Basically, ever since I was born… we have had a family tradition to decorate gingerbread houses. My lovely mother would make about 14 gingerbread houses from scratch every year. I think that practically makes her a saint.. have you tried it? I have, and just making 4 or 5, was HARD work!
(My 12 year old self decorating gingerbread houses!)
Since I've had little babies (crap, they aren't really babies anymore…they grow TO fast), I've been a little more relaxed about homemade vrs store bought. For example, last year we bought some at Ikea for about 2 bucks a pop. Worth every penny!
This year I decided to buy them again. Only I bought a little Wilton mini gingerbread town kits from wally world (2 of them). It is amazing how much easier it is… next year, I think it would be fun to make them again from scratch, but I will tell you how I feel then!
I've learned a few things, since I've become in charge of continuing on this gingerbread tradition in my own family.
What I've Learned!
Making stained glass candy windows is the coolest. thing. ever!
Building on heavy duty paper platters (larger than plates) are fast and cute!
Buying kits, can be a life saver!
You don't need too much candy… ( I always buy too much!)
Giving them away is more fun than eating them! (I have never eaten a gingerbread house… They are for display to me, so I don't get that!)
Let the kids eat some candy when you make them, it is much better then yelling at them the whole time, and it makes it fun for everyone.
Non candy alternatives:
Use Clean Cardboard for building your houses, just apply frosting and have a hay day! just to display… (no baking, no eating, good holiday fun without the calories!)
Cereal: Wheat, Corn or Rice Chex make great roofs
Shredded Wheat (also great roofs)
Froot Loops are great for super little ones to decorate (and eat) as they decorate instead of TONS of candy!
Graham Crackers for building!
Pretzel sticks great for building!
(I really wanna hear your ideas!!! Leave me a comment with other less sugar ideas!!)
Sprinkle with powdered sugar
Buy some Cake Mate, Writing Icing for easy added color in ready made squeezable tubes
Use hard candy like jolly ranchers, to make colorful stained glass windows.
Cut a hole in the center of the plate directly under your house, add a small light to illuminate the “stained glass windows”.
Gingerbread House Recipe:
This recipe will make 4 large houses or 7-8 small houses.
1/2 c butter
1 cup crisco
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 c molasses
2 t baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
4+ cups flour, (add more to knead and roll out dough)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger salt and 4 cups flour, mix with a whisk, and set asides.
Cream the butter, Crisco and sugar together. Add the eggs and molasses, combine. Now add the dry ingredients to the wet about a cup at a time till completely incorporated.
On a clean counter surface, spread out about 1/2 cup flour, pour the dough onto the flour and knead in more flour until it is a good consistence for rolling. Roll to a 1/4 inch thickness, and cut out the shapes. Place with just a little room for each shape on the cookie sheet bake for 9 minutes, keep a close eye so they don't burn, if you roll them out too thinly they can!)
After pulling them out, it is helpful to trim any skiwampus edges that some times occur when baking. I just QUICKLY and carefully stick the template on the cookie and cut off any strange edges. DON”T burn yourself! Be careful! This step will help your houses come together clean and straight!
Gingerbread House Free Templates:
I had Justin draw up some free templates! He is so awesome! These are not to be used for sale, please do not repost these anywhere.
What great ideas to you have to share?
Be sure to have fun with it! Creating with candy is so fun!!!
Remember to check out the other great days!!
|Day 1: Santa and Reindeer Paper Garland||Day 2: Pipe Cleaner Ornaments, Kid Friendly|
|Day 3: Sugar Free Pumpkin Steamers||Day 4: Fudge Brownie S’mores Pie|
|Day 5: Joy String Art Tutorial|
|Day 9: Faux Fur Tree Skirt||Day 10: Kids Christmas Art Gallery|
And these other great projects from my lovely friends: