Gingerbread House decorating is a tradition in our family. Since my son was small, the annual Gingerbread House decorating adventure has been something to look forward to. Christmas is the main focus of our houses, but some years we’ve tackled Halloween, Valentine’s Day and even Easter! If you want to see some of our early houses you can find them here at ForkandBottle.com
This year we built a house from scratch using a Martha Stewart Gingerbread template and King Arthur Flour Co’s Gingerbread Recipe. We increased the size of the template by photocopying it and customized our walls with see through windowpanes. My son helped cut out the template and a had a great time crushing hard candies with a mallet to fill in the holes in the windows to make a stained glass effect.
In the meantime decided to play around with some prebaked kits. We chose the one at Target this year (which looks like Create-a-Treat’s house last year) and had some friends over – as there is nothing better than a Gingerbread House Decorating Party to get the festive juices flowing! I covered the dining room table in plastic and then covered that in paper bags which I slit to lay flat. The houses were placed on top and I filled tiny bowls with different candy and placed those on baking sheets in the center of the table so they were ready to go. One year that we had a large party I used building paper on the floor with painters tape to hold it down. It made clean up so much more simple and with littler folk, the mess tends to get quite extreme. That’s of course part of the fun!
The candy choices were an assortment of Red, Green White and pastels. We have favorite candy from years past that we look for. It’s important to have a lot of textures available, so make sure that you don’t miss the snack and cereal aisles when you shop! Frosted shredded wheats and cereal that looks like pebbles are two of my favorites! We also used gum sticks (Fruit Stripes!), fruit rollups and Pretzels in varying forms. If you want to keep the house in the edible category you can keep going down the legume and seed aisles. Lentils and Sunflower Seeds are awesome for siding and pathways. Marshmallows for snowmen, sugar cubes for structures (we’ve even built entire houses out of sugar cubes). Chocolate Sandwich Cookies are a great roofing or path or even window base. Another favorite is Cotton candy. We found another source this year as the Charms Fluffy Stuff was evading us. Fun Sweets Vanilla Snow Cotton Candy is pure white and makes great drifts. We even use Laffy Taffy (Vines, bushes, flowers, people) and Tootsie Rolls (now in colors) to mold things. I’ve been told to find Hi-Chew which is supposed to be even better than Laffy Taffy… but haven’t tried it yet. Another favorite is the expensive but beautiful Nerds Rope.
The first session was so much fun we acquired three more houses – this time the CostCo offering which is pre-built as well as pre-baked.
Another fun evening with icing flowing everywhere… here are some of the results.