Della Frigano, 5, left, and Nora Frigano, 3, from West...

Della Frigano, 5, left, and Nora Frigano, 3, from West Islip decorate a gingerbread house at Gingerbread University at The Shoppes in Wading River on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. Credit: Morgan Campbell

Searching for the right gingerbread house for your family and friends can feel like buying a house on HGTV's “House Hunters.” You could buy a “fixer upper” gingerbread house that comes without icing and needs to be decorated. You might be looking for one with an open concept that has character (stained glass windows made of melted hard candies). If you have a large family, a two-foot-tall gingerbread house could be your wisest choice, even if it’s at a higher price point.

Long Island bakery owners and cake designers will work diligently within your gingerbread house budgets to try to accommodate all your wants and needs. As Daniele Messina, co-owner of Long Island's Dortoni Bakery, puts it, “If you can dream it, we can create it.”

Here are some types of gingerbread houses for sale locally. Each comes with amenities that might sway you in one direction or another. Which gingerbread house would be right for you?

VINTAGE CHARM WITH OPEN CONCEPT

Yamirys Raposo decorates a gingerbread house at Dortoni Bakery in...

Yamirys Raposo decorates a gingerbread house at Dortoni Bakery in Levittown, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. The bakery sells a variety of gingerbread houses including this large version which stands about two feet tall. Credit: Danielle Silverman

If you’d love to buy an old-style gingerbread house that has a large, open space inside, the two-foot-tall gingerbread house by Dortoni Bakery might be your best bet. If you need space to put a surprise gift inside the house, Messina will help you make it happen. He says with a smile, “Over the years we’ve done so many crazy things. We’ve put engagement rings inside a gingerbread house or the keys to a new car. We love special requests. It keeps us excited about what we do.”

Though the open concept has a contemporary feel, the houses in the bakery also have vintage charm. All three sizes offered are prepared with the family’s century-old gingerbread recipe. Messina says, “It’s so good, there’s no reason to change it.” Gingerbread houses are made in the shop from scratch and decorated with a huge variety of traditional candies. Many customers buy the houses right off the shelves. Others who prefer to do home improvement projects order a plain house with decorations and icing on the side.

Both Christmas and Hannukah gingerbread houses are on the shelves, or you can order a gingerbread house that combines the two occasions. Lastly, the houses come with security systems: a snowman stands at the front door.

INFO: Dortoni Bakery & Pastry Shops: Located in Commack, East Norwich, Levittown, Port Jefferson, Huntington coming soon; dortonibakery.com. Prices begin at $36.99

INNOVATIVE GINGERBREAD HOUSES AND VACATION HOMES

Owner Fred Terry demonstrates gingerbread frosting techniques with Della Frigano,...

Owner Fred Terry demonstrates gingerbread frosting techniques with Della Frigano, 5, left, and Nora Frigano, 3, from West Islip, at Gingerbread University at The Shoppes in Wading River on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. Credit: Morgan Campbell

If one person in your family wants a stucco-style gingerbread house, while another insists on a candy cane Colonial, there’s a way to please both. Create a combination of the two types of homes during a guided activity at Gingerbread University in Wading River.

Each person is given a gingerbread house — made using a recipe developed 100 years ago by Gingerbread University  creator Frederick Terry’s family in North Fork — to work on. 

Participants also receive a collection of candies, pretzels, candy canes, chocolates, and icing. Terry says, “Once you have the gingerbread house, you can do anything. Some people want to do roofs with Frosted Flakes. Some do different motifs.” He and his staff offer a bit of instruction but recognize most people have specific ideas and want to do their own thing.

The store also features ready-made gingerbread houses to purchase on the spot, store-made gingerbread house kits to work with at home; and a new product: chocolate gingerbread dough.

“We’ve done Hanukkah and Kwanzaa houses. We did a Winter Wonderland house with a ski slope on the roof. We do Log Cabins. We do a sweetheart house for Valentine’s Day, an Easter bunny Hutch in the spring, even a Hamptons Summer Cottage including a swimming pool with gummy sharks,” Terry explains.

INFO: Gingerbread University: 5768 NY-25A, Wading River; 631-727-7309; gingerbreaduniversity.com; prices begin at $17.50

GINGERBREAD HOUSE WITH LARGE YARD

If a gingerbread house with plenty of property is your dream, you’ll find it at the Chocolate Duck in Farmingdale. Gingerbread kits are sold in the shop, and each includes a large board to place it on. Cover the board with edible snow and you’ll have an instant yard to fill with goodies. 

“We sell all the tools you’ll need to make the home, royal icing as the glue, and countless, edible decorations you can buy separately,” says Christina Bisbee, pastry chef/owner. That includes edible penguins, reindeer, Santas, Christmas lights and snowmen. The shop also features a huge line of decorative sugars to create edible snowflakes, snow, characters and more.

Alternatively, Bisbee likes to create custom ordered gingerbread houses. “I love to get a sense of a customer’s vision and bring it to life. On a Victorian gingerbread house, I’d use Necco wafers to create colored turrets. Tootsie Rolls would make a great Mediterranean look.”

Bisbee often partners with professional cake designer Jean Schapowal, 57, of Hicksville. As a team, they have won Food Network “Big Bake” challenges. Schapowal has also won The Chocolate Duck’s gingerbread building competition for the past nine years and will be competing internationally next fall. She welcomes requests for custom built gingerbread houses.

If you like to add a personal touch to your home, Bisbee says, “I always encourage people to look around their houses. Look at your cereal boxes and what you have in your kitchen that’s edible to use when creating a gingerbread house.”

INFO: The Chocolate Duck: 310 Main St., Farmingdale; 516-249-0887; chocolateduck.com; gingerbread kits $15.99

GINGERBREAD COLONIALS

If one person in your family insists on a Colonial style gingerbread house, Rocco’s Bakery in Glen Cove has it covered. Gingerbread houses in the shop have exterior walls designed to look as if they are made of brick, and candy cane columns line the entranceway. All homes also come with front and back doors that open. Other perks include snow-covered interior floors and Santa on his sleigh along with a full set of reindeer on the roof.

INFO: St. Rocco’s Bakery; 4 Saint Rocco’s Place, Glen Cove; 516-427-5333; gingerbread house price: $45

QUAINT WITH GREAT CURB APPEAL

If you want an edible home but don't like gingerbread, the perfect compromise is on a shelf in Chocolicious Chocolatier in Locust Valley. The shop is filled with milk chocolate houses or order a dark or white chocolate version. From a distance, many of the houses look as if they have two stories. Additional amenities: each window has a candle in it, shutters, and a frost covered pane. The home comes with chocolate doorknobs and candy path.

INFO: Chocolicious Chocolatier Inc: 74 Birch Hill Rd., Locust Valley; 516-671-6835; chocolicious.com/Default.asp; prices begin at $59

GINGERBREAD HOMES AT LOWER PRICE POINTS

If you’d prefer to purchase a house at a lower price point and save money to decorate with edible furnishings, Big Lots offers plenty of choices. Buy a Pez Build Your Own Gingerbread house kit, Sour Patch version, Oreo, Reese’s, Jelly Belly and Minnie or Mickey Mouse style. With all these themes to choose from, your home will never be cookie cutter.

INFO: Big Lots: 7 Long Island locations: Carle Place, Hicksville, Copiague, West Babylon, Bay Shore, Holbrook, Centereach; biglots.com; gingerbread house prices begin at $6.99