The Slavic tale of the child-eating witch Baba Yaga and her magical hut has always fascinated me.

Who wouldn’t like to live in a cute fairy-tale cottage, conveniently built on chicken legs, that can spin and relocate on command? It’s a lazy witch’s dream. And what better way to pay homage to such a fantastic domain than with a gorgeous and delicious gingerbread confection that has its own faux chicken legs?

Re-creating Baba Yaga’s iconic home as a fabulous dessert was tricky. It’s all in the feet. And faux chicken feet of the right size to support a gingerbread house are not as easy to acquire as I’d first thought! After what seemed like ages of searching, I walked into a local craft store and there it stood: A perfect little pillar candleholder perched above forged metal chicken feet. The top was much too small hold my Baba Yaga’s magical, edible hut, but thankfully my woodworker husband was eager to create a larger one. I feel that Baba Yaga herself was looking out for me!

What follows is a recipe for delicious gingerbread that may or may not make a lovely home for a ferocious folkloric witch with a bad reputation. If you want the full effect, I suggest keeping your eyes peeled for chicken-clawed candleholders or figuring out a way to fashion your own … and, of course, when dealing with Baba Yaga, always keep your children safe!

Construction Grade Gingerbread

½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temperature
⅔ cup light brown sugar
3½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 egg, at room temperature
½ cup molasses

Sift the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Sift again to combine.

Set aside. Cream together the butter and the sugar with your electric mixer until just blended. Scrape down the sides.

Add the egg and molasses, and mix on a low setting until well incorporated. Add in the flour mixture slowly. I like to use a large spoon and add a spoonful at a time until there are no dry ingredients left.

Stop periodically to scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is blended evenly. The dough should be dry but not crumbly.

Pull dough out of the mixer and divide into thirds. Wrap each third in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

When Ready to Bake

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Make or purchase a template for your house parts. You can find gingerbread house templates online with a simple search. I made mine out of cardboard that I can cut around with a knife.

Place the chilled dough on top of the floured surface. Roll side to side and up and down until it’s an even quarter-inch thick and makes a rough square shape. Lay your template pieces out on the dough and cut as many pieces as you can. Place the excess dough to the side.

Carefully slide a floured spatula under each piece and transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Don’t be afraid to add more flour if anything is stuck. Roll out and repeat the process with remaining dough until you have all the pieces you need.

Place the cutouts in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes before baking. Bake the house pieces for 8 to 12 minutes (depending on size) or until just set. Allow to cool thoroughly on a fresh sheet of parchment.

Gingerbread House Glue

¾ cup egg whites (about 6 large eggs’ worth)
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
Food coloring, optional

Add the egg whites and cream of tartar to the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip together until light and frothy.

Slowly add in the powdered sugar a half cup at a time until 4 cups are incorporated. If the mixture appears too wet, add in more powdered sugar until you get a gluelike consistency.

You can add brown food-safe coloring at the end so that the glue matches the color of the house if desired. Alternatively, you can melt down marshmallows over low heat to use as glue.

I used cake crumbs to make the moss on the roof. I simply colored a white cake with green food-safe coloring before baking. Once the cake was baked and cooled, I broke it into moss-like crumbs.

I then brushed the glue on to attach the cake crumbs to the roof. Using the glue, connect the house pieces. Work level by level, starting with the lower walls. Wait until the glue has completely hardened before moving on to the next level, and work your way up to the roof.

Then decorate! I bedecked my house with homemade marzipan mushrooms and edible flowers and herbs. Have fun and make it your own!


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