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Patterns for Simple Gingerbread Houses

My Eats and Treats column for the winter 2018 issue of Prairies North Magazine is titled Starter Home - Gingerbread Style. To accompany that article, I am sharing a few ideas about making gingerbread house patterns. 

Designing a bungalow pattern is easy. Start with a pad of graph paper. If this is your first attempt, count out a rectangle that is 34 squares wide and 22 squares high, which provides a template for the front and back of the bungalow.

Draw the narrower ends of the house, beginning with a 22 X 22 square box. From the center top of the square, count up 13 squares. This creates the pitch of the roof. You will cut two of these pieces, creating the two ends. Add a hole in the lower third of the back. This opening will allow the lights to enter the building.  

Draw a rectangle for the roof, a little longer than the house and broader than the roof pitch. An overhang is a good idea in case the gingerbread pieces shrink while baking. 

Cut windows and doors as you like. Roll the dough on parchment paper and use a paring knife to cut away the windows and doors you have planned. You can also add a few windows or enlarge them at this stage. If you change your mind, crumple the dough into a ball and reroll.  

If you aren't sure about the pattern you have made, tape the pieces together to check on your plan. 

Use your dough scraps to cut out people, trees, or even a fence. The children who help decorate the house will find a way to use everything you provide. 

A-frames have fewer pieces than bungalows. They are simple and fun to decorate. You must cut the roof piece twice and cut the house front again, to create a back, adding a hole in the back piece for inserting a string of lights. An A-frame roof looks spectacular shingled in shredded wheat, chocolate squares, liquorice all sorts or tiny wafers. A sprinkling of icing sugar looks like freshly fallen snow.  

Click on GB1 and GB2 for printable pieces, but every printer is different. The roof measures 9 3/4" by 7 1/2" while the base of the triangular front and back pieces measure 7 1/4" across the bottom. This A-frame results in a 9" house, measured from the base to the pointed roof.   

There are many patterns available online. Enjoy the process and become more adventurous each year. Take pictures. 

REMEMBER: It isn’t the size of your house that makes it memorable but rather the fun and love that goes into building it. 

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