How to Make a Salted-Caramel Gingerbread House

Popcorn and pretzels meet caramel and candy in this salty-sweet house.

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Armando Rafael ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Caramel Cottage

Finally, a gingerbread house you'll actually want to eat. From the shutters to the shingles, this sweet-and-salty house was designed with flavor in mind. Learn how to make it with this step-by-step guide from Food Network Kitchen.

Photography by Armando Moutela

Make the Gingerbread

A classic gingerbread dough has flour, brown sugar, molasses and plenty of ground ginger. You can use your own, or try our recipe that you can make up to 3 days in advance and refrigerate (or freeze for up to 1 month).

Get the Recipe: Gingerbread for a Gingerbread House

Divide the Dough in Three

Gingerbread can be sticky to work with because of the molasses, so be sure to chill the dough for at least 2 hours and up to overnight before shaping it. Once the dough is chilled, divide it into 3 equal pieces. A pizza wheel makes a handy cutter.

Roll and Cut the Dough

Make templates for the walls and roof out of stiff paper — a manila folder works well. For the wall panels, cut a rectangle that measures 4 by 7 inches. For the front and back panels of the house (with a peaked roof), cut a template that is 6 inches wide at the base, 4 inches to the roofline and 4 1/2 inches slanted to a peak. The template for the roof panels should measure 4 1/2 by 8 inches.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll each out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. (Keep the other pieces refrigerated.) Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets. Using the templates, cut the dough with a pizza wheel so you have 2 side panels, 2 roof panels and 2 front/back panels. (You can reroll the scraps to make cookies.) Chill the dough on the baking sheets for 15 minutes.

Bake and Cool the Gingerbread

Bake the gingerbread at 300 degrees F until crisp almost all the way through (the center should still be a little soft), 25 to 30 minutes. Cool the pans 10 minutes on racks, then transfer the panels to racks to cool completely. Make sure the pieces are completely cool before you begin working with them so they don't crack.

Gather Your Decorating Ingredients

To decorate a 6-by-7-inch gingerbread house, you will need caramel, French toast cereal, fig bars, pecan halves, caramel-coated mini pretzels, caramel-flavored jelly beans and more and more festive, edible accents of your choosing.

Get the Recipe: Caramel for a Gingerbread House

Decorate the Side Panels

Use a piping bag fitted with the small tip to pipe a pea-size dot of royal icing on the back of a peppermint candy and attach it to the top center of one of the side panels. Pipe icing on the back of 4 fig bar pieces and attach them to the panels as windows shutters.

Get the Recipe: Royal Icing for a Gingerbread House

Add Windows

Hold the piping bag fitted with the small tip in one hand and use your other hand to guide it to draw windows between the shutters. Line the frames with pretzel sticks, breaking them to fit. 

Add Trim

Dress up the side of the house by piping a pea-size dot of icing on the back of 9 butterscotch candies and pressing them along the bottom of the panel. Repeat this process to pipe windows and decorations on the other side panel. Let the panels set, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Decorate the Front Panel

Using the piping bag fitted with the small tip, pipe a double line of icing across the front panel where the roof starts to incline; press on the French toast cereal. Pipe a small dot of icing on the back of a red sprinkle-coated gummy candy and attach it to the front panel just above the line of cereal. To make a flower, pipe a small dot of icing on the cut sides of 8 of the toasted marshmallow jelly bean pieces and attach them in a ring around the gummy. Pipe icing to draw a door; attach a caramel jellybean with a dot of icing to make a door knob.

Pipe icing on the back of the gummy gingerbread people and place 1 on either side of the door.

Add Windows and Frames

Pipe icing to draw 2 windows on the front panel; line the frames with pretzel sticks, breaking them to fit. Let the panel set, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Decorate the Back Panel

Repeat the decorations for the front panel of the house, making the windows larger and omitting the door and gummy gingerbread people: Using the piping bag fitted with the small tip, pipe a double line of icing across the back panel where the roof starts to incline; press on the remaining French toast cereal. Pipe a small dot of icing on the back of a red sprinkle-coated gummy candy and attach it to the front panel just above the line of cereal. Make a flower by adding toasted marshmallow jelly bean petals in a ring around the gummy.

Add Windows and Trim

Create a decorative trim by piping a pea-size dot of icing on the back of the caramel-coated pretzels and pressing them along the bottom of the back panel. Pipe icing to form 2 windows; line the frames with pretzel sticks, breaking them to fit. Let the panel set, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Tile the Roof Panels

Cover the roof panels with the frosted shredded wheat: Using the piping bag fitted with the large tip, pipe short lines of icing on the back of the cereal pieces and attach them to the roof panels. Let the panels set, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Attach the Front Panel to the Base

Wait to make the caramel until you are ready to assemble the house and have all your supplies close at hand. Once the caramel is cooked, you'll need to work quickly before it hardens.

Carefully place the saucepan of hot caramel by your work surface. You will use it like glue to attach the panels together. Start by dipping the bottom of the front panel in the caramel. Place the panel on the foil-wrapped base. Use the silicone brush to brush the inside of the panel along the base with more caramel to reinforce the connection. Gently position a can in front of the panel to prop it up. Then brush more caramel up the edge of the panel so you can attach the sides of the house.

Attach the Side and Back Panels

Repeat the same dipping and brushing method to attach the side and back pieces, using the hot caramel as glue: Dip a side panel in the caramel and place it perpendicular to the front panel, forming a corner. Brush the inside of the panel along the base with more caramel to reinforce it. Prop up the side piece with a can. Repeat with the other side panel and the back.

Sprinkle the seams of the house with sea salt.

Attach the Roof

While the caramel is still warm, brush it on the back of a roof panel along the edges (where the roof will attach to the walls); Press the panel onto the house and hold it in place until the caramel sets, about 30 seconds. Repeat with the other roof panel. 

Landscape the Yard

Use the piping bag fitted with the large tip and pipe icing along the seams of the roof to reinforce it. Pipe a rectangular walkway in front of the house; line the edges with pecan halves and sprinkle crushed sesame candy down the middle.

Add Snow to the Yard

Pipe icing snowdrifts around the walkway and the base of the house; sprinkle with popcorn, pressing it gently into the icing so it sticks.

Add a Finishing Touch

Using the piping bag fitted with the large tip, pipe more icing along the top seam of the roof; line with a row of gummy caramels.

Welcome Home!

For more gingerbread house decorating ideas, check out our Chocolate House and Peppermint House.

More Step-by-Step Guides: How to Make a Peppermint Gingerbread House

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