Oddly enough, up until this year I have never really made gingerbread. One year I think we did try cut out gingerbread boys. It did not work well. That was probably a good 5 or more years ago. This year I decided I really wanted to make some gingerbread houses with my kids. Originally I thought I would get some sort of kit to make things easy. My husband nixed it. “If you are doing it, you need to make the dough.” He started looking for recipes, I queried my family for ideas and finally through a little of what my husband refers to as Google- Foo, I came up with a recipe that looked good. It came with step by step instructions and LOTS of pictures. The only thing is that the website did not give me an idea of just how many houses you could get out of one batch of dough.
I have 3 children. My oldest two are 11 and 8, the youngest is 3. I knew that the youngest was going to want to help. After talking to the older two about letting their sister help them. (me: “If I only make enough dough for 2 houses will you share with her and let her help?” Them: “If she puts the decorations where we tell her.”) I concluded that I really aught to have enough for her to have her own house as well. Then I decided to ask one the kids friends over to decorate one as well. So with no idea how much dough I actually needed I decided to err on the side of having too much dough. I made four batches! For anyone out there who is thinking of EVER doing this, that is WAY too much dough. Actually it kind of depends on the size of the houses but still, WAY too much dough.
Not only did we make four houses, the next day we made ginger bread boys, tree, Santas, and snowmen as well. I still have a whole batch of dough in the fridge and I just can’t make anymore.
The good new is that the kids made absolutely wonderful houses. I bought all sorts of candy at the store to use for decorations and then we went through the Halloween candy stash. This year we got TONS of starburst fruit chews. It turns out that they make great brick walls. Coconut was also a HUGE hit. They sprinkled it everywhere for snow. Gumdrops were used for bushes and decorations and Luminaries on top of my sons pueblo style house. my youngest decorated her entire roof in small marshmallows and gumdrops.
We literally spent all day on this project. Our friends who came to help had a great time and took home a completed house and more candy so she could add to it as she wanted. Her mom said she was working on it for several days afterwards.
The girls houses were made from the templates I downloaded from the above website. The small one is from the printed templates. They did not print to scale. The larger one is the actual scale house and so it is bigger. I asked my son what he wanted to do and he wanted to make a pueblo style house and sat down with graph paper and charted out his idea. He wanted a the roof to extend outward with pillars. Tootsie rolls and more starburst candies were put into use as pillars for the porch. Laffy Taffy made great sidewalks.
I have to say that this project while being futsy, was really not difficult. I made the dough ahead of time and all we had to do that day was roll out cut and bake. The kids had almost more fun landscaping their yards as they did decorating the houses.