Gingerbread House Traditions

Every year in December, my daughters come over and we spend an entire day cooking for Christmas. Even though I live in one of those narrow lot home plans, my kitchen is well designed for preparing meals. It has a handy center island that is perfect for cooking. Since they were young kids, my two daughters always loved cooking with momma. They would help me with a multitude of tasks, including mixing batter, cracking eggs and buttering bread.

gingerbread house

Their favorite part of baking was making a gingerbread house. A lot of people will buy the kits in the store, but I always enjoyed making my own gingerbread. It creates the best aroma that spreads throughout my home. My oldest daughter really enjoyed mixing all of the ingredients together. First, we would take a package of dry butterscotch pudding mix, ½ cup butter, ½ cup brown sugar and mix it all together with an egg. Then we would add 1 ½ cups of flour, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 ½ teaspoons of ginger and 1 teaspoon of ginger into the mixture. Since it took quite a bit of stirring, they would take turns when their arms would get tired. Once it was well mixed, I covered the dough a chilled it in the refrigerator for about one hour.

Now is the fun part that my youngest daughter likes the best. We roll out the dough on parchment paper with a light dusting of flour and cut out the shapes. One year I made templates that were perfect for creating a house and I have saved them ever since. We also cut out trees and gingerbread men to put around the house as well as to eat. As the girls are cutting out their figures from the sheet of gingerbread, I preheat the oven to 350 degrees and we place them on greased baking sheets. We cook them for about 11 minutes until the edges become golden brown.

gingerbread men

 

After they have cooled off, it is my favorite part of decorating them and putting the house together. I gather all kinds of candy decorations, from mini chocolate chips and sprinkles to sliced almonds and shredded coconut. We use icing to hold the sides together and go from there making the windows as well as the roof shingles. The girls usually spent their time decorating their gingerbread men and I focused on the house.

Now that they are grown, we make even more elaborate gingerbread pieces with every passing year. They bring my grandchildren over and we have a giant gingerbread party in my ultimate kitchen. Our family grows more and more every year, and so does our gingerbread creations.

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One Response to “Gingerbread House Traditions”

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