Saturday, November 24, 2012

GINGERBREAD HOUSES

About thirty years ago I began making gingerbread houses before Christmas. My children helped me and we had a grand time doing this activity together. One year we actually made a gingerbread house in orange and black for Halloween! Later, when I went back to teaching I had my second graders make a tiny gingerbread house by using a milk carton and graham crackers. A couple of room mothers came to help and each child was issued a zip lock sandwich baggie half full of icing. We snipped one of the bottom corners off of the baggie and it acted as a pastry bag. I had warned the students ahead of time to not eat any candy until their house was completed.  A little while later I looked across the room just in "the Nick of time" to see one little boy holding the icing bag above his mouth and squeezing the icing bag just as hard as he could! OK.....so he got me on a technicality. He wasn't eating the candy. He was eating the icing!!!

My children are now grown and busy with their own lives, so I invited my friend, Ann , to make a little gingerbread house with me. Her kitchen is decorated in a gingerbread theme at Christmas and I knew that she couldn't pass up this invitation!  
We had so much fun laughing and being together that the making of the gingerbread houses was secondary to the fellowship. 

Before decorating the houses we spent a day shopping for candy, then baking our gingerbread in our respective kitchens.
Above, are all the ingredients ready to be mixed together. 
After mixing the dough, it has to be kneaded  for a minute or so. 
Then, the dough is rolled out onto a cookie sheet. I used the rolling pin of my paternal grandmother.  She was a wonderful cook and hopefully, she would be happy that it is still being put to good use. 
The patterns are then placed on the dough and trimmed around the edges carefully. Pull away the dough that is between the house "parts", place in the oven and bake.
Mmmmm.....the fragrance of gingerbread is in the air!!! The house pieces have to dry for at least two days before assembling the house. 
This is the roof of Ann's house. I really do like the criss-cross design she applied, then put an M and M where the lines intersect. 
My gingerbread house is guarded by a tin soldier.....isn't he cute? There is a little penguin next to the front door to welcome all friends and family for the Christmas season. 
It looks like we caught Santa going down the chimney!

Tomorrow, I will be uploading the recipe for the gingerbread and the Royal Icing with dimensions of the house pieces. Hope to see you  back here then. 

3 comments:

  1. Oh, you are a woman after my own heart! I have been making these since I was married- I have even made 2 story houses and houses that light up from within. A couple of years ago we started using the Wilton pre-made gingerbread so we could get to the decorating quicker since Ms.R always had so much studying for finals/exams right before Christmas. We are working on our house now, but it is slow going since College Girl has a huge paper to write and I don't want to continue without her. I love that you made your house with a friend. Ann probably would not have done it if it wasn't for a sweet friend like you to keep her company. I love the whimsy and details you both used on your charming homes. There is something wonderful about walking into the kitchen each morning and seeing your little candy house, right? HUGS xoxox

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  2. great houses but I gotta be honest, I cheat and buy the ones from the local stores...this year will be our 2nd annual gingerbread house decorating contest...me, my daughter and my bff decorate houses and have them for voting :):) winner just gets a high five! The boy gets to decorate rice krispy treats! It's so much fun and we spend the day crafting, eating treats and listening to holiday tunes!

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