Welcome to a place where we can share ideas about grandparenting, especially ways to pass spiritual values and family stories to the next generation.

Mary is the co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild's Heart.
Visit www.legacyconnection.org
My photo
Co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild's Heart

Friday, November 8, 2013

Making Gingerbread Houses

Friday's Grand Connection Fun
by Mary May Larmoyeux

Even though the fall wreath is on the front door, it's time to be thinking about making gingerbread houses. With seven grandchildren, it takes me a while to make all of the houses that our growing family will soon decorate. 

For more than two decades, our family has had a wonderful time making gingerbread houses before Christmas! Has your family made gingerbread houses during the holidays?

I use the following recipe, adapted from one printed years ago in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.  (See pictures of actual preparation.)

Gingerbread House Template

Basic Corn Syrup Gingerbread Dough

9 cups unsifted flour
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind (optional)
One and one-half tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups light corn syrup
One and one-half cups light brown sugar firmly packed
One and one-fourth cups butter or margarine

Combine flour, lemon rind, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a large bowl. Stir together corn syrup, brown sugar and butter in a 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter is melted and ingredients are well mixed. Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture and stir until blended.

Form dough into a ball and knead until smooth and pliable. Roll out dough and cut into 1/4" thickness, using a lightly floured rolling pin. Cut out desired shapes for houses and gingerbread men. We cut out a cardboard pattern with three shapes (cut two of each shape):

roof—5 1/4" x 3 1/2"

side—4 1/4" x 3 1/2"

and peaked side 2 3/4" x 3 1/2" with triangle on top. The peak of the triangle is 4 1/2" from the base of the rectangle it sits on. 

You can make the houses as large or small as you like. The above recipe will make two small gingerbread houses and a few gingerbread men (use cookie cutters for them).

Put shapes on cookie sheets that have been sprayed or greased lightly with Crisco (or something similar). Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until shapes are firm and lightly browned. Cool shapes completely on racks before assembling.

Snow Frosting

3 egg whites (if possible, at room temperature)
1 pound box confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon cream of tartar

Place the above ingredients in a large bowl and beat at medium or high speed until stiff (approximately 5 minutes). Cover with damp cloth.

Makes about 2 cups.

Use the Snow Frosting to glue houses together, attach decorations and make icicles. After building house, allow frosting to dry at least one hour before decorating. I allow the houses to dry overnight.

The tradition of making gingerbread houses has been great fun for our family and has has created some wonderful memories.

What are some of the things that your family has done to make Christmas memories?

Have a great weekend,
StoryWriting Studio

Photo and article © 2009 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.


Sharon Ball said...

Okay, I have a confession. I have never in my life made a gingerbread house. I'm probably one of the few people alive who doesn't actually like gingerbread. I know...shocking! But I sure do love Christmas cookies! :-)

Mary May Larmoyeux said...

Hi, Sharon, I'm sure you're not alone in not liking gingerbread (I like it!).

Christmas cookies are fun to make and eat! Good thing that calories don't count in December.

Anonymous said...

I want to be your grandchild. You’re fun. Blessings, Rita

RoseMillsOhio said...

I used to dream about making a gingerbread house, and then around 1976 I made a really cute one, completely from scratch. Apparently, I just needed to get it out of my system, because I've never wanted to make another one since!

Thankfully, my children were happy enough with decorating graham cracker lean-to houses!

Mary May Larmoyeux said...

Those graham cracker "gingerbread houses" can be really cute. Like you said, Rose, kids just enjoy the fun of making something with someone they love.

Mary May Larmoyeux said...

If you are going to make a gingerbread house, my friend Janie made a template that will help you. To find it, just go to www.marymaywrites and click on How to Make a Gingerbread House. (Thanks, Janie!!)