We began making gingerbread houses when my two oldest were 2 & 3 years old. It has become a tradition we all look forward to every year. It is always a blast! And now 13 years later it is still as fun as can be.
This year we’ve decided we wanted to create a village. Several of the kids made houses, one made a “mansion,” a couple others made some shops and stores (a candy store and The Pink Pig Bookstore), one made a church, and I made the Salt Lake Temple.
We use a basic template I created years ago. The house is just big enough to decorate with plenty of candy but not so big I have gingerbread dough coming out of my ears and I’m baking all day. . . well as much as baking ten gingerbread houses takes. 🙂
Every child gets their own house to decorate. Nobody has to share! That does make for a lot of baking and candy but ….it’s tradition!
|Hershey had help from Brownie. Can you tell she liked to taste the candy before it got put on the house?|
Here’s my favorite gingerbread cookie recipe. I cut it out of a Martha Stewart magazine years and years ago. Each recipe of dough will make about 4-5 houses. I make the dough, cut out and bake the pieces the day before our decorating day, and let them sit out overnight to harden up. Each child gets their own to decorate. I give them each their own small ziploc sandwich bag with a corner snipped off filled with royal icing and let them have at it.
1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses
5 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
Cream together margarine and sugar. Add molasses and mix well. Sift together dry ingredients. With mixer on low speed slowly add dry ingredients and 1/2 cup water to molasses mixture. Mix until smooth. Divide dough into two equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a rectangle. wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. On floured surface roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters or use template to make gingerbread house pieces. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Makes 4 dozen cookies or 4 gingerbread houses.
3 TBSP. meringue powder*
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
7 TBSP. water
Beat with electric mixer for 7 minutes or until stiff peaks form. If icing is too thick add 1 tsp. of water at a time until you get better consistency. I usually end up making three batches of this so there is enough for everyone. (We do have nine children after all).
* I buy the Wilton’s Meringue Powder that comes in a can in the cake decorating aisle.
♦ I cut up old boxes and cover the pieces with foil to put our houses on.
♦ Assemble the house first and let set for about 15 minutes so the icing has time to harden a little before decorating your house.
♦ Use your imagination to find candies, cookies, cereal, and other edible goodies for your house. We use sugar cones turned upside down for trees, shredded wheat for snowy rooftops, tootsie rolls for a pile of logs outside the house, swirled chocolate chips, gumdrops, red hots, M&M’s, candy canes, wafer cookies, the possibilities are endless.
♦ Don’t stress! Letting each child have thier own to decorate however they want is part of the fun. I love seeing the uniqueness of each house each year. It does get messy but that’s okay!
♦ Make extra house pieces to use in case someone does happen to break one of theirs. Honestly we’ve only ever had three pieces break in the 10 years we’ve been doing this.
♦ Invite friends over for a grand party! One of my daughter’s birthday is December 18. For her eighth birthday we had 12 kids gathered round the table making their own gingerbread houses. It was so much fun!
This temple was really fun to do! I just created an outline of the ends with the spires on paper. I cut around that template using a butter knife. The side pieces were just rectangles. I cut the tops using the stem end of a leaf cookie cutter to create the square cut-outs.
I transferred the pieces to foil lined baking sheets and cut out the windows. I used an apple corer to cut out the circles on the side pieces and a butter knife to cut out the long curved windows on the end pieces.
Then I sprinkled broken pieces of blue and purple jolly ranchers (any hard candy can be used). To break the candy place in a ziploc bag and pound away with a hammer or rolling pin. I baked the gingerbread as usual then let it cool completely on the pan before removing.
I softened starburst candy in the microwave for about 7 seconds to mold the Angel Moroni on top. It looks more like a honking duck than an angel blowing a trumpet!
Also don’t be surprised if you find a scene similar to this after making your gingerbread houses. That’s the fun of it!
|Fudge about 5 years ago|
Slice of Heaven also has several free printable gingerbread house, church and elf house patterns to try.
Have fun, make a memory, and enjoy!