Yesterday I introduced our little gingerbread house project, five steps to be broken down into manageable tasks, ideally headed up by the kids after school.
Many of you chimed in on social media with enthusiasm and I was thrilled with the response. Excellent! Let’s get started then.
One list and one shopping trip is about the best thing you can do to start off on the right foot. Having everything ready to go at the beginning of the week will ensure the project goes smoothly. Hopefully, you won’t have to buy much; we made do with picking up a few candy canes and were able to work from a well-stocked pantry for the rest.
The After School Gingerbread Project Day 1: Assemble ingredients and equipment
I like to build my gingerbread houses onto something portable, with sides that contain the inevitable crumbs, candy shards, powdered sugar, etc. This year we used a paella pan that I knew I wouldn’t be needing over the holidays.
It’s rustic, perhaps not very festive, but it worked and it was very easy to move the house around afterward. You could use:
- a plastic tray
- a shallow wooden box
- a cake board (found at cake supply stores)
- a large platter
I’d suggest a cookie sheet, but you’ll be needing that in the coming weeks! The gingerbread house has a base slightly smaller than an iPad – 7.5×7.5 inches, so look for something that will hold it with room to spare.
I’m assuming you have the kitchen basics, so I won’t list mixing bowl, measuring cup, etc…
- A printer, or access to one, to print the plans (we’ll be using Marian’s free printable).
- A rolling pin, essential for the dough
- Tweezers, toothpicks, scissors and a small knife, for adding/trimming the candy
- A soft dishcloth, for ongoing clean-up
We’ll be making one big batch, enough for the house – and a tray of cookie for snacking! Don’t start mixing just yet (tomorrow) but be sure you have these ingredients on hand:
- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, cold and cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 egg
Rather than go out and buy a bunch of candy you don’t need, do a thorough search of the cupboards first and see if you can amass any candy scraps. Any candy goes – just ask the kids!
We seldom have candy in the house, so I bought the varieties above on the tray, favoring red, white and green for a classic look. The green candy melts and the dark chocolate squares we used for the roof and windows, but feel free to get creative when the time comes.
My gingerbread house decorating favorites:
- candy canes
- silver dragees
- Wilton Dark Green Candy Melts (or any color)
- squares of chocolate
- Red Hots
- Powdered sugar – about 3 cups
- Meringue powder. I know. It’s expensive, but it lasts from year to year, and with children making and eating the icing, it really is the safest bet.
- Bag. If you have a piping bag, great, if not, just use a sturdy Ziplock bag, with one corner snipped off. No need to go out and buy one just for this project, although, if this is going to be an annual event, a piping bag is a small investment.
Now you’re all set!
Introduction to the after school gingerbread project.
Day 1: List of ingredients and equipment.
Day 2: Make and chill the dough.
Day 3: Cut and bake the pieces.
Day 4: Prepare Royal Icing + assemble the base.
Day 5: Decorate!
Day 6: Outtakes
Hashtag your gingerbread house projects on Twitter & Instagram with #TASGP, and I’ll share a few photos in my next weekend links!