Gingerbread House 2011!

by Wendy Copley on December 19, 2011

Gingerbread House 2011

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!

Gingerbread House 2011

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.

Gingerbread House 2011

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.

Gingerbread House 2011

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.

Gingerbread House 2011

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.

Gingerbread House 2011

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?

Gingerbread House 2011

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:

Do you make gingerbread houses?

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  • Jessica

    It is cute! We found one that was preassembled at Costco this year so we didn’t have to put it up and let it dry before decorating. It was SOO much better for us since I usually use at least half the icing trying to get the house up!!!

  • heyjenrenee

    I love you + your gingerbread house honesty. I had the SAME issues with our Wilton house/frosting this year. (and this is my fourth year making them, too … should be a piece of cake, right?) I thought I was being really smart and assembled the house the night before, so Lo could just wake up and decorate it, but my icing was too thick and the whole house collapsed twice before I got the right consistency. my husband announced my defeat on FB and I was like, ‘no!! the pre-baked Wilton kit will not beat me!’ hahaha …

  • Yes! EXACTLY! The supposedly easy gingerbread house kit will bow down before me…eventually.

  • This is the first year for us doing a gingerbread house, and I think I went into it too serious but by the end I had mellowed out some (I was crazy and bought a ton of extra candy-we found chocolate “rocks” that my hubby made the path with). It was a good excercise for me to let go of my Type A personality. Next year I am going to ditch the kit and make little houses with Graham Crackers or Rice Krispie Treats as everyone can have their own!

  • Jenn @ BentoForKidlet

    Very cute!! And I know exactly what you mean about decorating because it’s fun! Now that my son is older we each do our own house as he will no longer accept my ‘helpful’ suggestions 🙂

  • Plume

    Silly question, as someone who didn’t grow up doing this (it’s not something that’s done, or at least common, where I come from): what do you do with the house after Christmas, do you eat or toss or what?  They look terribly cute, but not appetizing to me. 

    We’ve never made a gingerbread house.  I have an August ’08 boy too, but he’s not much into crafts.  I will end up doing this myself quite probably if we ever get one.  Hope my newbie is more into crafts than her big brother.  Although I have to admit, I sometimes like he’s not into it, that way things turn out how I’d like them to.  Awful, I know, but hey. 

  • Debbie

    I made gingerbread houses with my girls when they were little.  Now my oldest works in a chocolate shop and recently made a gingerbread replica of the store.  Were they impressed!

  • Wow! I’d be impressed too!

  • I view gingerbread houses as a craft project, *not* as a food project. We usually bash our house up with a hammer sometime the week after Christmas. I don’t ever eat any of ours, but my kids like to pick the candy off and have some. Sometimes we let it sit too long though and I don’t even let them do that.

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