Modernist Gingerbread House

We said goodbye to convention this holiday season and enlisted stylist Lani Halliday and photographer Deidre Schoo to recreate the architectural masterpiece, Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House #22 (Stahl House), as a gingerbread house. This stunning structure comes to life with a few sheets of gingerbread, some royal icing and candy. Here is the coolest gingerbread house you will see this holiday season.

Recipe adapted from

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  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
royal icing
  • 2 cups of powdered/confectioners sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 pinch of cream of tartar
for the windows
  • 7 ounces Isomalt nibs, clear (CakePlay preferred)

How to make this recipe

  1. Modernist Gingerbread House:

    Preheat the oven to 375F. Sift the flour and salt together and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed with a paddle mixer until the mix is fully incorporated but not overmixed.

  2. Continuing on medium speed, add egg to the mix and for a few seconds until incorporated. Then add molasses- again just until incorporated.

  3. Reduce speed to medium-low and add the flour-and-salt mixture 1/2 cup at a time until fully incorporated. The dough is now ready to roll out and cut.

  4. Roll the dough to 1cm thickness onto a sheet of parchment paper and cut out the shapes for the roof and pool surround with a sharp paring knife. The roof is in the shape of an L. The dimensions are as follows, starting with the longest side: 14” x 9” x 4” x 5” x 10” X 4”. If you’re having a hard time visualizing it, just draw it out. The pool and the all-important hot tub are comprised of five pieces. 2 strips of measuring 8"x 1/2", 2 strips measuring 3" x 1/2 strips, and an L-shape piece measuring 1.25"x1.25" and 1/3" thick.

  5. Bake the gingerbread two rounds- the roof in the first round for 12-15 minutes and the pool pieces for 7-10 minutes or until firm. When you pull the pieces out of the oven, it’s best to run over them gently with a rolling pin to flatten them out. Using a knife and working carefully, you can coax or trim to straighten out any bulging edges or wonky shapes.

  6. For the royal icing:

    Sift cream of tartar and powdered sugar together and set aside.

  7. Whip together egg and about half of the powdered sugar on low speed in a stand mixer until fully incorporated.

  8. Increasing to medium speed, add remaining sugar/tartar mixture a 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the the mix to come together between additions.

  9. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and let the icing whip for a few minutes until it holds stiff peaks. If the mix is too stiff, add water 1 teaspoon at a time. If the mix is too runny, add additional powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.

  10. For the windows:

    Place isomalts in a microwave container and microwave for about one minute, or until the isomalt completely liquified with a water-like consistency.

  11. Remove isomalt and let bubbles dissipate. Do not aggressively stir or tap. Just be patient.

  12. Wearing gloves to protect your hands, pour liquid into a silicone baking mold with 3.5” x 2” rectangular reservoirs. You’ll need ten window panes, each about 1/2" inch thick each.

  13. Allow molds to cool completely and pop them out.

Photo © Deidre Schoo

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