Bernard’s gingerbread dough

Bernard's Gingerbread Recipe

Whether you are building an enchanted gingerbread village or a single chalet, Bernard's Gingerbread Dough and Royal Icing recipes will not let you down. They come from Hallmark cookie expert Bernard Shondell who has been sculpting in gingerbread for decades. This is his favorite gingerbread dough recipe for building gingerbread houses because it is firmer and holds its shape when baked. And this Royal Icing is the perfect choice for assembling and decorating gingerbread houses because it won't cause your house to soften or collapse, a hazard of other butter or shortening icings.

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1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¾ cup molasses
5 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. cloves
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup ice cold water

Bernard’s royal icing


  1. Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add molasses and blend at low speed until incorporated, scraping the bowl once or twice during mixing.
  2. Sift flour, baking soda, all spices and salt together, and add to the mixture. Once incorporated, mixture will be dry and crumbly.
  3. Add water to mixture until incorporated.
  4. Cover the dough and chill overnight or at least 3 hours.

Tip: To create a Christmas chalet, base, tall trees and some extra cookies, you’ll need to double this recipe. If you just want to create the chalet with some cookies, one batch will be enough.

You can turn your gingerbread into adorable cookie faces featuring your friends, family and pets, too!

Bernard’s baking tips
  • Recipes that contain eggs are better for eating but are sometimes too soft for construction purposes.
  • A heavy-duty mixer is best for this recipe; if you don’t have one, some hand mixing or kneading may be necessary.
  • I prefer to transfer my dough to a 1-gallon-size plastic freezer bag to chill-it keeps the dough airtight and is easier to handle.