Mini Gingerbread Houses

Make a miniature gingerbread village for a quick-and-easy take on the holiday classic.

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Mini Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread houses are as fun to make as they are to eat — but sometimes, assembling cookie castles is as difficult as building their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Assemble this village of houses for a quick-and-easy version of the classic. They are perfect for your holiday party or cookie swap.

Follow this step-by-step to create your own Mini Gingerbread Houses. For the ingredient list, go to the Mini Gingerbread Houses recipe.

Make a Template for Cutting the Houses

Because these are so little and have no roof, they require only two different pieces. The side piece is 2 by 2 inches and the front and back pieces of the house are 2 by 2 inches with a 1/2-inch-tall peak. You can certainly make them larger, but this is a great size to work with and eat.

Make the Dough + Roll It Out

To make the gingerbread cookie dough:

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon and clove.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium-high speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each and scraping the sides of the bowl. Mix in the molasses on low speed until well blended. Add the flour all at once and mix on low speed just until it all comes together. Scrape down the bowl and turn the speed to medium; beat for 15 seconds.

Wrap the gingerbread dough in plastic and refrigerate until set up, at least an hour.

Prepare the dough to make the cookie house pieces:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.

Roll out the chilled dough onto a well-floured surface to 1/8-inch thick.

Make the Cookie House Pieces

Using your templates, cut out two sides and two front-and-back pieces for each house. (You can freeze any remaining dough or use it to make stained-glass-window cookies.) [*Add link to blog post + stained glass cookies.]

You may find a pastry wheel and a brand-new X-acto knife are the best tools for getting a clean edge.

Prep for Baking

Transfer the pieces to the lined cookie sheets.

10 Minutes in the Oven

Bake for 5 minutes then rotate the cookie sheets in the oven front to back and top to bottom. Bake for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Be very careful not to over bake, since the cookies are already so dark it can be hard to tell when they are done. The tops will be slightly dull when they are done. Allow the cookies to cool completely before assembling and decorating. They can be baked the day before.

To Make the Ganache

Over a double boiler gently whisk the chocolate, cream, butter and rum until smooth.

Cool Down

Place in a bowl to set to room temperature.

Start Assembling the Houses

Once the ganache is set, fill a small parchment pastry bag with a small amount of ganache and cut a tiny hole on the tip.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and use the ganache as glue to hold the house in place as you build it. Start by putting four small dots of ganache 2 by 2 inches apart, which will become the corners of your house.

Squeeze a line of ganache along one edge of the side pieces of the house (the square pieces).

Join that side with one of the front- or back-of-the-house pieces (with the triangular roof) and stand them up on the dots you put down. Pipe a line of ganache along the outside edge of that seam.

Pipe ganache on another side piece and attach it to the front- or back-of-house piece, parallel to the other side piece.

Attach the final front- or back-of-house piece and you have a start to your village. Once they are all assembled, place them in the refrigerator to set the ganache.

Make the White Decorating Icing

In a bowl mix together the confectioners' sugar, milk, corn syrup and almond extract until smooth. It should be thin enough to pipe from a parchment piping bag but not so thin that it spreads and doesn't hold its design. If it is too thick, add more milk. If it is too thin, add more confectioners' sugar.

Use the pastry bag to decorate your houses with a simple or ornate pattern. Let the icing set between each side by sticking them in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes.

Have Fun Decorating

Make each one a unique house — just like in a real village of varied homes.

Serve with a glass of milk...

...or fill the houses with whipped cream and berries for a more sophisticated holiday dessert.