Every year my family and I would always work together to create a gingerbread house during the Christmas season. When we grew older we would sometimes have competitions to see who would be able to make the most festive gingerbread house. I look forward to it every year and this event seems to get more competitive every year! It sure does bring the family closer together during the holiday. I am always looking for new tips and tricks even though I have learned many tricks these last few years. So here I am, ready to share what I have learned with the rest of you lovely "house makers".
Now I know when the holidays arrive that every store has their shelves stocked with a generic gingerbread house making kit. Those kits are awesome, however I like adding other ingredients and candies to my house to try and win my families competition. If you want to create the most magical gingerbread house this year I would totally suggest one or all of these items on my list!
Item one: I always make frosting for my gingerbread house. I am a baker and I love frosting... it is one of my downfalls really. I also do not think the gingerbread kits include enough frosting to get the job done and I also do not think that the boxed frosting holds the house together well. The last four years or so I have been making my own frosting and it has turned my gingerbread house from a nice rating of 5 to an astounding 10! I tend to go towards a buttercream frosting and you only need four ingredients to make it. You can find a recipe super easy online and it will take you no time at all.
Item two: Pretzels. Know, I know this may sound like an odd ingredient to add to this list but trust me it is way worth it. Last year I created a bridge with the frosting, pretzels and some of the candy. It was super cute and sure added a pop of color into my scene. I got this idea off of someone on Facebook last year and I am super glad that I did. I won the contest last year because of that little bridge. I used rice Crispy treats to create the base of the bridge and then constructed it using the icing that I made.
You can also use the pretzels as a way to create a "log cabin" look! Just cover your house in frosting and lay on the sticks of pretzels to fit the size and shape of the house. This was a fun idea and I tried it and simply loved it. As I am a country girl at heart. <3
Item Three: About two years ago I saw this video on Instagram about a women who created stained glass windows that were made out of Jolly Ranchers for her gingerbread house. I tried it and to my surprise it looked amazing! It was so easy to do and it was fun seeing the Jolly Ranchers melt in the oven. All you have to do is buy a bag of Jolly Ranchers, then in a large ziploc bag crush up your favorite colors into small pieces. I used a hammer to bang up my candies and it worked well. I laid them out onto a cookie sheet that had parchment paper on it and put it in the oven for just a few minutes. I then let the candies cool and broke apart the pieces to get small enough pieces for the windows on my house.
Item Four: I love adding snow onto my scenery and house as kind of a completing touch. I used to just spread icing all of the cardboard but then I learned something years ago that changed the way of my gingerbread house making. My mom had a bag of shredded coconut in the pantry and I of course thought it would be perfect to use. This worked for a few years however, I did not like that the snow never glistened. So the next year I bought some silver luster dust from a bake shop and mixed some into the coconut and blew some onto my finished gingerbread house. It was spectacular! The whole house just glittered lightly and it really seemed like my gingerbread house had just received a silent night of snowfall!
Item Five: Fondant is another secret item that you can use. You can build snowmen or penguins or even polar bears out of it. You can also use it as a base for your roof or even as a layer of "snow" of the cardboard. This has always been an idea that I would love to try and I am thinking that this year is the year to do so.
Item Six: Other candies that do not come in the package. There are MANY candies to chose from and it is always fun to get your favorite candies to help make your gingerbread house perfect. So have fun and go out of your way to do something different with your house making skills this year!
Item Seven: This is my last and final tip...for this year anyways. Who knows maybe I will learn some super neat tricks this year! If I do, you will be the first to know. Creating Christmas lights to go around your gingerbread house. This is super easy to, however it does take time. Then again gingerbread house making and decorating always takes time. For the lights you will need peanut M&M's, Mike and Ikes and black licorice. Tear apart the licorice into small strands and cut the Mike and Ikes in half. For the Mike and Ikes I used only one color to make everything even. I have a little OCD and like things perfect. The black licorice is for the strands and the Mike and Ikes are for the tops of the light bulbs and the peanut M&MS are for the colors of the lights! Super clever and yet super fun to add onto your house.
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and I would love to see your creations! If you would like to send me your creations or fun new ideas feel free to email a picture at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to share your houses on this article or any future articles that I may write.
ROBERT JAMES WHITTINGTON on June 26, 2020:
Never seen a RED GINGER BREAD HOUSE Before looks awesome !