Oh hey! Remember me? I have been such a flake with blogging, but let's move forward - shall we? Since February a lot has changed in my world - but definitely for the better! I focused on family, friends, healing - and unexpectedly found love along the way. I will fill you all in with details soon - I don't want to overwhelm you on my first day back.
Today I am excited to kick off the holiday season with a fun little tutorial for you all. This past weekend Dan (the cute new man in my life) and I decided to build our dream home out of gingerbread. Both of us have a slight obsession with all things mid-century modern, so it wasn't hard to chose what architectural style to run with for the house.
Diving in head first - we watched a few YouTube videos, deemed ourselves experts and jumped right in.
Items you will need (in no particular order):
- A few boxes of gingerbread mix - we used three boxes of the Trader Joe's brand. I saw that Toll House sells sheets, unfortunately, they were out of it when we went to the store. Any gingerbread cookie mix/recipe, however, will do.
- A carton of eggs - for the ginger bread and icing.
- A package of powdered sugar.
- Food dye.
- Colored hard candies - we used butterscotch candies - but lollipops or Life Savers would be good too.
- Drafting supplies - sheets of paper, x-acto knife (or scissors), ruler and pen or pencil for creating your template.
- Icing Decorating tips and sandwich bags (or icing bags).
- Toothpicks, kebob sticks - etc. to help with fine details in the frosting.
- Mixing bowls.
- Hammer for hard candies.
- Wax Paper.
- Rolling pin (or smooth drinking glass or bottle will do.)
Step 1: Mix gingerbread cookies if your purchased a mix (or are making them from scratch) and place the dough in the refrigerator to set.
Step 2: Create and cut out your template.
Dan and I flipped through some of his architecture books for reference material and settled on this simplified design above.
For this particular model the front and back of the house was 14 inches wide, 4 inches high on the smaller ends and 7 inches tall at the point in the middle. The small side walls were 4" x 4", and the roof sides were 6" x 9".
Step 3: Roll out your dough on wax paper on top of a baking sheet. Roll the dough until it is roughly a quarter of an inch thick. Once you have it even, place your template on top and cut out. Repeat this step twice for all the sides/pieces. You will end up with 6 pieces total to work with.
Step 4: Smash that candy!! This was a fun step. Take your hard candies and place it in a few baggies (my bags would get small tears from the hammer so it helps to double or triple up). Then take your hammer and smash the pieces on a hard surface. We chose butterscotch candies for the windows because we wanted it to give off a warm looking glow. If you would like to go for a stained glass look use multi-colored Life Savers or lollipops.
Step 5: Fill the window cut outs with the broken candy pieces.
Step 6: Bake your gingerbread. Our recipe called for 375 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. While the gingerbread was baking I peeked in every few minutes to make sure the candy wouldn't burn. If the candy starts bubbling (mine did) turn the oven temperature down to 250-300 and keep checking until the gingerbread is thoroughly cooked - it took roughly 15-20 minutes altogether.
Ovens vary quite a bit, so for step 6 please just keep an eye on it.
Step 7: Bake the rest of your gingerbread cutouts and set aside to cool.
INTERMISSION - At this point we went to bed and decided to tackle icing everything the following day.
Step 8: Create your royal icing. I used this recipe here, but I used it as a general guideline. I wasn't planning on eating the gingerbread house so I eliminated using vanilla and eyeballed the amount of egg whites and powdered sugar. For me it took nearly a full bag of powdered sugar and 5 egg whites.
Step 9: Once your icing is ready to go split some of it up in to smaller bowls in order to add your food coloring. I used green, red and yellow coloring for portions of the design - the majority I left white.
Step 10: Release your inner artist! I started with outlining the windows with white icing to clean up their shape. I used a sandwich bag with a frosting tip at this point to pipe icing. From there I took a kebob stick and pulled down some of the icing to create icicles. I then added a door, wreath, tree and flamingo with a santa hat for good measure. I pulled inspiration from books and Pinterest. When the icing came out more of a pink color rather than red the yard flamingo idea just came to me.
Step 11: Once you have iced everything to your liking and everything has dried, it is time for assembly. I started with adding one of the smaller sides to the front of the house. Add the icing to where the sides will meet and hold for a few minutes until the icing sets. Repeat for all sides and roof - for this part it really helps to have someone helping you hold pieces while items dry.
Step 12: Add frosting to your base or add other additional features to the front and back yard. We baked a gingerbread cake from the same gingerbread mix, which created a soft base for the gingerbread house to sit on. From there I iced everything and added some powdered sugar to create a snowy effect. Feel free to add some trees, shrubs, a car, water feature, pool - etc. (get crazy with it!) At this point we were pretty burnt out so we threw in the towel.
Once your gingerbread house is complete - sit back and enjoy!! I still can't believe how well it turned out. It is my mini gingerbread dream home. If you decide to make a mid-century modern gingerbread house - or any gingerbread house - please email me your photos!
I had so much fun creating this house and tutorial - keep your eye out for more fun projects in the future!