Gingerbread houses

DSC_0590.JPG

One of our traditions every year is making Gingerbread houses. When my children were little I would buy the box kits and let them do what ever they wanted with them. The only problem with that was that they never really ate the gingerbread, just the candies off of them.

DSC09106.JPG

The gingerbread house would end up going to the chickens, “To be turned into eggs” my husband would always say.

DSC09110.JPG

I wanted everyone to enjoy the whole house, like a special sweet treat. It wasn’t like we were making and eating Gingerbread all through the year, might as well try to make the whole experience enjoyable. So I stopped buying the box kits and decided to try making the whole thing myself with fresh gingerbread. Who knows how long those box kits sit in warehouses waiting for August to roll around to be sold in stores early. A little sarcasm there with how holiday products keep being put on the shelves earlier and earlier every year.

DSC_0592.JPG

I was still a busy mom and remember…cooking is not my area of expertise, I am a glue gun expert though. So I bought Betty Crocker gingerbread mixes. Not getting anything for promoting this brand, just like it. You can make it from scratch too, here is a recipe for that-

 

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1 tsp. Ginger

1/4 tsp.ground cloves

1/4 tsp. Baking soda

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

I don’t have time for all that because I have gifts to make, trees and lights to put it, presents to wrap, events to go to…you know how it is. The bag kits taste yummy, a whole lot better then those cardboard tasting box kits. If you are really busy during the holidays then grab a box of graham crackers, some frosting and candies and make tiny gingerbread houses that way. I did this once volunteering when I worked with children doing arts and crafts. I also bought ice cream cones (the old fashioned kind) and made green frosting for the kids to make trees with. A bag of miniature m&m’s were the decorations on the trees.

The gingerbread mixes are pretty easy to put together. Just need 3 extra ingredients, which are water, 1 egg and 1 stick of butter.

DSC_7288.JPG
I had to use two bowls  because I had two large batches to mix and my husband had all my huge bowls in service. One had olives soaking, another had chicken and another had potatoes ready to smash. It was Thanksgiving day when I decided to bake some gingerbread.

When I was mixing it together it seemed very dry so I added some more water…that was a mistake, so then I added some more flour…another mistake, and then I added lots of cinnamon and sugar.

DSC_7302.JPG

Who knows what weird concoction I started but that is how it always is when I get into a kitchen. I start looking at things and they don’t look right so I start adding things to help that along. Then my family tries one of my weird concoctions and they LOVE it, asking me what the recipe is and how I made a cookie taste like a crispy cream donut. That actually happened once. I just looked at them and said “ I don’t know, I really don’t” that is when my husband said to start writing down all the weird things I create. Which, I forget always.

DSC_7299.JPG

Anyway, it is about having fun, eating little sweets and actually enjoying the gingerbread once you are finished.

DSC_0593.JPG

Whoops forgot to add that it helps to have gingerbread house cut outs. I used to try to design the houses myself by making a cardboard version first. They were yummy freshly made houses that tasted good but they looked like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. Now I just use these (photo below). I bought them at Michael’s a couple years ago when they were 90% off. I love a good sale.

DSC_7283.JPG

Happy Gingerbread adventures everyone. Even if you have to buy the box kit, just have fun, that’s really what it is all about. You will love the taste of fresh Gingerbread though…just saying.

30 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh my goodness that looks so cute and delicious! For the homemade version you included, what kind of baking pan did you use, what temp and how many minutes to bake? I may just have to try this! Just for eating though. I loved the ideas for alternatives, like the ice cream cone trees! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Renee, can’t believe I forgot that part. I just use a regular baking sheet that you use for cookies. Preheat oven to 350F and bake 15-18 minutes but it depends on how hot your oven runs. I probably would bake 12 minutes because I like my cookies soft but that is not a good idea for a gingerbread house. Just check the edges when baking and if they are slightly brown then they are ready to come out.When you roll out the gingerbread make sure to have flour down in your area otherwise it will stick to the counter. For the icing that holds the gingerbread house together I just use confectioner’s sugar. Depending on the size of your house you may need a lot or a little. 31/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk with a few drops of vanilla extract for extra flavoring. You may have to add more milk to the sugar if too dry but be careful with the wet ingredients when mixing up the icing, you don’t want running icing because it needs to be thick enough to hold the gingerbread walls in place. I also have a piece of cardboard that I wrap in foil to add the house to when I am putting the house together, then I cover the foil with powdered sugar and ice cream cone trees around the house. They have the cutest cookie cutters at Costplus world markets (if you have one in your area) they are for mini houses, so adorable, For the house you can make your own templates though but mine always came out lop sided…1 foundation (10″ square). 2 sides (3″x7″). front and back (8″ wide, 3″at the sides, 10″ in middle). Go online to see different Gingerbread house to get ideas. So many ways to be creative and if it is too complicated then just make the front of the house to decorate and eat later, like one huge cookie. Have fun. Gingerbread is so yummy. Think there is documentary on it on Amazon which is so fun to watch around the holidays. I forgot what the name was but it the history on Gingerbread.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow! I would have never images a documentary on gingerbread! I bet that is neat! I have never made gingerbread before. Can this be done just as cookies maybe? Or plain gingerbread in a loaf pan? Sounds like fun!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Made as cookies. like gingerbread men. You can even make heart shaped gingerbread and poke a hole in them, then bake and hang on your trees.

        Like

    1. It is and it makes your whole house smell yummy.

      Like

      1. I could bake it just for the smell. I could. But I won’t. I wouldn’t be able to keep from eating it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful tradition!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. You should see the Gingerbread house by the time Christmas gets here, it is all eaten away like little mice got to it. Everyone loves breaking pieces off to eat.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh my goodness – that made me smile. I can just imagine the the last of it looking like an ancient gingerbread ruin with most of the structure pillaged. lol Family and traditions make the world go round!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Tanya says:

        You’re welcome 🙂❤

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love doing gingerbread houses!! Last year I did a train and it turned out horribly. So this year I kept it simple. I haven’t put it together yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always have more fun with my mistakes, we all laugh together. I have a few scary houses but they taste so yummy so no one cares.

      Like

      1. Haha that’s funny! I did a blogmas post about it last year and I said “Santa’s riding the crazy train!” It was so jacked haha

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hope you took lots of photos so you can take them out and laugh about that crazy train. I love those books and shows called nailed it, they are so funny. That’s me when ever I try something new. One time my husband had a job interview and he hadn’t gotten his hair trimmed in awhile and didn’t have time to get it cut in time for the job interview. Usually his Italian mom or even one of his Italian aunts did it because the whole family were hair dressers and used to have a huge business in England. His mom was in Italy at the time so there was no one to cut his hair. I told him not to worry I could do it because I have been to the hairdresser enough that I have watched what they do. I had no training, just a lot of confidence I guess. I started cutting away like they do in the shops and it was so much fun but then when I looked at my creation my eyes got huge and my husband saw my reaction and ran to the bathroom mirror and was shocked too. I really thought I could do it. He didn’t want to be late for the interview so he put a lot of gel in his hair to cover up my mistakes. He didn’t get the job but we still laugh so hard when we think about that day. He always jokes that his hair grows too fast and he wants to shave it all off so he wasn’t too upset about my haircut job. That was my funniest nailed it moment ever.

        Like

      3. That is so ridiculous!! So funny!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I wish I would have taken a photo, it was hilarious. So happy my husband’s hair grows fast. When his mom got back from Italy though she did say “What happened to your hair?” and now when our kids ever asked for a trim and I would volunteer happily my husband was always around, even if in another room loudly saying “Kids, don’t let your mother touch your hair”.

        Like

  4. simplywendi says:

    I remember those days with such fond memories, thank you for bringing them back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww…thank you Wendi. They have the most adorable cookie cutter at Cost plus world market (not getting anything for promoting that) but you can probably find one online. They are for mini gingerbread houses so they don’t take a lot of time. I want to try some of those this year.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. simplywendi says:

        I can’t wait to see them! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. simplywendi says:

        ……they will, I have no doubt

        Liked by 1 person

  5. kat says:

    I remember spending years asking my mom to help me make a gingerbread house, but she was always so busy baking other holiday cookies. One year she got me a kit, and then my sister and I ate it and ended up really sick. I haven’t tried again since because I think the best part of a gingerbread house is the eating part, but this recipe sounds really good and it’s probably a lot safer to eat something you’ve made yourself, so I’ll be bookmarking this for when my kids have a little more control and won’t steal all the icing and candies before I’ve even started!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those kits do not taste edible but they are fun to put together. They used to have fun foam gingerbread kits to put together from Michael’s that were like puzzles but really easy to assemble. I bought a bunch one year for the kids in the family and they loved putting those together. They had little stickers that went with them to decorate the houses. I haven’t seen any in awhile. It is better to make the gingerbread yourself because you have more control over the ingredients. Hope you get a chance to make some but you do have to be careful that the kids don’t overdo it and eat candy treats all day.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s