I started the tradition of making Gingerbread houses with my kids from the time they were barely old enough to stick cereal pieces onto a frosted Gingerbread roof from their high chair. I've got to say that our first attempts at Gingerbread houses were pretty sorry looking. They were less than structurally sound to begin with and then we would pile on as much candy as we could before the eventual collaspse occurred. It took years to convince my kids that the HEAVIEST Gingerbread house was not necessarily the best house.
Over the years of building Gingerbread houses, our decorating has become a family Christmas tradition. This year was no exception. We had a blast with this years Gingerbread House decorating party. I'm not going to say which house won the decorating contest this year but I will say that MY DAD has officially been asked to step down from the competition. (Seriously - how many years in a row can he win this contest?) From now on he is going to be the Davis family Gingerbread House building CONSULTANT from now on.
1 1/4 cups packed dark-brown sugar
3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Transfer mixture to bowl of standing mixer. Beat in flour and baking powder.
Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Roll out the Gingerbread to 1/8 inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters.
Place on silpat lined cookie sheet and bake 12 minutes at 350.
Let pieces sit at room temperature until firm. (I like to let mine sit out overnight to dry.) Assemble front, back and sides first. Let dry before adding roof.
Now the fun begins - Decorate!!!
If the novelty of new toys has already worn off and you're looking for a great way to entertain your kids for the next few days until they go back to school - let them create a gingerbread house. The sheer amount of snacks and sugar will draw them to this activity and it will keep them busy for hours.
We decorated our Gingerbread houses on Christmas night but there's no reason that you cant make it a New Years Eve activity. Oh, and if you need some Gingerbread House consulting - you can contact my dad. ;)
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