Yesterday the boys and I made our 5th Annual Copley Gingerbread House. I’d like to say that after doing this so many years in a row this project is old hat and we crank it out quickly and easily, but I would be lying. Lying like a rug! In fact, I think this was the hardest year yet!
As usual, I used the Wilton gingerbread house kit. It comes with pre-baked pieces, instant royal icing and an assortment of candy for decorating. I supplemented with a bag of assorted hard candy, a box of candy canes and a bottle of Christmas light sprinkles (I’ll use the other sprinkles in the kit for cookies or lunches). In retrospect, I wish I’d bought some gumdrops too because I really like how they look on a gingerbread house and the kids ate almost all the ones that came with the kit before we started decorating.
I had two big problems putting the house together this time. The first problem was that I read the directions wrong and I assembled the house wrong. Instead of putting the side walls just inside the front and back walls, I put them outside. When it came time to put the roof pieces on (after I’d let the walls dry for 3 hours — argh!) there was a big gap between the roof and the top of the walls. I ended up covering the gaps with candy cane pieces, so I think I hid it pretty well, but it was hard to get them to stay there and it was a big pain in the patoot.
The icing was my other big problem. I made the icing and assembled the house one day and we decorated the next. I stored the icing in a plastic icing bag overnight and I even covered the tip with a wet cloth but it dried out a bit anyway. By the next morning it was really hard to work with. I ended up taking it out of the bag and mixing in a bit of water to thin it but I didn’t realize I’d thinned it too much until I’d already put it back in the bag. Grrrr! So I had to take it back out and add some powdered sugar to thicken it. It was still a little runny when I tried again, but by then I was really frustrated and the kids were whacked out on sugar from stuffing so much candy in their mouths so I just made the best of it.
I’m pretty happy with how our house came out this year, but it’s not really my favorite one we’ve made. (That would be 2008 with the icicles and Santa in the chimney.)
Here’s the thing: I don’t really make a gingerbread house for my kids. I let them participate because they think it’s fun and I’m a good sport who loves them, but really I do this because I think it’s fun. When they were younger, I could railroad them into making the house exactly they way I wanted, but now that they’re getting older they have their own ideas. And since they’re young, their ideas aren’t always as good as mine would be so the house doesn’t come out as nice as I would like.
Do I sound like a jerk? Yes. But I think all you crafty parents out there know exactly what I’m talking about.
My favorite feature of the house this year is this little walkway I made. I smashed some of our hard candy in a baggie with a rolling pin, then sprinkled it onto some frosting that I spread out on the board. If it were a real sidewalk, it would cut your feet up, but it looks good, right?
I also love, love, love the Christmas light sprinkles. This is the second year in a row I’ve put these on and I think I’m going to look for them every year going forward!
Want to read more from me about gingerbread houses? Here are some of my older posts:
- Five Tips for Decorating a Gingerbread House with Kids
- Gingerbread House 2010
- Gingerbread House 2008
- Gingerbread House 2007
Do you make gingerbread houses?