I have been getting lots of great feedback about the contest. After a person enthusiastically proclaims, ” This is such a great idea!” I follow up , “Great, so you will enter a house?” Which is then followed by a long pause, grimace, deep breath and, “Well, I prefer to see them not create them, I couldn’t possible MAKE a gingerbread house.” Let me assure you folks-nothing could be further from the truth! My advice, become a believer. If you get a chance to see some of the “ad” houses out and about: Henry Carter Hull Library, Candy Lover’s Outlet, and Liberty Bank, you will see the structure is nothing fancy or complicated. This is the template for those houses that I created 7 years ago when I first made a house. You can make one house with a batch of the Wilton’s Grandma’s Gingerbread and have little left over to have a few cut out cookies if you choose.
You can can use the same ratios of the template and either increase or decrease the size of the pattern. Making the dough to having fully cooked house pieces will take less than an hour. Just yesterday, I made the dough and baked of the pieces for 5 “Mini Houses” using a double batch of the Wilton’s Grandma’s Gingerbread in about an hour and a half. These small houses are perfect for the little ones.
Once you bake your house, let it cool forat least a full 24 hours, 48 is better, especially if it is humid. When you are ready to assemble your house, make your Royal Icing, the glue. It is really easy, beat 1 pound of confectionary sugar, with 3 egg whites (room temperature) and 1/8 teaspoon Cream of Tarter. You can substitute meringue powder by eliminating the egg whites and cream of tarter, and replacing it with 3 tablespoons meringue powder and 5-6 tablespoons water. This mixture needs to be beaten for a long time-about 8 minutes. It needs to be stiff and not at all runny. Once made put the Royal Icing in either a pastry bag or zip-lock bag. Cut of a small part of the tip of the bag (corner of zip lock bag)-you don’t want the hole to be too big or you will have a mess when you try to pipe out the icing. Now, you are ready to assemble. I found a great little step by step photo series on assembling a gingerbread house on Just Gingerbread. What they do is exactly how I put my houses together. As they state, do not try to put your roof on until the walls are completely dry-it is best to let them sit over night.
Hope I made a few of you believers!