Saturday, December 14, 2013

Gingerbread house project 2013

This is our second year making a homemade gingerbread house during the Christmas season.  Last year, our first attempt went really well and it was so much fun I had to add it to our yearly traditions.  I get just as much, maybe even more, joy out of the whole process.  It's a mixture of crafting and baking and pretty much a perfect project for me.

I asked Addie for ideas for the house this year.  She's at an age to be really helpful and creative where as the other two girls just like the idea of tasting the candy.  The only trouble is that she decided she wanted to replicate our house in gingerbread.  Our home is three stories with two verandas and multiple balconies and I just wasn't feeling up to that challenge.

I found a sweet little ski chalet instead.  The template was simple enough and I added a chimney and front porch.  Three dimensional trees were added to the mix.

So here's how we did it:
Day 1-Make the gingerbread dough and refrigerate.  Find a flat piece of cardboard and cover with aluminum foil for our base.

Day 2-Copy and cut the template, roll out the gingerbread, cut into template pieces and bake

Day 3-Make frosting, assemble the main house pieces and decorate.
Here's where I cheated: we use a hot glue gun on the main house pieces so the structure is stable and ready to decorate quickly.  I know this is sacrilege for true gingerbread house builders.  I know our structure is not entirely edible, but I don't care.  Getting the frosting to set takes a long time and my kids weren't willing to wait any longer to get their hands on gum drops.  Truly, at this point in the project, I have no desire to wait overnight for those pieces to harden.

So the glue gun saves the day.  It allows us to assemble the house quickly and it holds well for weeks later.  Everything else is held together with frosting.

Some new things we tried this year: sugar bricks on the sides of the house.  The girls loved this part.

I had visions of candy cane pillars long before we started the project so I had to add that to the plan this year.

I also did all the piping prior to assembly. There are definitely some parts that have to be re-decorated after you touch them and fumble with getting the roof on but overall, this is a decent method.  With all the frosting and piping practice I've had over the past year, I felt like this was easier for me and the end result looked less wobbly and prettier.

We sort of wing the decorations for the garden.  We had gumdrops and traditional licorice candy that worked well for packages under the trees.  Addie frosted the trees and then Bella and Ashlynn helped put the silver ball ornaments on.  They also loved creating the gumdrop fence.  It's an easy task for them to help with.  One gumdrop in the mouth, one on the house!

Overall, we are super happy with the end results.  It was a fun family activity for us all.  It's also such a lovely centerpiece for our table for weeks afterwards.  The girls understand that we don't eat the gingerbread house but there are plenty of fingerprints where they've sneaked bits of the frosting!  It's hard to blame them, it looks so delicious.

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