Friday, December 20, 2013

Gingerbread Houses: Our Annual Tradition Play-By-Play

This was our 7th year making gingerbread houses, and every year I have friends ask me, "How???" Here's my comprehensive play-by-play! (Forgive some repetition, if you've been a faithful reader for years. ;-))

I have the now-discontinued & "collectible" Pampered Chef Stoneware Gingerbread House Mold:

My cousin gave it to us even before we had kids, and it's now become an annual tradition. :-)

2013 (Will, 9 - Annelise, 7½)

I baked six molds-worth of roofs & walls - enough to create our three houses - the day before, so they'd be cooled & ready. I use store-bought dough, b/c hey - I'm already baking this thing instead of using a pre-made kit. ;-) I can take *one* shortcut! :-D I've found Pillsbury Gingerbread Cookie Dough is the best value & consistency:
Each cookie mold takes 20-22 minutes to bake at 350°.

I also went ahead and glued the pieces together with royal icing (4 cups powdered sugar, 3 tbsp. meringue powder, 6 tbsp. warm water - beat into peaks) several hours before decorating time, so no one would have to wait for it to set up. Kids just want to get right on to the fun decorating part! :-) I sorted through all the candy we had in our pantry for the d├ęcor. (Where does all this candy come from?!?! Never *buy* candy for a project when your kids are overloaded with enough for FREE! :-D) I set it out ahead of time - not to look fancy, but so that I could go ahead and empty a lot of the wrappers & trash them, instead of the kids ripping open the packs & having the mess go all over. :-P

It's not a real "homemade gingerbread house day" w/o making mustaches with the extra icing! Now, I am the anti-food-mess mom; but royal icing is my *singular* vice in this area - it doesn't stain anything & it washes off so easily! ...And it makes them all laugh SO HARD! :-D


Check out years past:

2007 (Will, 3 - Annelise, 1½)

2008 (Will, 4 - Annelise, 2½)

2009 (Will, 5 - Annelise, 3½)
[This wasn't using our mold - it was at our Australian friend's house when we lived outside Chicago; they inspired us to make it a play date with neighbors!]

2010 (Will, 6 - Annelise, 4½)

2011 (Will, 7 - Annelise, 5½)

(2011 was the year I used a different dough from Immaculate Baking. It tastes AMAZING:
But it bakes up so soft, the houses fall apart easily. If it would have baked up crispier, I wouldn't have been so excited to deconstruct... ;-))

2012 (Will, 8 - Annelise, 6½)

2 comments:

  1. What an awesome tradition! I've never made a gingerbread house before, but I would totally do this with kids!

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