You know the great thing about decorating gingerbread houses? All the awesome choices! Take the windows for example. So many options to choose from. You’ve got graham crackers, fondant, icing, or just empty space. Or if you prefer the more realistic approach, there’s the edible glass option. That’s what I did for my most recent gingerbread house.
Making edible glass is actually quite simple. However, like any seemingly easy recipe, there are a few things you need to know before attempting to make the glass. So let me drop some knowledge on you. We will start with the ingredients you will need.
1 cup sugar (granulated)
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup water
Shortening (for greasing, not cooking)
Grease a cookie sheet with some shortening. Put a small pot on the stove and set to high heat. Add the sugar, corn syrup and water. Use a whisk or fork to mix the ingredients together while heating. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. When it reaches 300 degrees, remove the pot from the heat and pour the mix onto your greased cookie sheet. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Like I said, seems pretty simple. Well… I still managed to mess it up a few times before getting it right. So let me give you some tips for getting the best outcome.
Don’t skip on the shortening: I tried pouring the mix onto a cookie sheet without the shortening and it was a disaster. I couldn’t get the glass to come off. It broke in a few places. It was a nightmare to clean. I couldn’t use any of it. I also tried using parchment paper, but that didn’t work either. The mix was too hot and made the paper wack out.
Make sure to stir frequently: If you don’t stir the mixture right, the sugar can burn. So make sure to stir as frequently as possible. The whole process only takes a matter of minutes.
Use a thermometer: I know it seems like 300 degrees is an arbitrary number, but I assure you it is not. I tried boiling the mixture for a few minutes without taking the temperature. It looked the exact same as it did the times I did take the temperature, but the mix never hardened. It stayed gloppy and sticky for hours until I gave up on it. If you do not have a thermometer, err of the side of overcooking. I probably boiled my mixture for at least 5 minutes before it reached 300 degrees, but my stove top is crazy efficient. So if you don’t have a thermometer, I would boil for closer to 10 minutes. If it’s boiled too long, the glass may take on a slight yellow tint, but at least it will still harden.
Clean the windows: When you scoop the windows off the greased cookie sheet, they are left with a thin film from the shortening. I’d suggest wiping them as best as possible before gluing them to the gingerbread. It makes them clearer and easier to work with. I forgot this step and my windows were very cloudy and slippery because of it, and loose gingerbread crumbs stuck to them.
Make sure your cookie sheet is flat: I used a cookie sheet that had the word “Calphalon” ridged into the center of it. When I poured my glass over it, it actually indented my glass window with the word. So just avoid anything but flat, clear surfaces.
Use a mold: This is one tip that I have not actually practiced, but makes a lot of sense in theory. Use a mold for your windows if you have one. I poured my mix into little puddles and it worked just fine, but all the extra glass made them heavy and awkward to “glue” onto the house. I wish I’d created some rectangular molds to shape the windows. Next time! Clay or Play-Doh would probably work.
Use icing “cement” to glue the windows to the gingerbread.
The edible glass window look is my favorite of all the gingerbread house window options. I will probably use it every time now. You could even put a light inside the house that you will be able to see through the windows. I frickin love this time of year!