7 Tips for the Perfect Gingerbread House

I still remember my excitement when I got my first gingerbread house kit. It was something that I had never seen before and it was never a part of Christmas celebrations in my family. As the years have gone by, I’ve experienced so many different gingerbread houses for many different occasions. For example, there’s the classic Christmas house, the Easter house, and of course, the haunted Halloween house.

IMG_20151030_180712This year, I really got into the Halloween spirit and in addition to dressing up and getting my family into handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, I decided to whip out a good ol’ fashioned gingerbread house kit. Of course, it wouldn’t be spooky enough if it wasn’t a chocolate gingerbread haunted village. (My mom works for a company that produces all these kits so I’m lucky enough to get them for free, but really you can find them at any grocery store, Walmart, Costco, etc.)

IMG_20151030_180924The kits come with the pre-baked cookie pieces, icing, and loads of candy. I always worry about the amount of candy that I get and not having enough to properly decorate the houses with. But I always have leftovers. Always. There are printed instructions on the back of the box and also videos online on how to assemble the cookie pieces. But from my many years of gingerbread house decorating, here are some tips if you ever decide to make your own for whatever occasion:

  1. Village kits come with smaller cookies that need to be broken apart. Be careful when doing this since they tend to crack in the wrong places. But don’t panic if your cookies do break; simply glue them together with some icing!
  2. The box will ask you to massage the icing packs. Do it. Your hands will thank you later when you won’t have to squeeze like death to get icing out of the bag. BUT, this is not to say that you should melt the icing, maintain a good temperature so that the icing is easy to work with.
  3. Speaking of icing, when you’re cutting the tip of the piping bag open, don’t cut too much. You can always cut more off the tip if you find that not enough icing is coming out. But you can’t un-cut the tip!
  4. I like to pour all my candy into little dishes just to keep my work area relatively clean and organized. This is optional, but I find it does stop things from rolling everywhere or spilling inadvertently from the little baggies.

5. The box will tell you to assemble your houses first and then decorate. Don’t listen to the box. Decorate your cookies first and then assemble when everything is dry and secure. You’ll thank me later for recommending that you DON’T defy gravity.

6.  Think of a plan before you start. Do you want to design your own? Follow the box? This will contribute to your gingerbread house looking truly wondrously festive rather than crumbly and dilapidated. Unless of course that’s the look you’re going for.

7. Lastly, be patient, this is not a project that you can do on the fly. It takes a lot of time, especially if you’re detail oriented and a control freak like me.

This is merely something that I wanted to share with you guys, perhaps as suggestion for a festive activity for Christmas or Halloween next year. What do you guys do to celebrate?