It’s that time of year, gingerbread house season! Who doesn’t love decorating a gingerbread house?! It’s an annual tradition in our house & I’d love to share some tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way!
1. Prepare ahead of time! I like to start by making a sturdy base for our gingerbread creations! I use cardboard covered in aluminum foil. Grab any cardboard box you have laying around (perhaps a #boxofbannor) and use a box cutter or scissor to cut out squares or rectangles, wrap with aluminum foil, secure with a few pieces of tape on the back and Voila! You’ve got a sturdy base that will withstand the weight of your gingerbread masterpiece!
2. Sugar. Glue. This is a game changer! The most frustrating thing is struggling to get a gingerbread house to stand up and not topple over, especially if you have littles waiting to decorate. I suggest assembling your houses the night before so you are not rushed. Instead of using the premade kits, we use graham crackers for our houses, but this tip will work for whatever you choose to use. Skip the icing and try this: melt white granulated sugar over medium heat until it melts down into a caramel color, it will also thicken slightly. This is your sugar glue! It dries very quickly and it is strong, those houses aren’t going anywhere! Please be very careful as it will be HOT! I find it easiest to dip my graham crackers directly into the pan and then place them right onto my base. If you hold the cracker pieces in place for 10-20 seconds it should dry and you can move on to the next piece. Using a spatula can also be helpful for those hard to reach places, but watch for drips and do not let the sugar glue touch your skin. It may look a little messy, but don’t even worry about it, the decorating icing and candy will cover everything up! Pro-tip for easy pan cleanup: add enough water to cover the sugar and bring to a boil, this should dissolve any remaining sugar glue and cleanup will be a breeze!
3. Decorating ideas: Have any leftover Halloween candy? What about Easter? Rummage through those cabinets and use what you have! Most of the time the candy on the gingerbread house doesn’t get eaten anyway so go ahead and decorate with whatever you can find. When shopping for gingerbread house decorations, I focus less on taste and more on colors and shapes. I like to have a variety of colors and shapes to work with. We always use vanilla icing to attach the candy to our houses, and I find that one jar is enough for 2 houses. The best part about gingerbread houses is how unique to a person or family they are, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box!
4. After the holiday fun is said and done, and it’s time for the holiday decor to come down, what do you do with this thing and how do you encourage your littles to say goodbye to the gingerbread house?! Let me introduce you to the gingerbread house smash! Give your kid a rubber mallet, hammer, wooden spoon, whatever you are comfortable with and let them go to town! We have made this our New Years Eve tradition and we do it outside to avoid the mess! This is something our whole family looks forward to!
Happy holidays everyone!