Gingerbread House Decorating Tips

gingerbreadGingerbread houses are a lot of fun, and kids really love them. But really, baking the gingerbread can be such a pain the neck. Who really wants to do that? Don’t you wish you could just skip ahead to the decorating? You can, with Gingerbread Traditions!

Pre-baked gingerbread house kits from Gingerbread Traditions make building gingerbread houses as easy as it gets. They let your kids get down to what they really want to do, which is to decorate the whole thing. So let’s talk about how to decorate a gingerbread house.

What You’ll Need
Candies…plenty of them, as many as you can get. Gumdrops, red licorice, chocolate kisses, hard candies…the list goes on! Unwrap them all and place each type into separate bowls. The last thing you want to do is to unwrap the candies while the royal icing starts hardening.

What You Need To Do
Set the house on top of a box or large book while you’re decorating it. You should be sitting, and the house should be at your eye level, while you decorate your gingerbread house.

Gingerbread House Decorating Tips

Roofs – Use gum drops or vanilla wafers. Mini cookies and Frosted Mini Wheats serve the purpose as well.

Shutters – You will need wafer cookies, mini candy bars, and perhaps sticks of gum.

Fences – Consider pretzels – both chocolate-covered pretzels and regular mini pretzels. You may want to add mini gingerbread men as well.

Trees and bushes – Try green spearmint leaves.
Smoke – Use cotton balls or quilt batting.

Snow – Use confectioners’ sugar. There’s also something called edible glitter, which is available at some stores. You may want to use that as well.

Logs – Try mini Tootsie Rolls – they fit the part perfectly.

Finally, for added effect, use foil-wrapped chocolate toy soldiers, snowmen and Santa.

Once you have all of your candies, you’re ready to start decorating! Here’s what to do next…

Fill the Pastry Bag with Royal Icing
Once you’ve decided on your candy decorations, fill up a pastry bag with Royal Icing. Keep the tip of the bag covered with a damp paper towel to prevent the icing from hardening.

Let’s get started with the decorations!
First, cover the seams of the gingerbread house with candies. Use green-colored spearmint leaves to form trees and bushes at all four corners. Decorate the front door with cookies; use unwrapped Andes mints to form the steps and form windows and shutters with the icing.

Next, decorate the back of the gingerbread house with as many candies as you can get your hands on. Just go crazy here!

Now, let’s start filling up the base of the gingerbread house with more candies, held together with Royal Icing snow.
What about the roof of the gingerbread house? Spread a thin layer of Royal Icing evenly on the roof. Add cookies and gum drops here.

That’s it! The decorating is done. Now allow the gingerbread house to stand for an hour before letting the kids have their way with it! Mmmm…what a tasty house!

Gingerbread Traditions is based in Oregon and delivers the most delicious and highly creative gourmet gingerbread kits shipped directly to you. Any gingerbread house kit made by Gingerbread Traditions makes for a fun and exciting gift for friends and family – kids as well as adults. Order your own pre-baked gingerbread kits online today!

Gingerbread House Tips & Tricks

gingerbread houseBaking gingerbread houses and then decorating them is a popular family tradition in America with a rich 200-year-old history. It is very easy to build your own gingerbread house – just follow the tips and tricks given here. Your kids can build a gingerbread house too—it’s that simple. When they do, be sure to take photographs, because it’s such an awesome accomplishment!

Here are some useful gingerbread house tips & tricks you can use…

Tip #1. Let’s start with the design. Pick a simple design, such as an A-frame house, which consists of a front, back, and roof. Not only is an A-frame house simple to make, it is also quite sturdy. You can also choose a basic house design with four walls and a roof – six pieces in all.

Tip #2. Pick a recipe that’s easy to make. You want a recipe that doesn’t have to be chilled as that slows down the process considerably.

Tip #3. Roll out the dough directly onto parchment paper rather than rolling out the dough, cutting the pieces and transferring to a baking sheet. That would distort the gingerbread completely and even tear it. The resulting piece is likely to be fragile and easy to break.

Tip #4. Bake as much as possible – in fact, you should over-bake when making a gingerbread house. It’s okay to stick to the recommended baking time when baking gingerbread cookies – but that would give you a soft product. You want something stronger and sturdier for a house. That’s why it is important to bake the gingerbread until it gets dark brown around the edges. You can check if it is hard enough by using your fingers to press down on the gingerbread. You want the gingerbread to be firm, not soft like a cookie. Soft gingerbread won’t hold up the candy and the frosting. So, when you bake, don’t stop until the pieces turn really dark.

Tip #5. You should always use Royal Icing. You don’t want to use the frosting from a can. Instead of pre-made frosting, use Royal Icing as it acts as a much better glue to hold up all the pieces of the gingerbread house. The icing is like cement for the gingerbread house. The Royal Icing needs to be beaten well with the mixer to ensure that it is thick enough. Once prepared, it should be covered with a damp cloth—otherwise, it will simply dry out.

Tip #6. Remember, a fully completed gingerbread house will be very heavy. The gingerbread itself is heavy and when you add candy, it gets so much heavier. In fact, a fully completed gingerbread house can weigh up to 5 pounds. That’s why you want a sturdy base for your gingerbread house. You can use a couple of cake boards or Styrofoam as a base.

Tip #7. Allow the house to dry for at least a couple of hours before decorating it. You want to give the royal icing enough time to harden as much as possible. Decorating the house before the icing is totally dry would affect the structure badly. That’s why you need to wait a reasonable amount of time for the house to dry and the pieces to set before decorating it.

candiesTip #8. Kids love candy, and you cannot have enough of it! Have candies of all types, colors and shapes available—the more the merrier. Just go crazy with the decorations, and don’t stop until you run out of candy and other decorative pieces.

Tip #9. Baking the gingerbread takes a lot of time. Plus, it’s a complicated process and a lot of things can go wrong. And what your kids really love is decorating the house; they don’t really care much about the baking part of it. That’s why it makes sense to buy pre-baked gingerbread house kits from Gingerbread Traditions. This way, you spend more time decorating and less time baking, and the kids will have so much more fun!

Gingerbread Traditions, based in Oregon, delivers the most delicious gourmet gingerbread kits, shipped direct to you. Gingerbread house kits make fun and creative gifts for friends and family members of any age. Buy your own pre-baked gingerbread kits online today!

Using a Pre-Baked Gingerbread House Kit

gingerbread house white christmasThe act of decorating gingerbread houses is a popular family tradition in America, loved by parents and kids alike. But if you are short on time and would rather skip the baking process and begin the decoration of a gingerbread house right away, picking up a pre-baked gingerbread house kit really makes a lot of sense.

Pre-made gingerbread house kits are easy to assemble, and often come with candy and icing. You also get detailed instructions. Gingerbread Traditions is an Oregon-based company that makes highly popular pre-baked gingerbread house kits for families – no baking needed, start decorating the pre-baked gingerbread house that comes in attractive variations right away.

Why are pre-baked gingerbread house kits so popular? Almost nobody likes the hard work involved in baking gingerbread in the precise way required for construction of a gingerbread house. It takes a lot of time and many things can go wrong. A pre-made gingerbread house kit is so much easier to work with. In fact, the kids can start decorating it straight away, and it’s a lot more fun this way. The gingerbread houses-kits from Gingerbread Traditions serve as classy gift ideas for Halloween, birthdays, anniversaries or Valentine’s Day.

Here are a few tips you can use after buying a pre-baked gingerbread house kit from Gingerbread Traditions

gingerbread house plans
  1. Before you start assembling the house, check all the pieces. There could be slight variations in the shapes of the gingerbread pieces. Just make sure that the edges are as straight as possible.
  2. Use a ruler and a knife to trim the bottom of the pieces and the inside edges so that they are perfectly aligned when assembled.
  3. You don’t have to assemble your gingerbread house when first. You can, decorate the sides of the house while the unassembled pieces are lying on a flat surface. This ensures that the decorations don’t fall off when you assemble them later because of gravity.
  4. If you do decide to assemble the house before decorating, do so a day before. This way the house has enough time to set up. Thereafter, you can start decorating it.
    Assembling the Gingerbread House
Start building the house. Join one side wall to one peaked wall; Join the panels so that the sidewall connects with the inside edges of the peaked wall; Pipe the icing along the bottom and inside of the peaked wall as well as the side wall; Press all the sides together and attached to the base. Once held in place for a while, the icing begins to set.

Next, attach the roof panels. Pipe the icing along the sides of the roof panel as well along the top of the walls. Position the roof sections so that they connect with the peaked wall and the side wall edges. Make adjustments so that all sides are evenly pitched. Press and hold the house in place for a few minutes to allow the icing to set properly.

What are the different types of pre-baked Gingerbread House Kits?
gingerbread house kit
At Gingerbread Traditions, there are three types of pre-baked Gingerbread House Kits available for sale: full kits, just the pre-baked parts and the already constructed kits.

The full kits come with parts for the gingerbread house, instructions, and base, white icing packet as well as candies and decorations; Just the pre-baked parts kits include unassembled gingerbread house parts only, and you don’t get candies and decorations with them. If you need anything extra, you’ll need to order separately.

The third type is the already constructed kits, which include a fully assembled chocolate gingerbread house, instructions, base, white icing packet, candies and decorations.

Gingerbread Traditions, based in Oregon ships and delivers the most delicious gourmet gingerbread kits for holidays directly to you. Our gingerbread house kits are made for excitement, and also serve as creative gifts for friends and family members of any age. Buy your own gingerbread kits online today!

Gingerbread House History

a thousand old traditionDecorating a gingerbread house is a popular family tradition in America. Gingerbread houses are loved by both parents and kids. What you probably didn’t know is that this is a tradition that is more than 1000 years old!

So what’s gingerbread? According to The New Food Lover’s Companion, “Gingerbread generally refers to one of two desserts. It can be a dense, ginger-spiced cookie flavored with molasses or honey and cut into fanciful shapes (such as the popular gingerbread man). Or, particularly in the United States, it can describe a dark, moist cake flavored with molasses, ginger and other spices.”

Fascinating! Now, although no one is sure about the exact origin of the gingerbread house, here’s what we do know. The ginger plant (the root is the part that is used) originated in China and was known widely throughout Asia. Gingerbread was probably introduced to Europe by an Armenian monk in the 10th Century. Apparently, he taught the art of baking gingerbread to Christian priests in France.
a thousand old tradition
The familiar Gingerbread Man has its origins in England. The English claim to be the first to bake and sell gingerbread, and they introduced the idea of the Gingerbread Man. In fact, gingerbread was a much loved treat in festivals and fairs in medieval Europe. It was shaped and decorated to look like many attractive things – birds, animals, flowers and armor. Gingerbread fairs were universally popular in those days.

Indeed, the young ladies in those days offered their favorite knights a piece of gingerbread to wish them luck before competitions. There was also a tradition of young women secretly eating a “gingerbread husband” in hopes of finding that special someone.

It is interesting that the word “gingerbread” has come to mean different things over the centuries. Any kind of preserved ginger was called gingerbread in medieval England. The French used the term gingebras for gingerbread, which was derived from the Latin word, zinzebar. It was only in the 15th Century that gingerbread was associated with baked, ginger-flavored cakes.

Gingerbread has also long been considered to be a medicine used to cure stomach cramps. As one 16th Century writer by the name of John Baret wrote, “[Gingerbread is] A Kinde of cake or paste made to comfort the stomacke.”

In fact, gingerbread was so popular that The Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare, wrote about it in a play – “An I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst have it to buy ginger-bread.”
The Germans claim that they invented the concept of making gingerbread houses. There is a lot of truth to this. Gingerbread cookies are popularly called Lebkuchen in Germany, and they have been a part of German culture since the 15th Century.

In Germany, it is common to see gingerbread sold at street fairs, shaped as hearts frosted with cute messages such as “I Love You!”, “All I Need Is You!” and “You Are Awesome” in German. It’s likely that German bakers’ gingerbread houses were inspired by the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel by Brothers Grimm, in which the witch lives in a cottage made of gingerbread, decorated with sweets.

In the past, gingerbread was traditionally prepared in monasteries, churches and other religious institutions in Europe. Swedish nuns, for instance, used to bake and sell gingerbread to raise money for charity. Gingerbread was also available for sale in pharmacies and farmers’ markets.
gingerbread house
But it was when gingerbread made its way to England that it became really popular. The English started the tradition of painting gingerbread and displaying it in shop windows. It was in England that decorating the gingerbread house became a holiday tradition for the whole family.

In the United States, we have been baking gingerbread for more than 200 years. Indeed, George Washington’s mother wrote a popular gingerbread recipe! The tradition of creating gingerbread houses was first brought to America by German settlers and since then has become a quintessentially American tradition and a favorite with kids through the generations.

Gingerbread Traditions, based in Oregon, delivers the most delicious gourmet gingerbread kits shipped direct to you. Our gingerbread house kits also serve as exciting and creative gifts for friends and family members of any age. Buy your own gingerbread kits online today!

Create a new May Day Tradition

gingerbread on spring

Celebrate with a Spring-themed gingerbread house party, a sweet, fun wholesome activity for all ages. (Helpful hint: Gingerbread isn’t just for wintertime anymore.)

When you think about it, decorating gingerbread houses is an activity that fits right into the spirit of May Day, combining sweet treats, hands-on creativity, slightly-wacky whimsy and lots of fun that people of all ages can enjoy together. When you include gingerbread house decorating in any May Day celebration at your school, community center, youth group meeting, church potluck or social club meeting, you can be certain that a good time will be had by all.

Four good reasons to have a May Day Gingerbread House party:

  1. Decorating spring-themed gingerbread houses (and/or cottages, cabins, fairy castles, sailing ships, bird houses — the options are endless) is a lively hands-on activity that provides plenty of opportunity to exercise creativity in a relaxing, companionable atmosphere.
  2. Garnishing gingerbread constructions is good wholesome fun for people of all ages, from preschoolers to grandparents. Your charming constructions may be as complex or as simple as you like, so this is an activity that can accommodate almost everyone, including folks who have physical or mental challenges.
  3. Building/decorating gingerbread constructions (again, houses and cottages are only the tip of the creative iceberg) is an activity that can easily be held outdoors in a picnic atmosphere or indoors in a variety of situations, which means it’s easy to accommodate weather fluctuations and changes of plans.
  4. A gingerbread house party can be as large or as small as you like. You can host a small party in your kitchen or living room or set-up to serve a huge crowd in a gymnasium. You may choose to celebrate May Day with your immediate family, a few close friends, or you can make it part of a “Welcome Springtime” neighborhood celebration, a community-based event, or even a fun in-service, team-building project for employees.

Here are some helpful tips to ensure that your May Day Gingerbread Party or activity is a memorable success:

  • Set up work areas beforehand that provide enough room for everyone to work and spread out their supplies.
  • Make set-up and clean-up a breeze by using disposable tablecloths, paper or Styrofoam plates or platters for building gingerbread structures on, and plenty of paper towels or napkins for cleaning up. Make sure your guests can easily wash their hands before starting (children may need to be reminded) and to clean up afterwards. You may want to provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer as well.
  • Be sure to have plenty of frosting and brightly-colored decorative candies and cookies available for decorating and for (inevitable) snacking. It is considerate to provide sugar-free alternatives (clearly marked) for people who are watching calories or avoiding sugar for health reasons.
  • Provide boxes or at least plastic wrap to cover your guests’ masterpieces so they can carry them safely home.
  • Make your May Day Gingerbread event easy by choosing from our wide assortment of pre-made gingerbread constructions and kits and the huge assortment of sweet decorations we offer. Please click here to check out our store.
  • Feel free to check out our “Design Ideas” pages for more great ideas for your own creations. Click here please