Gingerbread House Do's and Don'ts - Rachael Ray Every Day

Gingerbread House Do's and Don'ts

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Make your gingerbread house look anything but cookie-cutter—even if you're working from a store-bought kit—with tips from beth "Ginger Betty" Veneto, owner of Ginger Betty's Bakery in Quincy, MA., and multiyear winner at the Boston Christmas Festival's famed Gingerbread House Competition. Read on for her delicious do's and definite don'ts.

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DO

Make a mischievous Rudolph by coating a marshmallow in melted chocolate, adding pretzels for antlers, red candy for a nose and paper-doll sunglasses for an—ahem—clever disguise. Place him so he's peeping out from behind a tree, thanks to a lollipop stick or skewer.

Transform ice cream cones into trees (coat with green frosting, then decorate with candy ornaments or sprinkles).

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Build a fence out of pretzels. You can go the straight-up rod route, as we did here, or stand a series of traditional looped pretzels upside down. Use frosting as mortar.

Pile and scatter shredded coconut for sweet snowdrifts.

Gussy up your gingerbread men (or toy figures) with fun accessories. Licorice or any other candy that comes in strips makes for a cute muffler.

Place Peppermint Pattie candies or cookies as "pavers" to form a pathway to your house.

DON'T

Build on a rainy day or store your house in the fridge. Under these conditions, moisture can seep in a make the walls wilt.

Start decorating the house too soon. The frosting that holds the structural elements together should be 100 percent dry first. Every house is different, but give yours at least eight hours to set.

Now that you know how to build the gingerbread house of your dreams, find out how you can win $2,000 from Trulia!