Ok so this year I attempted (and succeeded) to make a gingerbread house. I think once in my life before we tried this and it wasn't easy...but anyway. New tradition for me, gingerbread house during the Christmas season. I researched this thing for a long time and the #1 tip was, make sure you have time. That is why I made it in this week that I have off from work and don't have anything else to do. So here's the process I used.
Day 1 Dough Making
Today I made the dough. Most recipes said that you should refridgerate the dough for a couple of hours but over night is better. I did the overnight option. I don't really know what the difference is but my house is still standing and this could be the reason...I did run into a problem or two the the dough making. First you should know that I don't have a mixer here so I had to make the dough by hand. For this particular cookie that is not an easy task. But I did my best. Also molasses in the syrup form was not available in the WHOLE country. Well maybe not but I found this and used it. I made it into syrup by boiling it on the stove with water. I needed about a cup so I used a cup of the sugar and boiled it is a cup or so of water. It never did get really sticky like molasses, but it got close. To make up for this fact though I just used a little less water in the dough...
Day 2 Bake Pieces
Today I cut out and baked all the pieces for the house. Not an easy task for a couple of reasons. My oven is only big enough for one piece at a time. Also I don't have a lot of counter space so where to cool the cookies was a problem. Also, stupid me didn't know that the pieces matching up was that big a deal. It was mentioned in all the tips that you could trim the finished pieces to be exact but to be careful because it's easy to break a piece like that. Well, I though I would rather use extra icing to fill in holes between the seems of the house than try to fix a broken wall. I found out later that making the thing exact is the way to go. Note for next year. Also, no flour on the top of the cookie like it says to do. Do it on the bottom and stop. If you do it on the top it is hard to get off and the cookie looks messy. Day Three Set Base
Today I set the foundation for the house. As advised I painted on the doors and windows before standing them up. This part went much better than expected. I used two batches of royal icing. I got through the first batch and the house was standing well, but I was skeptical so I made another batch to reinforce the bonds. Then I let this sucker dry overnight. At this point the pieces not matching perfectly still isn't a problem...Day Four The Roof and Chimney
Today is the day to finish the structure. On goes the roof and chinmey. Here is where the pieces MUST MATCH. The face that my roof-piece edges aren't straight and the wall-piece edges aren't straight made it impossible for the roof-pieces to have enough support from the house to stay on. There was really no place to attach the roof. They just didn't match up well...I used the cardboard pattern pieces from the front and back of the house inside the house to hold up the roof. Real houses have rafters and so does mine...Also the angle of the Chimney is really hard to guess until the house is together. Even though I made a pattern out of cardboard first and built the chimney to match that, the pieces being uneven plus forgetting that lots of icing would be holding this together made the chimney hard to get on. But it did make it! This also gets a day to dry...I had extra dough and icing, so I made snowmen...Day Five Decoration Day
Ty is the one with all the genius behind the decorating. We went to the store and he got a bunch of candy that he thought was "cute". He told me to make the icing for him and then leave him alone. I did, because I had so much other food to prepare... here's how he did.FrontSideI did make the snowmen and this back is all mine. I couldn't see all the candy go to waste...and I couldn't eat it. I think overall we did a great job. Next year we plan to do it again. But next year will be better because I learned alot about what to do better next year. Plus our candy selection will be better in America!