m sure you’re happy I’ve given you that kind of freedom.  Normally we Nobel Prize winners are kindda dictatory.  Not me though.  I’m more of an  “of the people” kind of Nobel Prize winner.

mid-century-modern-gingerbread

You also don’t have to make conventional gingerbread house shapes.  Like midcentury modern?  Make a midcentury modern gingerbread house.

mini-gingerbread-overhead The houses can be made days in advance.  If you use an icing recipe with raw egg whites you just have to keep them in the fridge.  If you use one that uses meringue powder you can just keep them in an airtight container. The night (or morning … who am I to judge) you’re going to serve them just plop a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream in a glass.

Let it melt a tiny bit before you put the gingerbread house on top.  Serve as is, or top with some chopped pistachios like I did in the photo above. The recipe I use for gingerbread is one from an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  It’s online now though so you can use it even if you don’t have the cookbook. For Royal Icing I don’t really use a recipe.  I add 2 cups of powdered sugar to my Kitchen Aid and then add one egg white at a time until it’s a consistency I like.

It should be thin enough to pipe but not so thin it’s runny when you pipe it.  Then I add 1 tsp. of artificial, clear vanilla.  If you use real vanilla which is dark brown, your icing won’t be pure white.

This really is the most fun I’ve ever had in my entire life.  Ever.  Not just making gingerbread, I mean it’s the most fun I have ever experienced.  Well, this and winning all of the Nobel prizes of course.  I knew I was a lock for Physics, but the Peace prize!  That one was a surprise.  It’s really just a popularity contest so I can’t take all the credit, my PR team had a lot to do with it. It’s too bad I had to fire them for … oh …. something … I can’t really remember now, but I recall something about me screaming at them until my eyelashes popped off. The Peace prize!  I’m not sure why I was surprised.

73 Comments

  1. MaryJo says:

    OMG, those are so adorable! And as usual, your post is hysterical!

  2. Kathleen says:

    Speechless! I don’t think I”ll be making these… too fiddly!
    They look awesome though.

  3. Michele says:

    I’m disappointed, there are no pictures of the dirty gingerbread men!

  4. Patti says:

    I love, love your posts but would never do this

  5. MissChris SA says:

    They are adorable but seem way to time consuming and fiddly for me.

    But….I may give them a bash – my granddaughter will love them!!!!

    • Karen says:

      Yeah, no it’s not hard or time consuming at all MissChris. Not at all. You don’t even have to press out cookies from the dough! You bake a big swath of it and cut out some pieces and ice them together. I mean unless you plan on making enough for say, the entire cast of Game of Thrones, you’ll generally only be making between 5 and 10 of them. From beginning (mixing dough) to end (final icing) it would take you one hour. TOPS. I’ll make you a bet in fact. ~ karen!

      • MissChrisSA says:

        Sold!!

        I will give it a bash – and no, I am not going to make enough for the cast of the Game of Thrones, even though it feels as though they all coming to have Christmas lunch with us!! These will be for the grandbabies of the family – exclusively………………(will have to hide them from ‘the other half’) 🙂

  6. TucsonPatty says:

    This is genius and worthy of the peace prize because what else makes us all as happy as ice cream and cookies (gingerbread)?

  7. Elaine says:

    Wow! What a way to impress dinner guests! They are REALLY cute, Karen. Some might think them “fiddly” but the rest of the dessert (being just ice cream) makes it an easy, but impressive, dessert!

  8. Milton says:

    Ingenious, no doubt you deserve a prize. I enjoy each of your posts. Funny, I just watched a young girl, Maty Noyes, from my hometown in Mississippi perform in Norway this week at the Nobel Peace Prize concert – https://youtu.be/6oIxXMzboxU I’ll try to see if she has any inside contacts I can put in a word for you.

  9. Rachel says:

    Karen, I hope you’re absolutely sure these will stay well in the fridge. I will have to make 7 of these the Tuesday before Christmas and I want them perfect for dessert. My husband would not be happy if I don’t make these even though the plan was chocolate ganache bread pudding for dessert. So I’ll have to do both. I’m doing Ponche de creme globes on Christmas Eve to have with pastelles and that’s final. But maybe eggnog ice cream can work too instead of vanilla ice cream? And stemmed globe glasses?
    But no peace prize for you: I will not be at peace till I make these so you need to learn that great food causes bacchanal in people’s homes at Christmas time. But thank you for this adorable presentation!

    • Karen says:

      Ha! Rachel, I’m being overly, OVERLY safe when I say to keep them in the fridge because the icing is made with raw egg whites. But truthfully, you can keep them out in the open or in an airtight container. You’ll be fine. I like to keep them out in the open but didn’t want people having fits over there being raw egg whites in the icing. Truth is though, 99.9% of people would make them and then keep them unrefrigerated. ~ karen!

      • Rachel says:

        Great! Airtight container it is. No one needs to know about raw egg whites, as long as the gingerbread retains its first day texture or close to it. Thanks!

  10. Grammy says:

    Those little houses are wonderful. I know I’m not ever going to make them, but seeing yours makes me happy. I’m also thrilled that you took home the prizes for both Physics and Peace — you deserve all the honors, especially since you began with naughty gingerbread and ended up making churches and mid-century moderns. A body of work like that must be recognized.

  11. catt says:

    I come here for comic relief. Seriously. You are so fun, talented and a little nutty….which is a winning combination in my book. Being a fiddly kind of girl myself, I can’t wait to make a small subdivision of these tiny houses.
    Thank you funny, fiddly, talented lady.

  12. Dede says:

    Just awesome Karen! I’m totally ripping this off and taking all the credit and prizes. It would be good with chopped coconut sprinkled all over for more snow.

  13. Jenny W says:

    Your pic of these tiny creations popped up on my Facebook feed this morning, and I was intrigued. They are truly delightful! – and I never use that word 🙂 Far too delightful to serve to my unruly crowd over the holidays, as they are more of a trifle, dump cake, store bought pie kind of crowd lol!

  14. Suzanne says:

    Once again, Karen, you impress me. Your sense of humour makes my day every time. This is something I would probably do had I the time and p a t i e n c e! That’s the prize I would give you!

  15. Tigersmom says:

    “If your gingerbread starts to harden WORK MORE QUICKLY.” Bwahahahahahahahaha!

  16. A Guy says:

    I am disappointed. The doors and windows do not open and close.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    The comments about these being too “fiddly” make me LOL. These people are likely the same lot that are spending countless hours, baking and decorating sugar cookies 🙂

  18. Su says:

    how very charming!

  19. Mary W says:

    Every year my daughter makes 20 or so gingerbread houses and invites that many children to come play. They bring bags of candy as entrance price. She uses powdered meringue and we build them the night before. Next day, tables are set up outside the garage (the sticky mess is unbelievable) and the kids come and decorate with punch served. Wish we had a bathroom in the garage for cleanup. The mess is soooooo sticky. The houses are just wonderful and the kids so proud. But it is worth it enough to send us to bed for two days to recover. Or maybe it is from sugar coma after eating so much candy. Your houses are wonderful AND the best tip of the year—-bake first then cut. Genius! For that you certainly win the Peace Prize. After hearing what we go through for our party, you get the idea that cutting and forming the houses after baking is worth all the hours I spend reading you. You have just saved us so much time in preparation. It’s this Sunday afternoon and please pray for no rain – no way we would attempt them inside. So you have any idea how sticky it is with 40 shoes stepping in dropped icing then candy, then sand and dirt? We can literally see the path to the bathroom. Oh yeah, and one summer my nutty cousin and I made naughty biscuits for breakfast to serve to our husbands on our traditional Memorial Day weekend. No kids and flags were flying LOL.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary W! I only figured that whole baking THEN cutting out the second time I made these. (I’ve already made 2 batches this year and will be making another for Christmas Eve later this week). I did it on a whim to see if it would work and it worked perfectly! Have fun at the gingerbread party, it sounds GREAT! ~ karen

  20. Melissa Leach says:

    You are the master of all…these are the fricken cutest teensy tiny gingerbread houses ever!!!!
    Midcentury Modern, I love it. I will make these next year!!!!

  21. Lynne says:

    Annnnnnddddd check out those gorgeous nails! 3 posts a week, means red nail polished nails. So very festive of you. You rock the Christmas polish. You go girl.

    Lynne xx
    Design The Life You Want To Live

  22. Jamieson says:

    So creative and beautiful, Karen! I meant the gingerbread, but applies to you too.
    I hope to be nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature for my small part in this amazing invention! It may be the first time someone has actually accepted my creative name suggestion for their baby. Usually it’s a flesh and blood baby so the stakes are a little higher, but you gotta start somewhere.

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      Well, first, ya gotta stop suggesting “Jamieson” for the babies’ names!! Sorry, just could not resist . . . ?

      • Jamieson says:

        Actually, “Jamieson” becoming a popular baby name is one of my greatest fears! I dread the day I am walking through the supermarket with multiple parents yelling “JAMIESON YOU GET BACK HERE RIGHT THIS MINUTE!”
        So yeah, I’m cool with babies not getting my name.

        PS My husband and his family are from Carlisle and he and his sisters went to Waterdown HS…

        • Jan in Waterdown says:

          Moved here back in ’83… things sure have changed a lot. I do think Jamieson would be a very cool name for a kid but what do I know? Never had any, never wanted any so that does make me an authority on all child related stuff right? LOL!

  23. Karin says:

    here I sit smugly patting myself on the back for writing some Christmas cards to my families and closest friends (that’s a first for me)
    gazing at my newly aquired Christmas figurines I snagged from Goodwill and
    nodding my head in approval at my dollar store battery operated candles for the windows and my led string lights (heck, they ARE wicked bright).
    i even put up a wreath on the outside door…..
    and i dragged home some birch stumps and branches….

    and then you come along with yet another stunning, inspirational and oh so cute idea…. just when i thought i had this Christmas business figured out and wrapped up…..

    congrats on the Nobel prizes. you my dear, are truly deserving of it. in fact, i think you should get all 6 of them

    off I go, checking out the gingerbread recipe…

    :0B

  24. SuzyMcQ says:

    Well, Karen, I did some research on houses like this, because I saw them premade last week. They weren’t exactly like yours, but were the ones with slats that fit onto the side of your coffee or cocoa-filled mug. The cost was astronomical for them, so, being the good artofdoingstuff reader/fan I started to look online for cutters to make them. I found a number of them on Etsy when I searched mini gingerbread houses. I think your idea of baking them first is earth-shattering, so I’m going to try that, but, will use the cutters instead. I don’t have your knife-wielding skills. But, I do have a new knife sharpener from Lee Valley, thanks so much for the tip!

    • Karen says:

      Are you kidding me??!! Teensy tiny houses like this already exist?! I should have known. There is no such thing as an original idea. ACKGHAGIHADG$%%8&###! ~ karen!

      • SuzyMcQ says:

        I think the ones that are premade are in the Anthropologie catalogue.

      • Agnes says:

        It’s true. I made these like 3 years ago, used a template from Not Martha, and even made my own cookie cutters from sheet metal. However, mine were not as free spirited as yours! Love the quirkiness of each individual house. I was thinking of 3D printing some cookie cutters this year, I’ve seen a couple free designs on Thingiverse for the mug perching houses.

  25. Laura Bee says:

    These really are adorable. Take full credit & that Nobel Prize. My sister & I always bake cookies & make fudge (damn good fudge) as gifts. Twice we made gingerbread boxes to put them in. Those were fun.
    No baking this year yet. I moved, last year we only were able to get together once 🙁

  26. Trish says:

    Where are the dirty gingerbread men? I read the whole post just to see them!

  27. Sakura S. says:

    I was gonna give you some serious trash-talk about hating chestnuts (Seriously??? You hate them? That comment was like a knife in my roasted-chestnut-loving heart). But, since you were kind enough to provide a gingerbread recipe, I’ll let it slide. This time. Merry Christmas!

  28. maggie van sickle says:

    Wow now I like that kind of dessert. Fun, pretty and good to eat.. Good job again!!!

  29. Eileen says:

    almost snorted my lemon-ginger water across my computer screen…so funny (the post, not the water)! And so adorable. Almost makes me want to bake. Almost. I’d rather you just send me about a dozen though. That way I could impress everyone without any screaming or other assorted baking disaster tantrum-ish behaviour.

  30. Gretchen Sexton says:

    O.M.G.
    too cute!
    too hard! too much work for me, so I gladly live vicariously through you.
    especially the nobel prize part.
    love.

  31. maarilyn says:

    Thanks so much for the fun you provide. Just love ready your blog. 🙂

  32. maarilyn says:

    Of course I meant READING your blog.

  33. Hey Karen
    Merry Xmas. All the best and say hi to your mom for me. Hope 2106 is the best year ever for you! You deserve it. Looks like you work hard.
    Great posts.
    Brian

  34. Suzanne says:

    You dont have to use the artficial stuff if you have stored a vanilla bean in your icing sugar. ? Can you believe that I have never made a gingerbread house , I have always been a buche de Noel kind of girl but i may very well try it this year. You took the fear out of it. Love it!

  35. Wisconsin Gal says:

    Great idea and very funny post, as usual! But I will NOT call the Nobel Prize people until I see the dirty gingerbread men.

  36. Janet Kateusz says:

    I have been reading your blog for some time and your nails always look marvelous! Just wanted to let you know that.
    One of the many things I have learned from you is ‘How do chickens lay eggs?’
    I have passed on your wisdom to many people.
    Thanks,
    Janet Kateusz

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Janet! They’re looking a little worse for wear today which is how they’ll probably stay for the next week or so. ~ karen! p.s my nails, not the chickens.

  37. Julie says:

    What a great idea! I was thinking maybe i could top the ice cream with whipped cream, so it wouldn’t have to melt…not a big fan of melty ice cream. Then put the tiny gingerbread house in.

  38. Melissa Leach says:

    Karen, I want to pin this post but can’t find the Pin on your website. I also looked on Pinterest for your pin…am I blind??? You should win a prize for this post!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Melissa! The “Pin it” button is at the bottom of the post. It’s little! I keep meaning to get around to getting a “P” put on every photo. Maybe that’ll be this weekend’s project! ~ karen

      • Karen says:

        K. I decided there’s no time like the present. I’ve upgraded my Pin it button so it shows up over ever image when you hover over it. Thanks for the unintentional ass kicking Melissa. ~ karen!

  39. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Awesome project as always Karen…But the icing on the cake…or gingerbread…is the great name given to it by Jamieson…

  40. Kim says:

    When my kids are bigger I’m going to make these. And by kids I mean the smallest kid. He is 18 months and a destroyer of all. So next year. These are totally awesome. And SO SUPRISED you cut after they are cooked.

    Also you blog is so awesome and funny I don’t care what it is about. I just like to read it. You remind me of me when I blogged: only funnier.

    🙂

  41. Leslie Rose says:

    One year the Dallas Museaum of Art had small graham cracker houses decorated as they would have been if done by various artists…Dali, Piccasso, Lautrec, Monet, etc.
    So cute!

  42. Sharpn says:

    Hi Karen, I live not far from you, on the mountain. I was in 3 different grocery stores today. I bought the last carton of molasses. I guess everyone is busy making tiny gingerbread houses.

    • Karen says:

      Oh you’re kidding, lol?! Good thing I made extra dough and stuck it in the freezer I guess. Who knew there’d be a molasses shortage. ~ karen!

  43. Tammy Thede Rea says:

    Karen…..you are the best! I am so so so so making these………

  44. Nicole Ferrara says:

    I would like to point out that the Gingerbread Cookie Company on Etsy has a number of cutters especially made for making tiny houses. I’ve bought one and used it with ceramic clay and they are wonderful. https://www.etsy.com/shop/GingerbreadCutterCo

  45. Liza says:

    Just discovered your blog and sense of humour – both great!
    So…you gave me an idea for our Secret Santa:
    Large lidded jar from Ikea, make a medium size house + some trees, ‘glue’ these into the jar, sprinkle some white and sanding sugar as snow, and of course, a gift card.
    Wait, wait, wait…may need to make more than one!? Cooke Globe making party?

  46. Beyhan says:

    Iknow, your blogpost is not new…but it’s still adorable and I’m in love with this litte cute gingerbread houses <3

    Thank you for sharing Karen!

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