Bake up gingerbread pieces and construct some fun for all of the kids with this gingerbread house recipe that is free of these allergens: wheat, dairy, soy, eggs*, peanuts, and treenuts. The gingerbread house dough is also free or rice, oats, and corn.
*Disclaimer: The Peeps shown in the picture are not recommended for class projects as they have egg whites. If you are doing this at home, as we did, and you know it is safe for your child, then use candy your child can have and enjoy. Always double check ingredients to be sure they are safe.
We recommend doing this project over the course of two days, baking the house parts the day or evening before so that they are fully cooled and ready for a morning or afternoon of fun decorating! (Note for success: make your icing and test putting some small baked cookies from leftover dough together to make sure your mixture dries well.)
This recipe is enough to bake two houses using the standard Wilton gingerbread cutters that are currently sold in craft stores in the cake decorating section (as shown below). Don’t limit yourself if you see gingerbread patterns you’d like to follow, instead.
GINGERBREAD HOUSE RECIPE
4 cups (500 grams) sorghum flour (plus 1/2 cup to be used with rolling)
1 cup (125 grams) potato starch (NOT potato flour)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda (also called sodium bicarbonate)
1/2 cup (62 grams) granulated sugar (coarse white sugar used for tea)
1 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg and ground cloves
1/2 cup (62 grams) non-hydrogenated palm oil shortening or pure lard without soy or other additives
1 cup (125 grams) molasses
4 Tablespoons water or milk substitute
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit / 194 degrees Celsius
Mix together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
Using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer (or pastry cutter if mixing by hand), mix together the shortening and 1/2 of the dry mixture until it resembles coarse crumbles or sand.
Change the attachment to the paddle on your stand mixer (or switch to wooden spoon if mixing by hand).
Add the molasses and remaining flour, mix well.
Add the water or milk and mix until you have a firm dough that holds together well. Add more liquid, 1 Tbsp at a time, if needed to reach the right consistency.
ROLLING & BAKING STEPS
Put 1/2 cup of sorghum flour on a paper plate and set aside for dusting the rolling pin and dough.
Set a piece of parchment paper on the table or counter that will fit onto your cookie sheet.
Roll the dough directly on the parchment paper, pulling up the scraps and putting them back in the bowl.
Transfer the parchment paper with cut pieces directly to your cookie sheet. Poke a few holes with a fork (in places where you’ll be piping windows and doors) so that your baked pieces do not have too many bubbles. Bake the pieces for 7-10 minutes, or until lightly brown around the edges. DO NOT PULL OFF OF PARCHMENT UNTIL COOL.
Transfer the parchment with baked pieces to counter or cooling rack to fully cool. Let cool at least 15 minutes before removing pieces from parchment. (Pieces will harden as they cool).
Meanwhile, as your house pieces cool, prepare a white decorator icing using confectioner’s sugar and water (this will be both your glue and your decorative icing).
4 cups (2 lbs.) confectioner’s sugar (also called icing sugar)
*Note* If corn allergy, use the confectioner’s sugar that has tapioca starch instead of cornstarch
2 Tablespoons of honey or light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
4-6 Tablespoons water (VERY CAREFULLY ADDED)
Add all of the ingredients, except the water, to a mixing bowl for stand mixer or for handheld mixer.
Mix on lowest speed until sugar starts to get moist and clump together. It will be very hard to mix at this stage.
CAREFULLY add water, a Tablespoon at a time, until you get a very thick and firm frosting mixture. It should look silky but peak and hold on the mixing paddle when it is lifted out of the bowl.
If the mixture is too thin, it will take too long to dry and/or not hold your house pieces together.
When finished mixing, put all of the icing in a container and top with a wet paper towel and airtight lid. If you do not, the icing will dry and you will not be able to work with it.
ASSEMBLING & DECORATING
When you are ready to decorate, spoon half of the icing into a cake decorating piping bag with a standard round tip (if you have it). Unfortunately, we forgot to pick up these items and instead used a gallon plastic storage bag and cut a small hole in the bottom corner of the bag. It won’t be as pretty when piping, but as you can see, gets the job done.
Begin assembling your pieces on large round cake boards or use cardboard wrapped in foil or use cookie sheets. Utilize cans from your pantry to hold things in place while waiting for walls to dry. Once walls are dry, secure roof (using cans, etc. to hold in place as best you can).
While waiting to dry, get your candy ready for decorating by putting into little small bowls. Children will be anxious at this point to get started.
Some candies that are generally free of top-8 food allergens (but do tend to include corn, so be careful if you have a corn allergy) are Brach’s Spice Drops, Brach’s Cinnamon Candies, Brach’s Crushed Peppermints, Skittles, Swedish Fish, Sour Patch Kids, Smarties, Dum-Dums, Necco Wafers, and Old-Fashioned Teaberry Gum (usually found at Cracker Barrel stores). CVS also has a lot of candy options for those who must avoid wheat but are okay with corn.