At first I thought I was way too busy to do this challenge but then I kind of got excited by it & in the end Matt & I had so much fun making our little houses that I'm really glad we did it. I decided to do a village of small houses which for some reason seemed more managable to me than one big house. Then I spread the project out over 3 days which also made it not seem so big. Day 1, I made the dough & let it refrigerate overnight. Day 2, using templates for 2" x 3" house that I found here & here.
I just cut the templates out of paper & laid them on the dough then cut around them with a sharp knife. Here are some things I learned. 1. Flour your template. 2. Press the knife down to cut the dough don't drag it or your dough will pull. 3. Remove the template right away or the dough will stick to it & ruin your piece. I also cut out a few small trees to add to my village. I used different cake decorating tips to make textures on the roof pieces before baking. I didn't have much trouble with the dough shrinking while cooking though it did puff up in some places. I let the cooked gingerbread pieces sit overnight on the counter to get really dry.
Day 3, was all about decorating & assembly. I good stiff royal icing is really key to getting the houses to build easily. With thinned it out with water as needed for different types of decorating. I used meringue powder in my icing which worked really well.
We did some of the piping work for windows & doors before putting the houses together. We figured it would be easier to do with the pieces lying flat. I made a base for the village from a piece of cardboard covered in tin foil. Then we piped a line of icing for each side of the houses to help secure them. After all four sides were up we let the icing dry before putting on the roofs. Then came the fun part of adding all the other decorations.
We thinned the icing out with a little water to coat the trees & make the dripping snow on the roof. Thick icing made great smoke from the chimney.
The next week I got invited to my cousin Lucas' first grade class to help make a gingerbread house as well. We went a little easier route by attaching graham crackers to milk cartons with frosting but the results were just as cute!
This post is dedicated to my $7 Target hand beater that met an untimely death while making royal frosting.
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© 2007-2009 Kathy Lewinski
© 2007-2009 Kathy Lewinski