The blank expanse of a gingerbread house roof can seem vast indeed. An extensive blank canvas, just waiting to be filled with candy decorations, with no interruptions from windows or doors. Sometimes it's hard to know where to start.
Candy is a common choice for shingling gingerbread roofs. Necco Wafers and Snowcaps make indisputably charming housetops. But decorating the roof of a gingerbread house entirely with candy shingles uses a lot of materials—more than you'd guess--and it's an option that can get expensive quickly. Happily, there are many different methods of decorating gingerbread houses. Let's look beyond the classic candy roof at some of our other options.
One charming, inexpensive alternative is a shingled roof made out of gingerbread. Well, more gingerbread, that is.
Start by rolling out your gingerbread dough, just as you would to make the larger pieces of the house. Use a small circle cutter to make the circle shapes.
Bake at 375 degrees, but split up the dough circles into three small batches.
Bake the small circles of gingerbread dough in batches: one batch for six minutes, one batch for nine minutes, and one batch for 12 minutes. The longer baking times make darker cookies, and the slight variation of color on the roof looks more interesting and realistic.
To attach the gingerbread shingles to the roof, pipe a thick line of royal icing directly on the roof. Apply the circles, one at a time, to the icing. Pipe another line of icing just above the first row, and add more circles, this time offsetting the circles so that each circle is centered where the two circles below touch. If you want the edges to line up perfectly, you'll need to cut some of the circles in half. While it's possible to cut cool cookies in half with a sharp knife, it's much easier to do it while the cookies are still hot, just out of the oven.
The extra shingles, stacked up, also make a lovely chimney.
Add a sprinkling of powdered sugar for the perfect, snowy finishing touch.
What's your favorite way to decorate gingerbread roofs? Cereal? Candy? Just icing?
Thinking about making a real gingerbread house this year? Check out my new e-book with all of the recipes, tips, techniques you'll need, and five different gingerbread house templates: