Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Gingerbread Houses

Create your fantasy house out of a Gingerbread. Pictured above is a house designed by an architect and a tried and true recipe from Windsor Village resident Kay Balue.

This time of year, it seems fitting to focus our real estate news on something delicious and attainable, Gingerbread Houses!

Longtime Windsor Village resident, Kay Balue told us about her family’s tradition of making Gingerbread houses every holiday. Helping her grandchildren decorate their own house was a highlight of each holiday.

Even the pandemic quarantines didn’t stop her. Balue told us she made each family a house which she delivered with all the decorations so the children could still have the holiday tradition. Balue told us she got the recipe years ago from her good friend Diane Gilmore who submitted it for The Ebell Juniors Cookbook. Sadly, we couldn’t get a copy of this treasured cookbook from the 1970s, but we do have Kay’s recipe below and photos of the well-used recipe cards.

The houses are ready for decorating by the Balue family.

as seen at our Children’s Christmas Party, 1978

Make your four cut -out patterns out of sturdy cardboard. Dust lightly with flour before using them on the dough.
Set oven at 350°

5 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 1/3 cups molasses
1 cup Crisco
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 beaten egg
(1 egg mixed with water for glaze)

Combine five dry ingredients in first column and set aside. Combine sour cream with baking powder and set aside.
Melt molasses, Crisco and brown sugar. Stir into dry ingredients.

Add sour cream mixture and beaten egg. Mix with wire whisk and then with hands. Mixture should be warm and shiny.
Add a little extra flour if the dough sticks to your hands.

Butter and flour two cookie sheets. Roll out a large handful of the dough on waxed paper. Dough should not be more than 1/4 inch thick or the roof may be too heavy and the house will collapse. (Kay explained her note at the top of the card to roll out the dough for roof a bit thinner and make the peaked sides a bit thicker to make your house more structurally sound.) Cut out two of the roof pattern and flip them over onto one cookie sheet. Brush with egg glaze.

Cut two front pieces and flip over onto second cookie sheet. Brush with egg glaze.

Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool a bit before removing to a flat surface to dry out completely.

Roll out remaining dough and cut two each of the sud door patterns. Flip onto cookie sheet and brush with egg glaze.
Bake 15 minutes, and remove to flat surface.

Allow pieces to dry for at least 24 hours before frosting.


3 egg whites at room temp.
1 frosting tube, 1 wide tip and 1 small tip, or any others you may have
4 cups or 1lb. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 lb. miscellaneous hard candies

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and continue to beat until stiff enough to hold a peak.

Decorating: Using a wide point on your frosting tube, pipe frosting along the side edges of the front pattern pieces and fit the side pieces to it, forming a 4-walled structure with pointed end pieces to support the roof. Let this dry for at least 15 minutes. Pipe frosting onto the peaked edges of the front and back pieces and gently lay on the roof pieces, meeting at the peak. Hold these pieces in place for 15 more minutes, or until the whole house seems firm. The frosting will harden like glue.

The doors may be decorated with frosting and hard candies before or after attaching them to the house with frosting.

Decorate the house with lots of candy and frosting. Use the fine tip to pipe window shapes and small details. Attach each piece of hard candy with a dab of frosting.

Allow house to dry at least 2 hours before moving. It is edible up to this point, but you may be sprayed with a plastic sealer to keep better from year to year.


Thanks to Kay, the additional numbers on the diagram are there in case you want to make smaller houses for young children.
If you’re more into architecture than baking, there are lots of great kits out there you can buy to assemble and decorate.  This one pictured was made with a Williams-Sonoma kit. It was assembled and decorated by Joanna Lombard. (photo from Joanna Lombard)
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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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