We have always made gingerbread houses, but until 2014 they were the store bought kits and since we only bought one, the kids all fought over the architectural nuances and design themes since they all had to share. Enter in some friends who had a fantastic solution. One had the recipe, the other the famous design tools and the gingerbread making party was born.
I think my grandma is just one of the best, and her efforts for her family have impacted so so many, it makes me happy to know that her love and efforts are circulating, growing, and being used by other amazing, loving moms. Making the world a better place starts with each family, and each child. Memories like these last a lifetime. I know they did for me.
Cost of party $15 for 7 hands on "sugar architects"
$8 for Gingerbread ingredients
$5 for Candy
$2 for project board "platters"
-1/3 cup Soft Shortening
-1Cup Brown Sugar (packed)
-1 ½ Cups Dark Molasses
- 2/3 Cup Cold Water
-6 Cups Flour (add one cup extra for house)
- 2tsp. Baking soda
-1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. Allspice
-1 tsp Ginger
-1 tsp Cloves
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
Chill dough. Preheat oven to 350’. Roll dough out (1/4 inch) Cut with patterns. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake until when touched lightly with finger, no imprint remains. (About 15 mins)
Makes 2 Houses:
Sides of house– make two, 4 ½ in. x 7in.
End of house- make 2, 4 ½in. x 3in. (angle pitch of roof at about a 60’ angle)
Roof- make 2, 8in. x 5in.
Icing Glue: 3 eggs whites, beat till fluffy, add one Lb Powder Sugar and ½ tsp. Cream of Tartar. Mix until thicker than Elmer’s Glue, but not firm. (I have added peppermint, vanilla, or almond extract to add some flavor to the icing with good results)
STEP #1: So, here is how it starts...the prep a few days ahead. I make up the parts for the houses. Each house has a front and back (from the same pattern), two sides, and two parts to the roof. All in all there are 6 pieces to each house with 3 patterns (2 pieces of gingerbread per pattern piece). Last year I had the ability to borrow some fantastic pattern pieces that my friend's husband created for her (S, I still want that as a gift someday!) But this year being at a loss for a pattern I just used some cardboard and created my own. My square/triangle piece is 4" x 6" and the sides were also 4 x 6. The roof was 3" x 6".
Once I made up my three pattern pieces I just used the recipe and began cutting out the gingerbread.
Day of the party, about 4 hours before your sugar genies arrive, mix up your icing glue and go ahead and glue the houses together. Yes, I know that this seems like it should be part of the process but trust me, there is some trial and error here and in order to have a good sound base to create a sweet masterpiece on, you want this house dry and firm. I let each of my children assemble their own and their friend's.
While the kids are assembling go ahead and cut up squares of trifold project board (you know the REALLY thick cardboard kind) HINT...Dollar Tree sells this for $1 for a Tri-Fold board which is enough to make about 12 platforms. I make my platforms 8" square so there is enough room for walkways and outdoor decor.
Prepare your workspace. I have used newspaper and I have used a tablecloth, whatever works. But do expect lots of droppings on the floor so a sound sweeping and mopping will likely be in order when the festivities are completed.
Also, make a second batch of icing glue (recipe up top) and split into small bowls with butter knives and also into ziplock sandwich baggies that you can snip the corner off of to pipe the icing from. This icing dries HARD so be sure to keep it covered before guests arrive.
Set out your little bowls of candy that you have assembled. For our party I purchase sprinkles and usually about $7 worth of $1 bagged candy from the dollar store. (This is where the other part of my cost comes from $8 for the recipe ingredients and $7 for the candy, the rest is all just labor of love!)
For the rest of the candy each guest is advised to bring 2 bags of candy to put into the mix so all can share and have a large variety.
STEP #5: Just stand back and let the creativity and sugar flow. This is truly the best part of the whole "party" I literally walk away. I usually put my littlest down for a nap and sit down on the couch for a moment of rest, I might even open a magazine for a moment or two. I just let them go and be creative, well, I do sneak in to snap some pictures, be sure you do too as it is quite comical!