This week’s thanks go to guest blogger, Jessica Cottrell, whose overambitious post-Thanksgiving adventures resulted in this great gingerbread house idea. Stay tuned for more of Jessica’s gingerbread adventures next week!
‘Tis the season to look on Facebook and see all the cute and crafty things everyone is doing to decorate and celebrate. After seeing pictures of my friend’s children decorating gorgeous gingerbread houses, I was torn. I wanted to do gingerbread houses with my kids, but after making Thanksgiving dinner a couple of days ago, I didn’t particularly feel like making a bunch of gingerbread, and I am too cheap to buy two of those monstrous kits they sell in the stores. But upon opening my fridge to fetch snacks, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a package of Immaculate Baking Company Gingerbread Cookie Dough that I had purchased and forgotten about. Hooray, time to play!
I like to let my kids eat their houses, and I can’t stand having them linger half eaten on my counter for a week or more, so I wanted them tiny. I floured a rolling pin and cutting board, grabbed three cookie dough balls and started rolling. Through trial and error, I found that this is best acheived if you let the dough sit on the counter for about 5 minutes after removing it from the refrigerator. I used half of a graham cracker as my template and cut two squares out of the rolled dough. I added two more balls to the leftover scraps and repeated until I had 12 squares. You need 6 squares for each house – 4 walls and two rooftops, I would recommend an additional square that can be cut in half diagonally to help support the roof, but I didn’t do that. I baked the squares for 11 minutes on a floured cookie sheet at 350 degrees and checked to make sure they were pretty firm so they wouldn’t collapse in on any gingerbread families.
After the squares cooled, I trimmed the uneven sides, made a basic sugar and water frosting compound and began my short lived gingerbread contractor career. After some initial mishaps, I succeeded in creating a couple of cottages that only my children could love, and after giving them a good hour so the frosting could dry, we started the task of decorating. Of course, you can just use whatever you have on hand to beautify your buildings – dregs of the Halloween bowl work nicely and we had a smattering of candy, Annie’s chocolate bunnies, some cereal, chocolate chips and several kinds of sprinkles left over from past baking endeavors. Due to a mishap involving a dearly departed snowglobe, lots of cursing and my last package of confectioners sugar, we used leftover frosting tubes to glue our goodies onto the houses.
The final product looked good enough to eat (as is generally the rule when one is working with a giant cookie decorated with more cookies, sugar and candy), and our cookie subdivion quickly disappeared faster than a wayward Gingerbread Boy. And the best part is that I had almost half a package of cookie dough left for more treats… like Gingerbread Snowmen!