Two days before the party I made the gingerbread dough and baked the house pieces (scroll down for links to recipes). I wanted there to be a variety of house sizes and shapes so I used about 7-8 different patterns. I think I made 10 or 11 houses total. The hardest part was keeping all the pattern pieces together as you're baking.
|baked house pieces, cooling|
|after they were baked and cooled, I put each house in a bag until we assembled them the next day|
|more houses, waiting to be built|
The next day, sis-in-law and I assembled all of the houses.
|assembled houses just crying out for some decoration|
|another view of the houses|
|cute little mini house|
Luckily my cats weren't interested in gingerbread so they left the assembled houses alone overnight. The next day was the decorating party! It takes a loooong time for the icing to dry so that's why we did all of the assembly before the party and then just had everyone decorate their own house to take home. I used a piece of cardboard, covered in tinfoil, as the base and "glued" the house to the base.
The houses could have been eaten, however I used a "structural" dough recipe so they would be stronger, so they were hard as rocks and probably would have broken a tooth! To this end, on the day of the party, I also made some gingerbread people and sugar cookies that could be decorated and eaten (and wouldn't break a tooth).
|gingerbread and sugar cookies, ready for decorating (and yummy sushi, made by sis-in-law)|
|the decorations - so much candy!|
The final products. Everyone's houses lined up and looking delicious!
Here are a couple of houses I made for Christmas 2009. I was doing dinner at our house, for the family, and made and iced a small house for each place setting. I did it all in one night so it was kind of a nutso (i.e. exhausting) project, especially since I was cooking a full English dinner in honor of my British hubby - for 7 people - the next day!
|two of the houses from xmas 2009|
gingerbread house dough - this recipe is great. The only thing I changed is to use molasses instead of corn syrup (because all of the pictures on this site were too light-colored and I wanted a nice dark brown house). I also added traditional gingerbready spices (ginger, cinnamon, cloves) so they'd smell as good as they looked.
icing - I used the wrong amount of powered sugar - and didn't realize what I had done wrong until the next day - so my icing, when building the houses, was too runny and took a really long time to set up.
google "free gingerbread house patterns" for loads of free patterns to download
Bye for now...