Not Martha

a tiny gingerbread house that perches on the edge of your mug

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I made tiny gingerbread houses that are meant to be perched on the edge of a mug of hot chocolate.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I had been thinking about those sugar cubes that hook on the rim of a teacup earlier this month, and I was also thinking about 3-D cookies and how they fit together and figured it would be pretty neat to make cookies that hang on the edge of a mug. I thought I was being so brilliant but it only took a few seconds to discover that a flat cookie on the edge of a mug has already been done. So I started wondering what else I could do. At the time I was making a bunch of gingerbread recipes trying to find one that would hold up for my partridge in a pear tree cookie, so a gingerbread house was on my mind.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I made a few versions to figure out how to make one that wasn’t so top heavy that it would flip off the mug, and how small I could get away with and still fit on both large and small cups. I generally followed the size of my The Mini Gingerbread House Kit (though, those pieces don’t fit together as nicely as I’d have liked).

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I’ve made a PDF pattern of gingerbread house pieces which you can open or download right here. My only instruction is that you should make sure that the wall pieces are to be sandwiched on the inside of the door pieces, that way the roof fits on properly. I included two door pieces you can choose from, one at 3/8ths inch wide and one at 1/2 inch wide. I found that a 3/8ths inch door, or slot, fits most mugs but the 1/2 can be used for your really big and heavy mugs. I traced the pieces onto this template page at 9:54 in the evening, please forgive the sloppiness but I’m getting tired, let’s just call the untidy lines charming.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I used the Gingerbread Snowflake and the Royal Icing recipes from

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I rolled it out onto a sheet of tin foil at 1/8th inch thick. I skipped a silicone mat because I use a paring knife for the corner details and didn’t want to accidentally cut down to the layers of glass fibers, and after some trial I found that parchment paper will warp after being chilled and then stuck in an oven which can distort some shapes.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I used a dull sewing pattern roller (like a small pizza cutter) to go around most sides. You can do all of one side than turn the entire sheet of tin foil 90 degrees to do all of the next side, this makes the process go a bit faster. Try to fit all the pieces for each individual house in the same batch, I found my batches browned differently from each other. Lift the excess dough up from the tin foil, not moving your cut out shapes at all, this will help them keep their shape. Then slide the tin foil sheet onto a cookie sheet and put both in the freezer for about 15 minutes, you want the dough really well chilled before baking.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I used a (well cleaned) flat head screwdriver to get in the detail around the doors, then a paring knife to make sure the corners are cut cleanly.

Here are some tips, most of these are in the recipe but I don’t want you to overlook them:

  • After making it divide the dough into thirds (I made half a recipe) wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Make the royal icing while it’s chilling, you’ll need it before you make all the gingerbread you are planning on.
  • Roll the dough out to 1/8th of an inch. It seems impossibly thin but you be cutting the shapes and pulling the excess dough from around them so your pieces won’t be too disturbed. Feel free to nudge your shapes back into squares before chilling them again.
  • Preheat the oven, roll the dough out on tin foil, cut your shapes and lift off the excess dough, slide the tin foil onto your cookie sheet, now put the cookie sheet into the freezer for at least 15 minutes before baking. This will keep the gingerbread from spreading too much.
  • Make a single test house with your chosen door width. This sounds like a pita, and it will be, but it will be far less trouble than the frustration of finding none of your finished houses fit on mugs. Knowing now that you need to cut a wider door is worth it.
  • I found that dough chilled for only an hour puffed up quite a bit, but didn’t necessarily spread if the cut out shapes were chilled in the freezer. Dough that had been in the fridge overnight, or even the second day (it’ll keep for a few days) puffed up quite a bit less, perhaps because the baking powder had lost it’s mojo by this time?
  • If you suspect your intended mugs are thicker and sturdier than usual grab some cardstock or a magazine insert and cut a few different slots — 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch wide, about two inches deep (or tall). The one that slides easily onto the edge of you mug and even has a little wiggle room is the width you want for your door.
  • If your gingerbread should spread and the doors look too narrow to you, you can trim them when the gingerbread is just out of the oven before it sets and cools too much. I suggest a paring knife and trimming just a bit from either side of the door.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

I decided to only decorate the roofs for now. I might make these again next year and get more detailed with the decorations. I used a variety of sugars and sprinkles. One note, I discovered that candy cane dust will stick together so well that it will not show any piping detail beneath it. I liked the way regular sanding sugar made the roof sparkle a bit, though I couldn’t capture the cuteness in my pictures.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

Don’t fill your mug of hot chocolate too full, you don’t want the bottom of your gingerbread house to get soggy.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

Can you tell the crushed candy cane one was my favorite?

I would be these would be fantastic made out of sugar cookie or shortbread dough. You could certainly leave them undecorated, or perhaps press sanding sugar into the roof pieces before baking. On the other hand I’m curious to see what one would look like covered in pieces of tiny candies. I’m also planning on making house-shaped marshmallows that will fit on the edge of the mug.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

update: I made a few variations including a chimney and a version made out of sugar cookie dough which you might be interested in.

a few variations on my tiny gingerbread houses

· comments [677] · 12-18-2009 · categories:christmas · food ·

677 responses so far ↓

  • 1 LeAnn // Dec 20, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Okay, maybe it’s been done before, but NOT AS CUTE AS THIS!!! Pat yourself on the back for me.
    Thanks! :)

  • 2 36 Festive Goodies and Recipes for a Merry Christmas! | Sparklette Food & Travel Blog // Dec 20, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    […] Confections of a Foodie Bride30. Tiny gingerbread house for your mug Photo credit and recipe: not marthaThe tiniest gingerbread house is made to balance on the rim of a mug.31. Peppermint hot chocolate […]

  • 3 Charlotte // Dec 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    These are so cute! This was a very creative idea. I think I am going to try to make them.

  • 4 Crystalyn Kae // Dec 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    oh my god. you have really done it now! AMAZING!

  • 5 Shannon (The Daily Balance) // Dec 20, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    you are too much! these are simply adorable!

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  • 7 Allison // Dec 20, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    These are so awesome and make me want to be BFF with you.

  • 8 Kristen // Dec 20, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    um, I think you are a genius….craft amazing…

  • 9 Karen G // Dec 20, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Wicked cool idea! I can’t wait to make these!

  • 10 Cate // Dec 21, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Adorable! I’ll be making them this week for sure!!

  • 11 World’s Strangest | Gingerbread Houses For Mug Edges // Dec 21, 2009 at 1:09 am

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  • 12 Chain Change » Blog Archive » Tiny Gingerbread Houses // Dec 21, 2009 at 3:59 am

    […] Martha shows us how to make tiny gingerbread houses that rest on the edge of your […]

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  • 14 Gatos Pingados // Dec 21, 2009 at 5:14 am

    […] colocar no meu outro blog. Por aqui eu quero compartilhar essa imagem linda que encontrei junto com passo-a-passo (em inglês). Vou fazer essa casinha, porém com a minha receita de biscoito de canela. Tem um […]

  • 15 Matt Chatterley // Dec 21, 2009 at 6:07 am

    Cutest biscuit ever, I suspect!

  • 16 Casas de Galletas « Posada 209 // Dec 21, 2009 at 7:58 am

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  • 18 a gingerbread house for your mug « A Silly Muse // Dec 21, 2009 at 8:23 am

    […] You can find the instructions and layout on Not Martha. […]

  • 19 Monica // Dec 21, 2009 at 8:49 am

    What a fabulous idea! With your permission I might have to post one of those sweets on my blog with your consent of course! Just delicious!

  • 20 arek // Dec 21, 2009 at 9:15 am

    cool idea!

  • 21 Splendid Little Stars // Dec 21, 2009 at 9:23 am

    This is so awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  • 22 Veronica // Dec 21, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I love it!!! Must try one day… doubt I’ll have time this Christmas, but who says you can only use gingerbread dough for this awesomeness??

  • 23 Erica // Dec 21, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Oh. My. God. You are seriously on fire. These are fantastic!!!

  • 24 Sue // Dec 21, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    O.K., I have made mini gingerbread houses before, but on the rim of a mug…brilliant! These are the cutest thing I’ve seen this Christmas!Kudos to you!

  • 25 Jessica F. // Dec 21, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    love love love :D

  • 26 Kim // Dec 21, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    LOVE THESE! I just need to decide if my family is worth the cuteness of these – I think they probably are!

  • 27 Novogodišnje 2 at Škrabalica // Dec 21, 2009 at 2:44 pm

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  • 28 marina guimarães // Dec 21, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    how many house does a recipe make?


  • 29 Sampler: Gingerbread Creations | The Sage of Discovery // Dec 21, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    […] for those of us who are not as gingerbread inclined, I liked this fresh idea from NotMartha: tiny gingerbread houses! What a great idea for hot cocoa! Mugs Row, […]

  • 30 Claudia // Dec 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    These are so so sweet! I must make them right away and just have them ready for Christmas when all the guests arrive. Thanks a million! I would never have come up with such an idea on my own. Merry Christmas and greetings to you from Germany

  • 31 Jenn // Dec 21, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    I LOVE this…how clever!

  • 32 Thavad // Dec 21, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    These represent some creative usage of gingerbread and might be immitated in even more indulgent means.
    I’m thinking bacon & cheddar.


  • 33 One More Thing Before We Go: Really Twee Gingerbread Houses - Fierce and Nerdy // Dec 21, 2009 at 3:32 pm

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  • 34 Peggy // Dec 21, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    These are too precious!

  • 35 barrie // Dec 21, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    your mug was on!

  • 36 Green gingerbread houses: 3 options for eco-foodie architects | green LA girl // Dec 21, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    […] Hot chocolate with a house garnish: Tiny Gingerbread House for Mug. Horrified by the un-eco, suburban size of the gingerLotus? If you’re the tiny house type, […]

  • 37 Krista // Dec 21, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Cute and yummy – the perfect combination!

  • 38 marla {Family Fresh Cooking} // Dec 21, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    I cannot believe how adorable these mini houses are. What a great idea. Your precision and attention to detail are amazing!!

  • 39 marla {Family Fresh Cooking} // Dec 21, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    BTW: Just tweeted a link to this post….I am blown away by your creativity :)

  • 40 The Week That Was 12/20: Week Off Edition | Caffeine-Fueled // Dec 21, 2009 at 9:31 pm

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  • 41 justJENN // Dec 21, 2009 at 11:40 pm


  • 42 yelda // Dec 22, 2009 at 12:57 am


  • 43 3D Gingerbread Mug Ornaments | Vidafine // Dec 22, 2009 at 1:32 am

    […] that) when I saw them. Inspired by the sugar cubes that are often found on tea cups, Megan from Not Martha decided to create these homemade decorations to perch on the edge of her Christmas mugs. After […]

  • 44 Lucy // Dec 22, 2009 at 3:21 am

    This is such an utterly gorgeous idea!! Beautiful, ingenious, festive – delicious :)

  • 45 Anita Turner // Dec 22, 2009 at 4:56 am

    I LOVE THESE HOUSES!!! Thanks for the fantastic idea. A great idea if one is having a cookie swap or a holiday gathering. Excellent!

  • 46 Ann Holland (Lets Party) // Dec 22, 2009 at 5:13 am

    These are super cool what a fantastic idea thanks for sharing

  • 47 60 hours til Christmas! « Badsparklythings // Dec 22, 2009 at 5:21 am

    […] 22, 2009 by badsparklythings And that is the reason I have no time to make these, even though I really, really want to. Ah well, there’s always Christmas 2010 to start […]

  • 48 rachel // Dec 22, 2009 at 6:35 am

    really creative! great work.

  • 49 Michaele Sommerville // Dec 22, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Absolutely brilliant and inspired- so glad to link back to you and your wonderful tutorial!

    Happy Holidays!

  • 50 Mini-Lebkuchenhaus für die Kaffetasse : Apfel(B)log // Dec 22, 2009 at 8:23 am

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