Vancouver Island University baking students once again showed off their gingerbread house-making skills during Milner Gardens’ Christmas Magic event, which ran until De.c 19. — Adam Kveton Photo

Vancouver Island University baking students once again showed off their gingerbread house-making skills during Milner Gardens’ Christmas Magic event, which ran until De.c 19. — Adam Kveton Photo

Tips and tricks for making a gingerbread house

Take your time and test your design, says Vancouver Island University instructor

Over the winter holidays, making gingerbread houses can be one of the most magical and most frustrating activities.

And while Vancouver Island University baking students showed off their skills in Milner Gardens’ Teddy Bear Cottage during Milner Christmas Magic, one of their instructors has some tips and tricks for local home bakers looking to build a solid pastry cabin this year.

From VIU pastry instructor Ken Harper:

– Take your time. When starting from scratch, a gingerbread house can take five to six hours to make, but that’s spread over several days and includes time to let things cool and set. Even pros have trouble if they try and make a gingerbread house all at once.

– Consider testing out your design using cardboard and tape first to make sure the structure is sturdy.

– When it comes to dough, the individual recipe isn’t as important as letting your dough rest in a fridge overnight. This gives time for the dough to relax, lets fats firm up and allows the flour in the dough to fully hydrate.

– To stick your gingrebread pieces together, go with classic royal icing. It will firm up nice and hard, so long as you give it time to fully set. Don’t pile things on top of your structure until each section has set.

Have fun, bakers, and happy holidays!