Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Gingerbread Houses 2015

As much as I love to bake, gingerbread houses have never been an interest of mine...until now! Surprisingly, what sparked my interest was a competition Jesse entered through work. Jesse was the only man out of a dozen or so colleagues who entered the gingerbread house competition. Each participant was given a pack of graham crackers, bag of dried out icing, and various edible decorations that had to be included. After I made fresh royal icing, Jesse set to work on Sunday afternoon.

Jesse made his house all on his own, with the occasional direction from Jackson, of course. I continued with what I know well--cookies.

Here is Jesse's completed house. He chose to make a "bachelor pad" with a gingerbread man ice fishing. We were pleased with his work, but it was laughable compared to the other entries. 

Seeing the potential for fun, I made a quick shopping trip and had the teens make graham cracker houses during youth group. Here was my house:

I overbought materials, which gave me an excuse to let the kids decorate. My original plan was to let the trio decorate gingerbread men and give Jackson a house to decorate. After a nonstop morning, the trio actually napped. Jackson decorated his house while they napped. He loved this activity.

I did have to remind him how to hold a piping bag so the icing didn't push out the top.

I'm sure he enjoyed the individual attention, especially since he demanded I take pictures of him throughout. He is so my kid!

Here's his finished house:

Seeing how much fun Jackson had while decorating made me willing to let the trio have a turn. I assembled three more houses with plans to decorate them together after dinner.

As a cake baker and buttercream fan, I rarely work with royal icing. I wasn't even sure if the graham cracker houses would be intact, but the royal icing was stronger than glue!

We waited until after dinner so Jesse, Jackson, and I could each partner with a toddler. Before and during dinner, Amelia kept pointing and saying, "House! Candy for house!" Jesse, Jackson, and I piped icing wherever the trio told us, then the trio applied whatever candy they wanted. It was a highly amusing hour of decorating and eating.

James was so proud of himself. He turned at me and grinned after every piece of candy.

Maddie ate half of her candy before it made it on the house. She'd ask Jesse for icing, then lick it off along with the candy.

Amelia ate almost all of her candy. Either she didn't understand the house decorating concept, or she was too impatient to wait. Jackson was humored by his silly sister.

Can you guess which house is Amelia's?

I don't see the point in displaying houses so they can become stale. All four kids took the same approach to eating their houses. They were so funny to watch!

Maddie eventually shared with her Dadddy.

The gingerbread men were fun to decorate, though lesser so to eat. Jackson said they were "too spicy". The trio didn't care for them either. They just ate all the icing and candy off of them.

We all had so much fun with our graham cracker gingerbread houses that I decided to host a gingerbread house making party next week. I guess this post is to be continued...

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