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Monday, December 23, 2013

It was a Gingerbread House Party!

My sister-in-law and I were talking a couple weeks ago about some fun, holiday-themed activities we could do with our little ones.  In our conversation, we stumbled upon the idea of making gingerbread houses and it was the obvious winner!  Time passed and the gingerbread building day arrived.  Surprise of surprises, I was not at all prepared!

I scoured the Internet for gingerbread recipes for the better part of an hour.  I wanted one that didn't require the dough to be chilled AND that looked relatively easy.  Finally, I came across one that passed those tests and immediately got to work! (You can find the original HERE.) Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of tweaking recipes, so here is the recipe after my changes:


Gingerbread

1 c. shortening
1 c. white sugar
1 c. molasses
2 egg yolks
5 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. nutmeg
1 T. ginger
1 T. cinnamon
2 tsp. Allspice

1.    Preheat the oven to 375°.
2.    Melt shortening in a saucepan over medium heat.  Mix in sugar, molasses, and egg yolks; remove from heat.  Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and spices; gradually stir into the pan, using your hands to work in the last bit.  Your dough should be stiff.
3.    Roll out your dough on parchment paper (no need for flour, the shortening keeps it from sticking).  Roll it out thick enough that it will be sturdy (at least half an inch).
4.    Now you get to cut out all your shapes!  It's bound to be the best part, as long as you have completely planned out the dimensions.  You have done that, haven't you?!  For me, everything had been going great until this point.  Unfortunately, I did not have a blueprint to consult.  So, I did what any mom with barely any time or sanity does....wing it!  And I have to say, it turned out pretty well considering I didn't measure.  So, frazzled moms, fear not!  You can wing it and it will still turn out just fine!  My five-year-old son got in on the fun too.  He took the scraps and cut out cute little Christmas trees and animals.  We also made a chimney and a reindeer. 
5.    The last step is to transfer your parchment paper to a baking sheet and bake for 13 to 15 minutes!  After I took it out, I let it cool for several minutes before removing it to a wire rack to complete cooling.

Next, you make your glue!  This recipe was easy to make, but the consistency was a little runnier than I wanted, so I resorted to using my store-bought frosting for most of the house.

Icing

2 ½ c. confectioner's sugar
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
2 egg whites
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Mix the first two ingredients together.  Then add the egg whites and vanilla, beating on high speed for about 5 minutes (or until it holds its shape).  You can add more sugar if you want it to thicken up more, but I didn't want to waste the time or effort!

Now you have every thing you need to get started!  I had my husband help me set the pieces of the house up.  We had to use two toothpicks to keep diagonal walls of the house up while we frosted it.  Then, I held the base together while he frosted on the roof.  The dimensions worked surprisingly well together (yay!).  The only thing I didn't like was that my roof had a large overhang!


The last part is always the best.  We got all the nieces and nephews together and let them decorate to their little hearts' desire!  I ended up frosting almost the entire house, so my kids could easily attach candy anywhere they wanted.  Not the prettiest, but oh-so-much fun!  I think they all had a great time and I'm pretty sure the amount of candy used for decorating vs. consumption was about 50/50!  Pixy Stix snow and red hot shingles are just too hard to resist!

-This is a post written by my lovely sister-in-law Jocelyn. She is thinking of starting a blog of her own, so tell her how much you loved her writing!

19 comments:

  1. How fun! We also decorated gingerbread houses with the kids and made little gingerbread people to go along with them.

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    1. Wow I just got to buy a kit I wish I would have made this one maybe for New Year Thank you

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  2. I just realized I've never made anything gingerbread after reading your recipe. When we do houses we do graham crackers and old school mini milk cartons. Hmmm it's a tad bit too late right now but maybe we'll do a gingerbread Valentine's Day treat. Thank you!

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  3. I have never made one before. This recipe is probably easy enough to follow. I will probably do this with the kids if I have time this week. Thanks for the recipe.

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  4. I made a gingerbread house with my 2 oldest grandsons last year an we had a blast,hope to do it again next year,,didn't get to see them this year to do it with them

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  5. Cute gingerbread and what a wonderful, fun family experience. I like that you make your own. My grandson would love this.

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  6. Boy, you are talented! The gingerbread houses I've tried to make look like a hurricane hit them! (But they tasted ok) LOL! Merry Christmas!

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  7. I love this! I wish I was this creative. My two little boys would never even get to put the candy on the houses because they would just sit there and eat it! Great idea though for when they are older!

    Erin K. (erinknack08@yahoo.com)

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  8. SO cute! I cheat...and use graham crackers...you're amazing!

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  9. Boo wanted to make one this year and we just didn't get to it. And you are much braver than I. I buy the premade kits.

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  10. This is such a fun idea! I might try this with my grand daughter - she loves to cook.

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  11. this is so cute the kids love this aa a holiday tradition to make and take to family and friends home to give as a gift

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  12. How awesome is this Ginger Bread House that you created!! With your illustrated step by step instructions making it easy to do. I love the square pretzels you used for windows so clever...My Grandkids made Ginger bread men about 8" Tall. They too were adorable...

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  13. My nieces and nephew made gingerbread houses this year and they were adorable! And edible, so we all crunched them down for dessert on Christmas night!

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  14. "Winging it" is the most valuable trait that a person can have. You managed very well and came out with lots of fun.

    slehan at juno dot com

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  15. I bought a gingerbread house kit before for my daughters and I. It would not stay together and kept falling apart. This a great, we will have to try the homemade way!!

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  16. Wow you made a lot of houses. That is so cool!

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