I've never had the desire to make a gingerbread house from scratch. It's always just seemed way too time consuming and complicated for me and I'm just not one to spend hours and hours in the kitchen. But, I really do love the way they charm up our home at Christmastime, so I have figured out a way to do them as simply as possible.
We start off with a package of rectangle shaped cookies. I have tried a couple different kinds and these Pepperidge Farm Chessmen ones are my favorite. I like the lighter color and also the size. They make the cutest little mini houses that are just big enough to add some color and charm, but not so big that it becomes an overwhelming two-hour project to decorate them.
I decided to hot glue the houses together this time before my family came in to add the icing and candy because I thought it would make the decorating part more fun. My son thought it was a terrible idea to hot glue them because "isn't the whole idea to make houses that are edible?" Then I asked him if he has ever in his life actually eaten a decorated gingerbread house and he said no, so I think we're good. :)
Anyway, you can see that I just hot glued four pieces for the base of the house and then two pieces for the roof. So, each house takes six cookies. Each bag comes with 24 cookies, so you can do the math to figure out how many bags you need.
Then I made the easiest-ever icing with just powdered sugar and water. I had to experiment a little until it was thick enough, but not too thick, but with only two ingredients, it wasn't too hard to get it right. We then placed the icing in ziplock bags and cut off a very small part of the tips. I realize this probably isn't the best way to do the icing, but we do things simple around here and I'm ok with the imperfection.
Then we went to town decorating with different types of candies.
And that's it!
It was so simple and fun. We put on some Christmas music and had such a nice time.
Our dog, Charlie even enjoyed getting in on the excitement.
I do have to admit that I didn't put enough hot glue on the first few houses I put together, so a few of them weren't strong enough - hence the unfortunate mishap experienced by the very son who was disappointed in my choice to hot glue them in the first place. :) Oh well. You win some, you lose some.
Most of them turned out great, though.
I even had one son add another story to his, which made it look a bit like a Dr. Seuss house.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to get a gingerbread house vibe but doesn't want to do all the hard work of making them from scratch. (I also like this way better than the kits because they are smaller and easier to manage.)
Anyway, here's to creating simple, meaningful moments with those we love.
Sending my love again to all who are having a difficult time this Christmas for one reason or another. Please find help and hope wherever and however you can.
Lots of love,