Last year, we bought a gingerbread house. The one that come in a kit, with all the candies and icing. Nice and easy. Except, the kids were much more interested in the candy than the actual gingerbread house.
This year, there was a bit of squabbling between my two kids. They both wanted their own gingerbread houses to decorate. My husband got a bit excited with the whole idea and decided he would make the gingerbread houses instead of buying the kits. He always wanted to make an entire village of gingerbread, with the houses laying on fake snow and have it all lit up.
He was excited for us to go buy the candies and make it a whole fun family event. Rolling out dough, flour on our noses, sitting around with hot cocoa, as we laugh about how each of us will make a better looking gingerbread house.
Picture perfect huh?
Well, sorry to burst your bubble but that stuff only happens in the movies.
I found this recipe for my husband to make since I couldn't persuade him to buy the kits this year. It yields about 4 homes of your choice (an entire village - as the magazine touted.)
Except, my 4 and 5 year old were getting impatient with having to wait for the gingerbread houses to be made.
"Why you have to make the houses?"
They thought that "making the gingerbread house" meant decorating it with candies.
Once the hubby rolled out and baked enough sides for two gingerbread schoolhouses, he then had to wait for them to cool so to ice the walls and roof together. Then, trying to ice the pieces together wasn't as easy as since he free-handed making the wall and roofs. The gingerbread homes were a bit slanted and needed to dry overnight, which caused more frustration with the kids.
"Tomorrow, tomorrow, you will be able to decorate the houses. You have to wait for it to dry completely so it doesn't fall over and break".
Disgruntled kids went to bed that evening. And a husband who spent a good chunk of time rolling out and precision-cutting the dough while trying to distract kids from touching it, was tired.
"I don't feel like making the other two gingerbread houses" he says, looking down at the ball of dough needing to be formed. The countertops were filled with flour and the cookies sheets, placed next to the sink, were needing to be washed.
I smirked, telling him I'd use the leftover dough to make gingerbread men for the kids to decorate with some friends from school.
"Next year, we'll just buy the kits" he says.
Sounds picture perfect to me.
makes about 4 gingerbread homes (house, schoolhouse, church, your choice) in roughly 5-6 inch size
1.5 cups butter, soft
1.5 cups sugar
1 cup fancy molasses
3/4 cooking molasses
8.5 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1.5 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp ground cloves
1.5 tsp cinnamon
Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in the molasses.
In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Stir into the molasses bowl slowly in a couple of additions.
Remove the dough and separate into 4 pieces. Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Roll out onto floured surface and cut shapes to make a gingerbread home. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes for large pieces. Let cool on wire rack.
Use icing of your choice to glue together your home. Add candies and decorations.
Recipe from: Winter Gingerbread Village, Canadian Living Holiday Baking Fall 2006 Magazine