December 26, 2022

Gingerbread Birdhouse

Christmas cookies, gingerbread house, gingerbread birdhouse, recipe, xmas cookies, holiday cookies

Merry Christmas, dear readers!  We present to you our own gingerbread birdhouse, completed just in time for Christmas day.  The design was inspired by a wee birdie, a lovely little lovebird, who recently adopted us.  In a very short time he has totally charmed all of us with his lively personality and cheeky attitude.   Yeah, he's the boss, pretty much.

The other point of our inspiration was, quite naturally, the cuckoo clock!

Christmas cookies, gingerbread house, gingerbread birdhouse, recipe, xmas cookies, holiday cookies

We used our favorite gingerbread cookie dough, jam packed with spices, resulting in a truly fragrant and delicious cookie when baked.  So easy to make and so much tastier than store bought!  It's the same dough we use the make our gingerbread cookies and our traditional style gingerbread house.

Christmas cookies, gingerbread house, gingerbread birdhouse, recipe, xmas cookies, holiday cookies

To make this house you will need a gingerbread birdhouse template.  We share our templates here, here and here.  Print the templates and cut out.  Some templates need to be cut more than once so be sure to follow the instructions.

A gingerbread house needs cleanly cut and baked shapes in order to build a sturdy structure.  The trick to this is to roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper.  Once rolled out to desired thickness the template shapes are placed on top.

Christmas cookies, gingerbread house, gingerbread birdhouse, recipe, xmas cookies, holiday cookies

Use a sharp knife to cut cleanly along the template edges.  

Christmas cookies, gingerbread house, gingerbread birdhouse, recipe, xmas cookies, holiday cookies

Remove top parchment and the extra dough from the shapes, leaving the cut out shape exactly where it is on the parchment.  This will allow the cut outs to keep their original shapes.

Christmas cookies, gingerbread house, gingerbread birdhouse, recipe, xmas cookies, holiday cookies

See how clean the gingerbread baked?  Next step is the decoration.  We whipped up a batch of royal icing with egg white, powdered sugar and some water.  Royal icing dries nice and hard and is easy to work with.

Time to decorate!  Get the kids and start having fun.  Decorate however you like, it's still going to look good.  I like to fill in with patterns, dots and squiggles.

Christmas cookies, gingerbread house, gingerbread birdhouse, recipe, xmas cookies, holiday cookies

We also referenced the decorations on the traditional cuckoo clocks which inspired our design.  Cuckoo, cuckoo...  Just need a birdie in the window!

Christmas cookies, gingerbread house, gingerbread birdhouse, recipe, xmas cookies, holiday cookies

The sides of our gingerbread birdhouse.  We continued the quilting pattern and squiggles all the way around.

Christmas cookies, gingerbread house, gingerbread birdhouse, recipe, xmas cookies, holiday cookies

The most tricky part of the gingerbread house build is the stage where you stick the walls together.  The royal icing is used as glue.  The wall slabs are heavy and liable to fall over before the royal icing glue is dry.

Support the walls vertically with something tall and steady.  Direct a fan towards the icing to speed up drying.  

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When the walls joints are dry it's time to add the roof.  Hold the roof pieces for a bit until dry enough not to slip off.

Glue on the bird perch, chimney and the balconies.  Now you're ready to add some color by decorating with m&m's, gummy candies, etc.  Only use candies that are stable when out of packaging.

As a final touch glue your sweet little birdie on his perch, chirp, chirp!

Christmas cookies, gingerbread house, gingerbread birdhouse, recipe, xmas cookies, holiday cookies
Gingerbread Bird House Dough Recipe
(makes  10" house, adapted from recipe here)  
Prep time: Cook time: 

Ingredients:

Directions:

Make Gingerbread Dough: 

Beat butter until fluffy, then add sugar and beat in til smooth.  Add egg and beat in.  Add maple syrup and mix in.  

Sift flour with ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, cardamom.  Now add the 1/4 of the dry ingredients into butter mixture and mix until combined.  Repeat until all the dry ingredients are just incorporated and a dough is formed.  

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 5 hours.

Download our gingerbread birdhouse templates, click here for  Template ITemplate II, Template III.  Print out and cut the birdhouse template pieces out of the paper.

Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC).

Roll out a piece of dough to 1/4" thickness between two pieces of parchment paper, one below and one on top.  

Place template cutouts on top of the parchment covered rolled out dough, leaving 1/2" spacing between shapes. Use a sharp knife to cut along template edges.  Don't move the shapes after you cut.  

Remove paper template shapes and peel off top parchment paper, leaving the bottom parchment paper in place.  Remove excess dough.  

Lift the whole thing, cookie cutouts and bottom parchment and place whole thing onto baking sheet.

Bake for 13 mins at 350ºF (175ºC) or until the gingerbread is just darkened at the edges.  Remove and let cool completely before building the gingerbread house.  

Make the royal icing  (recipe below) in the meanwhile.

Build the Gingerbread Birdhouse:

Pipe icing decorations on walls, roof, clock, balconies, etc.  Let dry completely.

Place two walls onto the base and use icing to glue together at corner and bottom.  Support walls while icing is drying.  Use a fan to speed up drying time.  

Glue together all parts of the house.  Hold the pieces as needed to allow icing to dry enough to hold together.

Decorate with candies. as desired,  using royal icing as glue.  

Enjoy your Gingerbread Birdhouse!   Lotsa Xmas love from all of us at The Hong Kong Cookery!!

Royal Icing Recipe
Prep time: 7 mins

Ingredients:
  • 2 egg whites, 60g
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups icing sugar
  • food coloring

Directions:

Beat egg whites and vanilla til frothy.  Add the sugar little by little until incorporated and shiny.  Using high speed beat till smooth and shiny and soft peaks have formed.

The icing should have a consistency like toothpaste.  If too flowy add a bit more icing sugar.  If too stiff add a tiny bit of water*.

Add appropriate tip to piping bag and scoop in icing.  You're ready to pipe!

*Tip:  Use a water spray bottle to add water to icing to thin out.  Much easier to control the water amount.

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