Most of the gingerbread houses I make are pretty laden with candy, like this one from last year:
But it's a lot of fun to work just with royal icing and gingerbread itself as the only decoration.
When I was working on this house, decorated only with royal icing, I had to figure out a way to make a cobblestone path that didn't involve my usual candy methods. I thought about Drawing flagstone-like lines on a solid piece of gingerbread, or crumbling up gingerbread into dirt and tiles, but I ended up liking this simple cobblestone technique best.
Making the gingerbread cobblestones is incredibly easy. All you need is a little bit of the dough.
Roll little balls of the dough in various sizes, then squish with your finger. Don't worry about being precise; you want the cobblestones to be irregular, in different shapes and sizes.
Bake the cobblestones for 2-3 minutes at 375. They don't take long at all, since they're so small. Spread a bed of white royal icing over the base of the gingerbread house, and simply set the gingerbread stones in place.
Hmm, I wonder what would happen if I didn't squish the stones? It might make a really charming gingerbread stone wall. I'll have to try that this weekend! I'm making a gingerbread cathedral that could really use a lovely stone wall...
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: