This gingerbread gnome home is a sweet way to bring a little woodland whimsy indoors. It makes a cozy decoration for the mantelpiece, but it’s also perfect for tabletops where it can be studied in detail.
Since this gingerbread house has many elements, give yourself plenty of time to create. It can be baked and assembled over the course of a few days — you can download the gingerbread cookie dough recipe and instructions for making the cookie pieces here. Pre-colored, ready-made fondant will greatly reduce assembly time and is easy to work with if you’re a fondant novice. Just be sure to knead it well before using.
You Will Need:
1/3 cup candy melts
4 oz Olive green ready-made fondant
4 oz Black ready-made fondant
4 oz Red ready-made fondant
4 oz Brown ready-made fondant
4 oz White ready-made fondant
2 oz Primary green ready-made fondant
Unsweetened cocoa powder
One sugar pearl or metallic dragée
Candy mushrooms (Chocorooms)
Green and red sprinkles
1 ½ -2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 ½-inch and 1-inch round fondant cutters or bottle caps
Optional: Leaf fondant cutter
Choose a display for your gingerbread house. I used an ash wood cutting board because of its rustic detail.
Step 1: Place candy melts in a microwave safe bowl and heat at 30 second increments until stirred smooth. Transfer melted candy to a zip-top bag with the corner snipped.
Step 2: Pipe a generous amount of melted candy on the inside of a half circle at the rounded end. Stand the gingerbread half circles upright with the bottom pieces about 3-4-inches apart. Hold the pieces in place as you pipe a line of melted candy around the base. Hold pieces together until they are secure. The candy melts will harden quickly, so this shouldn’t take very long.
Step 3: Roll out the piece of olive green fondant to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out leaf-shaped pieces with a fondant leaf cutter or cut them free-hand. Make leaf impressions in the leaf cut-outs with the back of a knife. Cover leaf cut-outs with plastic wrap so they don’t dry out.
Step 4: Roll together leftover scraps of olive green fondant. Use pieces to cover each open end of the house, adhering them by brushing the pieces with corn syrup.
Step 5: Brush the back of the leaf cut-outs with corn syrup and attach them to one end of the house, working your way up to the top center. Repeat process on the other side.
Step 6: Shape a little of the black fondant into a tube shape and thread it on a toothpick. Fashion a small square to sit on top of the tube, creating the chimney. Press the chimney piece through the fondant at the top right of the house.
Step 7: Dust leaves with cocoa powder for a variegated appearance.
Step 8: Roll 2 oz. of the red fondant to ¼-inch thickness and cut out a small triangular piece for the door. Striate with a toothpick to give it a wood plank appearance. Adhere the door to the house by brushing the back with corn syrup. Press the sugar pearl or dragée into the door to create a doorknob.
Step 9: Roll out the brown ready-made fondant and cut into long strips with a plain-edge knife. Striate with a toothpick. Place strips around the door and onto the house as desired. Adhere using corn syrup applied with an artists’ brush. Use the sharp end of a toothpick to add “nail holes” to the wood detail on the house.
Step 10: Create a window and Christmas wreath with the graduated round fondant cutters or bottle caps (one bottle cap should be at least 1/2-inch larger than the other). For the wreath, coat the fondant in corn syrup and cover with green and red sprinkles. Allow to dry slightly and attach to the house using corn syrup to adhere.
Step 11: Place clumps of the white fondant in “snowdrifts” around the door.
Step 12: Sprinkle some of the confectioners’ sugar around the house using a sieve, covering the “ground” completely.
Note: Mushrooms can be made out of leftover brown and red fondant, or use Chocorooms chocolate mushroom-shaped candies which can be found at international markets.
Step 13: Press the mushroom stems into the fondant snowdrifts around the door so they stand upright. Dust entire gnome home with additional powdered sugar.
All photographs by Heather Baird.