I was at first a little intimidated because gingerbread houses and I have had a checkered history. There was the initial attempt when my kids were young. We made an incredible mess making the tough, sturdy dough (and burned out a motor of my mixer!). We rolled, cut, and baked the gingerbread walls and roof. We assembled all parts with royal icing and set soup cans inside for support. I left the room for a moment and heard my kids yell “Oh noooo!” only to return to find the house of gingerbread had imploded, no possible way to reconstruct it. That was it. I was done with gingerbread and its houses. Then two years ago I garnered the courage to try, try again. Brave nephew Will and I attempted the kit, using its own parts, and we ended up with a cute but kindergarten-y version of our dream house. After all that work, I was disappointed.
This year is different. I took a deep breath and bought another kit. I figured, with the right attitude and a plan, it could work. No disappointment this time -- our house came out beautifully (see photo posted with this entry). These ready-made kits are a wonderful foundation for your own project. So, if you dare, buy a kit for under $10. Then go spend $20 on pretty candy, Wilton meringue powder for fail-proof royal icing, and a firm foam board for support. Your gingerbread house will take only an hour or two start to finish. It will be uniquely yours, and creating it with someone special will provide happy memories. Katie and I are thinking grand thoughts for next year's model. Two stories, wings, landscaping... It could get outa hand!
I bet Katie would say that, compared to the year and a half of building a long-awaited (and beautiful) post-and-beam home, gingerbread construction is a very attractive option!
Go on, give it a try!
Photo: Katie Eddy Hofmann of our 2009 Gingerbread House!