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.
The gingerbread house would end up going to the chickens, “To be turned into eggs” my husband would always say.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Anyway, it is about having fun, eating little sweets and actually enjoying the gingerbread once you are finished.
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.
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.