• Baked gingerbread pieces (recipe and castle template below)
• Royal icing (recipe below)
• Food coloring gel (works better than grocery store bought liquid coloring)
• Cardboard base (or other flat surface that is easy to move around)
• Tin foil, parchment paper, or other medium to cover your cardboard surface with
• Sandwich ziplock bags or icing bags and tips
• Items for decoration (add, replace, or omit to the list as you wish)-
• Ice cream cones (buy green if available)
• Crows black gumdrops
• Spearmint leaves gumdrops
• Red lollipop
• Assorted color gumdrops
• Pretzel rods
1. Print and cut out templates. When printing the castle templates (PDF file below), be sure the print setting it set to "actual size." Feel free to scale them larger or smaller before printing if you want your castle to be a different size. In addition to the castle templates, I also printed out an 8-bit Mario (that I found on Google images) at a scale of 2 inches tall.
3. Place one of your paper templates on the dough. Using a thin, sharp, and flat-edged blade, cut around the paper pattern. Remove the pattern but leave your piece in place. Trim excess dough leaving roughly a 1/2 inch border around your initial cut line (this will help the pattern keep as you bake the gingerbread). Remove excess dough, which can be rerolled.
5. Remove it from the oven. Place your pattern back on top of the gingerbread and trim the piece, cutting edges with a straight-edged sharp knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.
6. Repeat steps 2-5 until all your template pieces have been baked. We made 6 batches of dough using the below recipe (2 triples batches). For reference, we had about 1/2 - 1 batch of dough left after all of our baking. This included the creation of a 2D staircase and inner castle roof, neither of which we ended up using in the final design. We baked 2 pattern pieces on separate pans at a time in the oven. The baking process is the longest part of this project due to the large-sized pieces and limited oven space.
7. Prepare your royal icing. 1 batch was enough for all our gluing and detail work.
1. Place your royal icing in a ziplock bag and cut a small bit of the corner off. This will be your piping tool and will allow you to create fine lines (or larger lines if the hole is cut bigger) with the icing.
2. Window and door silhouettes- Flatten out your crow gumdrops using a rolling pin (I rolled mine between 2 layers of wax paper). If they are slightly stiff, pop them in the microwave for 5 seconds (no longer or they'll start to melt and will stick to everything). Overlap and combine 4-5 flattened pieces and roll again. Cut out your window (x8 or x12 if detailing back side of castle too) and door (x1) shapes (I just made paper patterns using computer paper -see image for further detail).
4. If you don't plan on eating your castle, draw horizontal brick guide lines using a marker for icing simplicity. We spaced our lines at 3/4 inches tall.
5. Pipe your brick lines on using the frosting. Continual lines work best. Use a reference image if you need further assistance with the vertical lines. Allow the frosting to harden before moving on (5-20 minutes). Just so you know, this step went surprisingly fast for me!
(It helps to have a friend or partner for these steps)
1. Prep your build surface. We set up a card table to build our castle on for mobility and to leave the kitchen table open. We covered a sheet of cardboard in tin foil for the actual build surface.
2. Building the inner castle- Glue your front piece down to your covered cardboard surface using the royal icing. Have a helper hold in place, or use objects to hold it up. Place royal icing on the left edge of the front piece and on the bottom of one of the side pieces -glue the two together. Add extra icing to the inside and outside corner joint and smooth out with finger. Add icing to the left and bottom sides of the back piece and glue into place. Add icing the right sides of the front and back pieces and to the bottom of the right side piece. Put in place and reinforce corner joints (you may only be able to reach the top half of the inside corners now). My apologies for the lack of photos in-build... The side walls act as end caps for the front and back. Please see photos for detail and ask questions if something doesn't make sense!
3. Repeat step 2 for the outer castle walls. Once you have all 4 sides in place, the structure should be pretty sound. We let the icing dry for a couple minutes more and by then it was solid.
• Castle flag- Cover an extra piece of rectangle shaped gingerbread in white icing. Pipe a red star using colored icing and glue it to a pretzel rod. Allow to dry, then glue it to the interior inner castle wall. Hold in place for a couple minutes while the icing sets.
• End of level flag- Repeat the above using a triangular shaped piece of gingerbread. Pipe on a green circle instead of a star. Stick the base of the pretzel rod through a marshmallow, glue to your base, then cover the marshmallow using brown colored icing. Again, hold steady until the icing hardens.
• Using 3 colors of icing, pipe the details onto your Mario gingerbread piece. Once dry, glue his feet down.
• Piranha plant- Color the stick of your lollipop green. Use icing to glue on 2 peppermint leave gumdrops. Pipe a mouth and spots using your icing.
• Warp pipe- If you couldn't find green ice cream cones (only red, blue, and purple available at our store), coat your cone in green colored icing and glue to the base. Insert 2 marshmallows, the 1st vertical, the other horizontal. Insert your piranha plant lollipop stick into the marshmallows for support. Cover the top of the pipe and surrounding base of the plant in frosting and allow it to harden.
• Add other Mario details as you wish!
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup light molasses or dark corn syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water (more may be necessary)
Mix together all but the flour and water until smooth. Blend in the flour and water until a stiff dough is formed. Chill for 30 minutes or until firm. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and bake at 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until the dough is firm to the touch.
1 pound (3-3/4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
1 to 2 large egg whites, or substitute 4 teaspoons packaged egg whites and 1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon almond extract, vanilla or lemon juice
(water as needed)
Mix all of the ingredients together in a (glass) bowl using a mixer, until the icing is smooth and thin enough to be squeezed through a pastry bag with a writing tip or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off. Store excess icing that isn't being used in the fridge with a damp cloth covering the bowl. Allow it to warm to room temperature before using again.
Roof pattern is included. My roof swelled during baking and I didn't feel like filing it down to make it fit. It's there if you'd like to work with it though!
Have any questions about the build process? Please let me know!
What other details did you add to your Mario castle gingerbread house -stairs, coin blocks, etc.??
So...I don't like black licorice, dislike mint, and don't care for gumdrops....who wants all my extra candy?! :-)