Thursday, December 11, 2008

If you bake it

...they will build it.
But first we have to mix the dough...

Mmmmm....I love the spices in gingerbread.

My favorite 'lil helpers

A four years ago I swore I'd never make another gingerbread house from scratch. I had drawn my own template, mixed a double batch of the dough and still had to make it paper thin in order to have enough for the pieces. With my young cousins nipping at my ankles to help and Sam sitting in the bouncy seat, it was not exactly a fun experience. I did it for the kids and tried not to get stressed out. They of course loved it. The next three years I bought the kits and was a much happier camper.

Thanks to my mom we can now have the best of both worlds. She gave us this Pampered Chef Gingerbread House mold. No more paper templates and now I have a recipe that actually makes enough dough!

It doesn't make a very big house, but that's ok. Then we don't have to buy a ton of candy. Speaking of candy... Our Target sells bulk candy for $7.50 a pound. We could mix and match as many kinds as we wanted. It was perfect! We could get a little of everything. No more little bag of confections from the kits anymore. We had the real deal. Swedish Fish, candy corns, a rainbow of jelly bellies, gum drops, licorice pieces, gummy worms, M&M's... I keep all our candy and decorating stuff in one cupboard so we can use leftovers for the next year. It's fun to see what each person is inspired to create.

When PapaBear got home I whipped up a batch of Royal Icing.
I'm sharing the recipe because I think it's great - not too runny and not to thick. It helps to have a icing thing-y but a ziplock with the corner snipped off has worked for us in the past.

Royal Icing:
(makes about 1 cup - plenty for our house since we didn't cover the roof with icing)
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar 1 egg white 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar Place all ingredients in a small, non-plastic mixing bowl. Beat on high speed until frosting is glossy and holds peaks, about five minutes. This frosting dries very quickly, so cover when not being used.

We let the house set while we ate dinner and then let the kids start decorating.
Here they are adding 'stones' to the chimney. With the stoneware mold my mom also gave us a box of cookie decorations and candy. The toffee bits made perfect stones. This might be my favorite part of the whole house because it looks so authentic and the kids did it entirely on their own.

Daddy attached the frosted mini wheats that I sliced in half for him. The kids were happy to scarf up the unused halves. Sam wanted gum drops on top so that became his job.

Julia made a wreath and decorated a Christmas tree. Sam made a tree too and helped me put the 'lights' on the edge of the roof.

I piped icing on the window and door frames and added candles to each of the windows (candy corns rolled flat and reshaped)

PapaBear and Sam made a snowman and a pond, complete with a fish.

I made a fire and woodpile and piped some frosting on the edge of the house to make it look like snow. PapaBear had already made some icicles with little white licorice pieces.
The kids both helped to sprinkle snow (coconut) all over the ground.

Home SWEET Home

Does your family make a gingerbread house every year? What's your favorite decoration?


  1. That looks great! LOVE the pond! I'm making those at work tomorrow-want to come and help me do 50 of them?
    I didn't think so!

  2. We made gingerbread men each year. We'd put some on the tree and make a different batch for eating.

    I love that you do this with your kids. You spend so much time with them and build so many memories with them. I really admire the mother that you are.

    Tell the kids that I really like their gingerbread house!!!

  3. Ooooh that's awesome!! Love the pan to make it. That's PERFECT. Hmmmm I might have to check into that. We did one last year and it was fun but store bought.

    And again with the mixer... ;)

  4. GREAT IDEA!! What a great looking gingerbread home. Looks pretty tasty.

    I love the kids and their chef hats (too precious). What a great tradition. My husband and I want to start that tradition, but thought maybe our son was too young to start this year!

    You sound like such a fun Mom : )

  5. I just loved these pictures, especially the one with the kids working on the chimney. Sammy is doing it so delicately that he actually has his little pinkie finger up. I'm glad they are getting good use of the aprons and hats. Keep up the good work, mamma bear.

  6. oh i love it! that is just awesome! i'd love to make them with the boys this year... we'll see if i get anything done. Ha!


  7. That is one SPECTACULAR gingerbread house! I love the mold--I'll have to look for one next year. Is it stoneware? I'm impressed that Brian helped too!

  8. that is so cute! i love the idea of the frosted mini wheats on the roof


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