An adorable Gingerbread Birdhouse...
Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked gingerbread
cookies at this time of year. Every Christmas, we make at least a
batch or two of these delightful cookies and frost them to delicious
perfection! This year, I decided to take our gingerbread cookie
baking a little further by creating a whimsical, silly gingerbread
birdhouse for you all to enjoy. I made a double batch of this
recipe, so there was more than enough to make the gingerbread birdhouse
and lots of other Christmas shapes to munch on! Special thanks to my
sister Candi for helping me with this recipe and taking some of the house
assembly pictures! If you'd like to make one of these
cute gingerbread birdhouses yourself, here's how it's done!
5 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses, warmed
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 stick butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
4 teaspoons cold milk (approximately)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chex Mix (original)
sprinkles (any kind of Christmas themed sprinkles and colored sugar)
Note: Here is the template for creating a replica of this birdhouse - its available in free PDF form by clicking on the links below. You'll need both Template 1 and Template 2 for building this birdhouse.
Preheat oven to 375*F. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla.
Measuring out the brown sugar....
Warm the molasses on the stove, but don't let it boil. Next, add the molasses to the sugar and butter mixture and mix well. Add the eggs and mix until combined.
Next, add the baking soda and ginger.
Adding the ginger....
Measuring out the baking soda....
Finally, add the flour and stir until mixture forms a smooth dough.
Adding the flour....
The finished dough....it should be soft and pliable - not crumbly and not too sticky.
Form the dough into a ball and wrap in parchment. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Ready for the refrigerator!
Remove from the fridge and cut dough into quarters. Roll one portion of dough out on a floured cutting board until it is between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch thick.
Rolling out the dough....
Cut out the provided template with a pair of scissors and lay the paper down on top of the dough. Carefully cut around each template piece with a knife.
Once you've cut out all the house pieces, use cookie cutters of your choice to cut out the rest of the dough. If you're making gingerbread men, don't forget the raisins for eyes, nose and buttons!
'Gingerbread Baby' anyone? I think I need to read Jan Brett's story now :)
Transfer the cookies to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 5 - 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of your cookie. 5 minutes works great just for cookies, for the house you'll want to bake the pieces for at least 8 minutes, even a little more if necessary.
Ready for baking...
After baking, let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
I recommend storing your cooled cookies in an air tight container for a day before assembling your gingerbread birdhouse.
In a medium sized bowl, beat one stick of butter until the texture is light and fluffy.
Butter for the frosting....
Sift the powdered sugar and add it to your butter mixture. Mix together, starting the mixer slowly at first.
Sifting the powdered sugar....
Measuring the powdered sugar - be sure to measure after you sift.
Next, add in the milk and vanilla and whip until mixture turns into a smooth frosting.
Adding the milk....
Fill a piping bag with frosting - use immediately.
Filled piping bag....
Assembly & Decorating
Set up a work station with your house pieces layed out on one platter and your other cookies on another. Pour your toppings (raisins, Chex mix, etc.) in seperate bowls for easy access while decorating. Set your filled piping bags in another bowl to keep any leaking frosting contained. Now you're ready to get to work!
Decorate your other cookies as you wish. You may need to make more than one batch of buttercream if you plan to spread frosting over the whole surface of your other cookies.
To assemble the gingerbread birdhouse....
Pipe all four edges of your gingerbread house base with frosting.
Piping frosting around the edge of the base
Set up the sides, front and back of your house vertically as shown.
Setting up the sides....
Setting up the front....
Once these pieces have set for a few minutes, pipe the roof line and set the roof pieces in place.
Piping the roofline....
Use measuring cups to support the roof and keep it from sliding until the frosting has set and dried somewhat. Now its time for the decorations! I piped frosting onto the roof and decorated it with Chex to serve as the 'roof tiles' or shingles.
Installing the roof tiles...
One finished side....
Pretzel rings were the perfect complement to the entrance hole on the front of the birdhouse.
Front of the house....
I also used the pretzel rings as 'wreaths' on the front and back of the birdhouse. I also used the pretzel squares as the windows.
Installing the windows....
I attached all the decorations to the house using the buttercream frosting. Raisins, other crackers and frosting piped to resemble icicles and snow completed the look.
The back of the house, finished....
As I finishing touch, I sprinkled the frosted 'snow' with Christmas sprinkles and added a dusting of powdered sugar.
The finished birdhouse....
Viola! The Gingerbread Birdhouse is finished!
By, Jessi Wasell