Making gingerbread houses can provide fun memories the whole family can enjoy as well as creating a fun table decoration and edible treat.
After designing and sketching how you want your house to look, cut your pattern pieces out of cardboard leaving about 1/2 an inch on each side. Don’t forget to cut a chimney or shutters if you want those to be made out of ginerbread. You need to also remember to cut out the front door.
The trick to a good gingerbread house starts with the gingerbread dough.
2 3/4 c. flour 1/8 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. salt 1 egg
3 tsp. baking powder 1/2 c. oil
1/3 c. brown sugar, packed 1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon 2/3 c. molasses
Mix together flour, salt, baking powder and spices. Add brown sugar and mix well. Add beaten egg, oil and molasses. Mix thoroughly and chill several hours or overnight.
Roll dough evenly in an oiled cookie sheet and back at 300 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes. Place your pattern pieces on hot gingerbread and cut immediately. Take away edges and remove house pieces for cooling on a rack or paper towels. The gingerbread should be very hard when cool. The roof sections will collapse or break off if the gingerbread is not thoroughly baked. the pieces can easily be laid back on the cookie sheet and baked for an additional 10 minutes or more if necessary. The gingerbread will require more baking time it is a humid or rainy day.
When cooked, the peices should be stacked flat between pieces of waxed paper and stored in a dry place.
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar 4 c. powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. meringue powder 4-6 Tbsp. water
Beat 5 to 7 minutes and keep it covered. Beat thoroughly in a mixing bowl until icing peaks.
Before decorating cover a piece of heavy-duty cardboard with foil. Put the sides of the house together first then add the chimney and door leaving the door slightly open. Cover seams with icing and then decorate with candy. Peanut Brittle or Oreo cookies make wonderful stepping stones.
Wafer Cookies can be used for shutters and doors. Try Triscuits for a textured roof, orange sticks for the fence post, and gumdrops make fun trees. You could also add plastic figures like Santa’s, reindeer, or elves.
For a really unique idea, use the same gingerbread pattern to make a haunted house for Halloween! Use candy corn, black jelly beans, licorice and candy pumpkins. Add plastic spiders in the windows and you have a very spooky decoration or party idea.
Kids will enjoy a miniature version of gingerbread houses by using graham crackers and pre-made frosting. These can provide a fun party activity and take home craft.
To make gingerbread necklaces for kids. Mix straight cinnamon with a little water till you have a thick dough consistency. Roll them out and use tiny miniature cookie cutters to cut out angels or gingerbread men. If your dough is to thin the cooked ornaments could break too easily.
Add a small hole to the top with a toothpick and bake at 350 degrees until firm. When they are cool, place a small ribbon through the hole and tie. These are fun necklaces for kids to share at school or as ornaments and smell wonderful!Add a small hole