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Is your house really holiday-ready until the final assembly of a gingerbread house? Of course, you can opt for the store-bought gingerbread house kits, but aren’t the holidays so much better when they’re spent building decorations and making food with family and friends? Don’t be intimidated by the fine details expected from a gingerbread house. It’s much simpler than it looks. Oh yeah, and your kitchen will smell better and more festive than ever.

Here are the tips for a foolproof gingerbread house.

1. Let your dough cool before rolling.

Let your dough chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours in plastic wrap in order for the gluten strands to relax. Once ready, allow it to sit at room temperature for ten minutes before rolling it out.

2. Use cardboard as stencil.

Use a cardboard stencil to cut out your gingerbread pieces. Cardboard much more closely mimics the thickness and appearance of an actual gingerbread house. It’ll be easier to picture the final product.

3. Use the right sizing.

If you’re printing out a stencil from the internet, measure the dimensions beforehand to make sure that they’re to size! You don’t want to run out of dough. (It’s okay to have extra, though—mmm gingerbread cookies.)

4. Parchment paper is your friend.

Parchment paper is everything! The gingerbread dough will stick, so roll it out on a piece of parchment paper. And also line your cookie sheet with parchment paper before placing your cut-outs onto it.

5. Cut it while it’s hot.

Trim off the excess with a sharp knife while the pieces are still hot out of the oven. They’ll be much less likely to break

6. Regular icing won’t work.

Make sure you’re not making regular icing. That stuff won’t stay! The icing you need is royal icing. It is the key ingredient that glues your entire gingerbread house together. But remember that royal icing dries fast and hard. So keep your royal icing in the mixer and mix it up a little bit every time it begins to become a little spongy. Work fast!

And those are the tips to making the perfect DIY gingerbread house. Share with us any tips that you have, or any decoration inspirations that you think we need to try! And make sure to take photos and tag us with #spuddelivers and #spudholiday so we can see your masterpieces, and you can enter to win $250 in SPUD credits!.

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