What do you get when you combine a mom who likes to bake, Christmas, and a toddler who is allergic to dairy and peanuts?
A lot…and I mean a lot of Christmas baking. But, more specifically, a homemade gingerbread house.
I’ve used this recipe for a few years now. Cody and I have made a gingerbread house every year we’ve been together. I guess one year we made a train, but that still counts right? (Photos below from 2013 and 2014)
This recipe makes a very firm gingerbread that doesn’t spread, perfect for cutting out shapes. I baked the gingerbread over nap time and “glued” it together once it was cool enough so that it would be nice and firm by the time Cody got home from work.
Elijah was speechless when we started bringing the supplies over to the table. And for those of you who know Elijah, you know that’s saying something. His eyes were wide with wonder and you could almost see his body buzzing as he thought about all the candy in front of him.
We used mini Starburst, pull and peel Twizzlers, Real Fruit gummies, and Maynard Beanz. For tools we used only our fingers and a couple of spoons in order to keep it easy for Elijah.
I made two houses this year, a large house and a smaller one. I also made a bunch of smaller shapes, snowmen, presents, trees, a sleigh and candy canes. I wanted to make sure we had lots to keep Elijah busy.
We set Elijah loose on the small house. He loved it. When he was all done, Cody pointed out that he didn’t have a door and kindly “installed” one on Elijah’s house for him. Cody was rewarded for his efforts with a very enthusiastic:
“I wuv it! I wuv it!”
Sticky fingers, walls, floor, chairs….but it was worth it. Elijah most definitely had “visions of sugarplums dancing” in his head last night. Before he went to sleep I could hear him talking in his room, “Oh! Look! Another candy!”
When Elijah woke up this morning he very quickly declared he was hungry (despite my attempts to get him to go back to bed as it was only 6:30 a.m.) When he got to the kitchen he knew exactly what he wanted for breakfast. Being that it was 6:30 a.m. and I had a particularly rough night with his teething brother…I will proudly admit that Elijah got candy for breakfast.
Now for the recipe (complete with gingerbread house template!)
Homemade Gingerbread House
- 1 cup butter or margarine
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 4 tsp ground ginger
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Mix all ingredients together. If the mixture doesn’t quite come together, add a splash of water.
- Turn out on to a floured counter and roll to 1/8 inch thick and begin cutting out your pieces. I began with the front and the back of the house and then used those pieces to accurately cut out the sides and roof. If you don’t want to guess, then use my template, found here.
- Use the remainder of the dough to cut out additional shapes.
- Bake for 12 minutes.
- Once the cookies are cool enough, begin decorating! I have included our “glue” recipe below.
Gingerbread House Glue
- 4 egg whites
- 6 cups icing sugar
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- Splash of water for consistency
- Mix first three ingredients together until icing forms.
- Add a splash of water to achieve desired consistency. Icing should be workable but still quite thick.
- Add food colouring if desired.