Gingerbread House Reveals Character


Kate Ginley, Staff Writer

‘Tis the season for holiday treats. As the aroma of winter delicacies fill kitchens, restaurants and stores, the classic gingerbread house still tops the list of winter-wonder culinary crafts.

Whether one gets an actual kit, bakes from scratch, or uses the classic kindergarten recipe of graham crackers and frosting, it is sure to be a fun process for all ages.

Gingerbread house making is a perfect bonding opportunity for families during the holidays.

A gingerbread house is a reflection of the personalities of those who work on it.

I prefer to use both a kit and graham crackers to complete my gingerbread house. Baking gingerbread takes precision. You can easily buy a kit, but be prepared for surprises nevertheless. I started out laying the frosting on the gingerbread walls as an edible adhesive before taking on the hardest task: putting it all together.

Getting the right proportions always seems to be a challenge. My gingerbread house has an oversized roof, with walls pushed awkwardly close together.

Sometimes, frosting alone is not adequate in keeping the walls and roof structurally sound. As a remedy, the use of candy canes as pillars helps support the roof, and tooth picks help keep smaller decorative elements in place.

After the main structure is set, it’s time to commence with the details. Candy such as peppermints and gum drops make for festive winter character. But if you want to put that old Halloween candy to good use, the more the merrier!

Create accents on the doors and windows with smaller candy. If you have Sour Patch Kids, stick them onto the base of the house or set the scene by placing them in positions that look as if they are playing with a Gobstopper ball in the front yard.

Rolled up Laffy Taffy makes for a great, colorful snowman.

Pull off two pieces of a Tolberone bar, get out coconut shavings, add it to a little bit of water and mix it with green dye. After your mixture is complete, spread it over the chocolate and stack the pieces on top of each other before adding M&Ms (or any candy) to make a Christmas tree. The coconut shavings can also be used for snow.

Unwrapped mini Hershey bars can be used as logs and fall themed Hershey kiss wrappers can be fashioned as flames for a cozy fire.

To assure your house isn’t lonely, add a dog house by breaking graham crackers in half and sticking them together with frosting.

The Food Network has an easy recipe that takes a total of one hour and thirty minutes.

Ingredients include:

“1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup light molasses or dark corn syrup

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons water.”

Mix brown sugar, butter, ginger, cinnamon, molasses, cloves and baking soda together in a large mixing bowl. Afterwards, make the dough stiff by adding flour and water. Wait about 30 minutes to assure bread is firm.

The oven must be preheated to 375 degrees. Cut two 3 by 5 inche rectangles for the front and back of the house. Cut two 3 by 12 rectangles to make the roof. Gingerbread that is 3 inches wide at the base, 3 inches towards the roof, and slanted about 5 1/2 inches from the bottom will be at the ends of the house. There will need to be smaller rectangles for the roof and sides of the entryway that are 1 1/2 by 1 inch. Lastly, one piece from the bottom for the front of the entryway needs to be 2 inches wide at the base, 1 1/2 inches towards the roof, and should be leaning to a height of 2 1/2 inches.

Plant the gingerbread on a large cookie sheet. Put paper patterns on top the dough to cut with a sharp,  knife. Be sure to cut around the paper patterns, but leave everything in place. Then bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes until the gingerbread has hardened. Put patterns on the gingerbread, and cut out shapes with a straight-edged knife once more. Let the treat cool down on a baking sheet.

Slip icing into a pastry bag with a pen and squeeze the frosting onto sections of the house. Use it for decorations, windows, doors, or anything you want, really. Leave the house to dry until the decorations and bread have hardened. Use the icing as an adhesive to stick the sides, front and back of house together. An object to hold up the pieces until the frosting is dry is suggested. Place the two roof pieces together with icing. Ice the sides and roof of the entryway together and then place the entryway on the front. After this is done, decorate the house with candy until your heart’s content.