3 quick tips from Clasen’s on constructing a gingerbread house

The expert herself, Michelle Clasen of Clasen’s European Bakery, shares some of her own gingerbread house-making tips.
Two red, green and white gingerbread houses sit next to each other.
Make your own gingerbread house with a Clasen's European Bakery kit, which comes with candy, white chocolate "glue," and instructions.

Just because Christmas has passed doesn’t mean you can’t still put together a festive gingerbread house. The family-owned and Middleton-based Clasen’s European Bakery (7610 Donna Drive, Middleton) is offering a Gingerbread House Kit with instructions to put together your own masterpiece. And while Clasen’s secret recipes are kept in the family, passed down generation after generation, owner Michelle Clasen was willing to share her best tips:

  1. First and foremost, focus on the structure.
    Bakers should prioritize the stability and sturdiness of the structure. Clasen Bakery suggests using melted chocolate as “glue” to maintain a sturdy house and attach all of the pieces together before letting it dry. Finally, the remaining chocolate should be used to glue candy to the house. With all the messiness that comes with baking, accept that perfection does not exist. “First of all, there is nothing like a perfect gingerbread house. Once you accept that you should have a lot of fun,” Clasen says.
  2. Decorate and buy the most festive candies from local shops.
    “The really fun part of building a Gingerbread House is decorating it. Anything goes! I recommend using what comes inside your kit but also ‘looking out of the box,’” she says. See if you have any of your favorite sweet treats, nuts or pretzels. With white chocolate “glue,” pre-cut gingerbread pieces, candy and chocolates, making a gingerbread house takes a little practice, but it’s doable. Just make sure not to eat too much candy along the way.
  3. Enjoy the process and don’t take it too seriously.
    “Remember: This is your own creation. When it is done you can sit back and decide what you will do differently next year!” Clasen says, with one final tip. “A little dusting of powder sugar always looks nice!”

Gaby Vinick is an editorial intern for Madison Magazine.

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