Have you ever made a gingerbread house?
Last year, my 2-year old and I made super simple graham cracker gingerbread houses. I’m not even sure if you can call them gingerbread houses since they were made from graham crackers. Hmmm.
But making a real, bonafide gingerbread house: this was new territory for me, and I wasn’t prepared for how much trouble I would have with it.
After a few tears were shed and lessons learned, I thought I’d share my experience and a host of others so that you won’t have to go through the growing pains I went through.
Use a gingerbread house mold
To make our house, we started with a Gingerbread House Mold similar to this one. You simply make the dough and then press it right into the mold. Brilliant!
To make it even simpler, we made a batch of gingerbread with the recipe from the Trader Joe’s gingerbread baking mix. So easy.
My kids enjoyed pressing it into the mold and my 3 year old helped pop the cookies out once they cooled. So far, so good!
Candy Toppings for Gingerbread Houses
While the dough was cooling, we went candy shopping! Mmmm. This may have been the funnest part.
Since this was mostly new to me, I asked my Facebook friends for recommendations and they had the BEST ideas (clearly, my fans are professionals).
Are you ready for this?
Candy for Gingerbread House Decorating:
- mini candy canes
- rainbow nerds
- dried fruits and nuts
- life savers
- ribbon candy,
- colored frosting
- gingerbread men/trees to add to scene
- pretzels for a fence
- sweet tarts and those candy necklace candies
- Christmas Captain Crunch with tree shapes
- star shaped cookies from Trader Joe’s
- cut out fruit strips into shapes
- gingerbread shaped marshmallows
- tootsie roll for a chimney, Pretzel squares for windows
- crystal like sprinkles for a special touch of snow
- sifted powdered sugar and cotton candy to look like snow
- red hots and mint
- swirled red and white mints.
I made a batch of royal icing, the same way I made it for our gingerbread cookies, but I added a bit more powdered sugar to thicken it. Traditionally, royal icing is made with egg whites, but because I knew my kids would lick their fingers I opted to go with this meringue powder version instead.
RECIPE FOR ROYAL ICING
- 1/8 cup Meringue Powder
- 1/4 cup Cold Water
- 2 cups sifted Confectioners Sugar
Add water to meringue powder and beat until soft peaks form. Add sugar into the mixture and beat until it’s the desired consistency. Add more sugar for stiffer icing.
I made individual houses out of graham crackers for our neighborhood friends, and we all worked on the big house as a collaborative project.
Oh, we ran out of graham crackers, which is why some of the houses have this funky shape. Sigh. Maybe next year I’ll be more prepared!
Thankfully, our friends didn’t let on if they minded. We’re lucky to have such kind neighbors.
Six More Gingerbread House Ideas…
Graham Cracker House on a Milk Carton
This is the recipe my friend made for our toddler play date last year, and it was perfect for little ones. I know my friend had a hard time collecting milk cartons for all the children in our group, but once you gather the milk cartons, they’re easy to assemble. From Martha Stewart.
Gingerbread House from Scratch
Mama Smiles shows us how she made her house with a toddler (no small feat!) from scratch!
Gingerbread House from Graham Crackers
Tiny Gingerbread House Perched on the Rim of a Mug
Gingerbread House from a Kit
Or, take the easier route with a store-bought kit. A Spoonful of Sugar Designs shares their Ikea kit. Lovely.
Not exactly gingerbread, but we made these jelly bean matzo houses earlier this year and I couldn’t resist sharing, just to show that with some icing and candy, you can turn just about anything into a house.
Your turn! What’s your favorite way to make a gingerbread house?
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