Gingerbread House — Part 1

by Kathy Strahs on December 18, 2012 · 12 comments

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Nearly 6 pounds of sticky, spicy, molasses-laden dough…it seemed like an awful lot when I first embarked on my Gingerbread House project last week. It still seemed like an awful lot 4 days later when I finally completed my edible dwelling, affixing the final gumdrop with royal icing.

This one definitely warrants two posts. Ho-ly cow, it takes a lot of work to build a gingerbread house from scratch! I don’t know what it is about labor intensive projects like these, I find myself drawn to the challenge. Baking, building, decorating – and, for my kids, playing – that’s the breadth of fun you get with a good old-fashioned homemade gingerbread house. Crazy-busy as I am this month, this was one holiday tradition I couldn’t pass up this year.

Cutting out the gingerbread with printable templates

The last time I’d made a gingerbread house I was 13 years old, enrolled in a kids’ cooking workshop. I spent all afternoon painstakingly constructing and decorating my masterpiece only to have it swarmed by ants later that night, brought on by a rainstorm. So sad, right? Twenty-five years later, I was ready for a little redemption!

I found a detailed set of gingerbread house directions – complete with printable templates and decorating tips – on the McCormick website.

This project took over my kitchen!

Front walls, side walls, roof pieces, trees and gingerbread kids took over my kitchen table for an entire morning. Pretty much every bit of that 6 pounds of dough made its way into the oven.

Gingerbread house assembly

Baking the pieces was the easy part. Things from this point forward were a bit tense, as I attempted to “glue” massive, rather heavy, cookies together three-dimensionally with royal icing. I’m no mechanical engineer, but this all seemed rather…dicey. But I pressed on, piping out batch after batch of royal icing, propping up the walls of my cookie structure with drinking glasses and chopsticks. For the most part, things actually held up well. Except for…

We're caving in!

…some caving. One roof panel probably could have stood to firm up in the oven for another 5 minutes. It wound up being a little too malleable and it buckled. The directions said to wait at least 3 hours before decorating so I had to patiently (anxiously) cross my fingers and hope that the whole thing didn’t collapse before I had the chance to put on all the candy I’d bought to bedazzle this thing.

So how did the final gingerbread villa turn out? Stay tuned for Part 2!



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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

shelly (cookies and cups) December 19, 2012 at 5:35 AM

Well, it’s started off beautifully! I have never done one from scratch, I always buy those kits from Target…maybe next year :)
shelly (cookies and cups)´s last blog post ..Brownie Pudding

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Kathy Strahs December 19, 2012 at 7:58 AM

I’ll tell you what, I *totally* understand why the kits are big business! :-)

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Brian @ A Thought For Food December 19, 2012 at 5:51 AM

Look at that! Well, I’m impressed. I’ve decorated houses once and just figured people people bought them. How very wrong I was! :-)
Brian @ A Thought For Food´s last blog post ..Smoked Salmon and Egg Breakfast Sandwich

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Sommer@ASpicyPerspective December 19, 2012 at 6:38 AM

Can’t wait to see how you decorated it!
Sommer@ASpicyPerspective´s last blog post ..“Drunken Monkey” Bread

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Alison @ Ingredients, inc. December 19, 2012 at 9:03 AM

so cool! My daughter will love to attempt this
Alison @ Ingredients, inc.´s last blog post ..Small Batch Granola

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Kathy Strahs December 19, 2012 at 11:15 AM

She’s just the right age to really get into a project like this. :-)

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Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies December 19, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Wow, you are ambitious! I can’t wait to see how it turned out–it’s looking good so far!
Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies´s last blog post ..Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancake Mix Recipe + 99 More DIY Food Gifts for the Holidays

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Carolyn December 19, 2012 at 1:25 PM

You are a brave, brave person, Kathy. Just working with that amount of dough would have my eyes goggling out of my head!
Carolyn´s last blog post ..Pecan Crescents and A Pampered Chef Giveaway

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen December 20, 2012 at 2:52 AM

Wow, I’m super impressed, I can’t wait to see the finished house!
Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen´s last blog post ..Double Chocolate Cookies with Chocolate Chunks (Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo)

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Diane {Created by Diane} December 20, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Oh building gingerbread houses is so much FUN!!! Can’t wait to see what you do with it next :)
Diane {Created by Diane}´s last blog post ..Fruitcake Scones

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Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family December 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM

I have always wanted to make a gingerbread house but am absolutely struck with fear and overwhelmed with the amount of work it appears to take.

That being said high five to you for having the patience and ability :)
Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family´s last blog post ..Improv Challenge Review for December

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Jeanette December 22, 2012 at 9:26 AM

I’ve never made a gingerbread house from scratch so I applaud you for all the effort! I’m sure your kids appreciate it!
Jeanette´s last blog post ..Strawberry Whipped Cream Santas Recipe

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