I always wanted to make gingerbread houses as a kid. They were such a dream with all of the frosting and candies and sweets. What could be better than creating with candy? When I think of visions of sugar plums, I think of sparkling spice drops on gingerbread houses floating over my head. This year, I was determined to create this tradition for my own children.
I thought about buying the Wilton kits, and maybe if I didn't have the three days it took me, I would purchase them. At JoAnns they were on sale for $8 each, but I had everything on hand, besides candies, so I figured to just make them and save some cash.
I used this recipe from Epicurious, and I must add, was perfect. The recipe made a strong dough, but still soft enough to eat! Some reviews said the dough would crack and break, but the key is rolling it out between sheets of parment, then peeling off the top layer. Cut out your templates then slide the sheet of parchment onto a cool cookie sheet. This way you are never lifting the dough and causing it to break. Once the cookies are cool from the oven, then remove them to a cooling rack from the tray.
I made two entire houses, and then additional gingerbread men and house fronts. This was such a smart thing to do, because people could sort of make a house, without me having to make so many houses entirely. I recommend doing this even if you don't want to do the whole house thing.
I chose to glue ours with a carmelized sugar. Much better than icing and still something edible (rather than hot glue). The icing we used was great too. I make a few piping bags out of ziplock baggies and put a rubber band around each to tighten them up.
I just let the kids go with this one. Frosting and candy and all! The mess wasn't too bad and I love that I let go of my control to see what they would do with a bag full of frosting!
This was a really fun project to do with our family Christmas and I will definitely keep doing it year after year. It was nice to see all of the adults come over and decorate houses along with the kids.