Let's Make a Gingerbread House

Make a gingerbread house with your kids and let the fun begin!  Yes, I have to warn you, it is a little bit time consuming and will probably take most of your day but, if you plan just one day to make these then, you'll be much more relaxed about the craft and you'll make some epic houses!

I made my first gingerbread houses with my siblings about a year ago.  They had such a blast making them and it's a day that we all look back on fondly.  There was great food, music, a cozy warm kitchen, the fantastic smell of gingerbread and of course, loads of candy!

So, if you are looking to make some fun memories this Christmas season, may I suggest that you make a gingerbread house with your children?!

Supplies to Make a Gingerbread House

To start with, we did cheat a little bit... For most of the houses we made, we used a gingerbread box mix that we picked up at Dillions for $1.  That price was just too awesome to pass up which is why I feel like it was definitely justifiable to cheat! :) I did pick up some additional ingredients to make a gingerbread house from scratch just to ensure that we had enough for everyone. 

**Note: We only made smallish houses because we felt that one large house would be too much. 

We also bought

  • Wax paper
  • Powdered sugar
  • Meringue powder (or cream of tartar)
  • And lots of candy.  (The candy was also on sale… :)

 If you want to make your gingerbread from scratch here is a great recipe from AllRecipes.com.  And for easy reference, here is the list of ingredients you will need for the gingerbread: 

  • Butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Light molasses
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Cloves
  • Baking soda
  • Flour

 You will also need a recipe for some frosting cement to hold your house together.  We found a very simple one that called for powder sugar, cream of tartar and egg whites.  For download visit this link – Cement frosting for gingerbread houses. 

Preparation

**It is important to note that you don’t want to handle the gingerbread too much or it will turn out tough.

If you have a boxed gingerbread mix follow the directions on the box to prepare your gingerbread.  If you are making it from scratch, add all the ingredients together and form into a ball.

When you get to rolling out the gingerbread, prepare a slightly damp washcloth with a piece of wax paper.  Roll the gingerbread out with a rolling pin on the wax paper and washcloth. 

(The washcloth is very important.  If you don’t have one down, you won’t be able to roll the gingerbread out without the wax paper moving all over the place.) 

Once you have your gingerbread all rolled out, it is time to cut out the pieces to the house. 

I have a printable template for you for your gingerbread houses. 

Use a knife to cut the delicate lines of the house. 

Once you have used most of the space of the gingerbread out, gently peel away the remaining dough.  Re-roll the dough at this point to cut more pieces of the house out. 

Bake the gingerbread for about 10 minutes. 

To make a gingerbread house you want your pieces to be cool to the touch.  If it isn’t cool the frosting will not glue the house together. So, let your pieces cool for about 30 minutes.  

While the gingerbread is cooling you can make your icing glue.  Just make sure you keep it covered or you’ll have a bowl of very hard icing!! 

Decorating

Now that your house pieces are all cooled off you can actually make a gingerbread house!!

For children it seems like getting to this stage of the process takes forever…  They are so antsy to see the sides of the house connect together with the door and the roof. 

You will see reviews on other sites to build the sides of the house and let the house then sit for 24 hours before adding on the roof and then wait another 24 hours before decorating with candy.

Well, we didn’t do this… :)  We were anxious to get right into things and get the whole house built at once so, we built it all and decorated it in a matter of 2 hours!!  And, yes, the house stayed together and looked totally awesome.

So, how do you get those sides to stay up? 

  • Well, to start with, pull a few cans of food out of your pantry.  Next, lay down some icing for the sides of the house to sit in.  Stick one side into the icing and then take a can of food and support your house with the can so that it can dry.
  • Quickly apply icing to the sides of the back of your house and glue that to the edge of the   side you just cemented in. 
  • Let dry about 10 minutes.  
  • Now do the second side much the same way that you did the first one.  Lay down some more icing for the side to sit in.  Smooth some icing onto the edge of the back and the current side you are working on.  Glue them together.  Again, you’ll want to support them with a can of food.  Let dry another 10 minutes.  
  • Now the roof can get attached!  (but, before you do put that roof on why don’t you fill the inside of your house with a pile of candy… :))     Again, apply some icing to the sides and back edges of the house.  Also apply icing to the roof edges where it connects to the sides and back of your gingerbread house.  Press roof on gently, connecting all the sides and the back of the house. 
  • If you are using the door, you can apply this at the same time.  Let dry for about 10 more minutes before doing the final decorating. 
  • Now comes the best part to make a gingerbread house – decorating it with candy!  Wherever you want to put some candy on first spread some icing in the area you will apply your candy.  Then, attach the candy.  To make the gingerbread house beautiful, add on a variety of different candies – peppermints, kit kats, skittles, twix bars, (really any mini candy bar will make a yummy addition.) Enjoy! 



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