I recently decided it would be really fun to make gingerbread houses and invite some friends to join the fun. It isn't something I grew up doing, but last year between making them with cousins at Grandma V's house, making one with my mom when she was visiting, and scoring a gingerbread train kit on sale, Isaiah ended up being totally submersed in gingerbread creations and loving it!
At the time of making these, I had not yet been able to obtain the local ingredient chaaku that my friend had told me I could use to make molasses, so I was planning to just use some of the large cream crackers available here and piece those together for our houses. But, my friend Laurel had molasses and is quite the expert baker, so she whipped up some real (and tasty) gingerbread for us to use to make our houses and some people to go along with them!
One thing of note is that nearly all recipes for royal icing involve egg whites. Eating raw eggs here is a very bad idea, and with little ones, even just the likelihood of licking fingers seemed high, so I searched and found a BBC recipe for eggless royal icing that uses glycerin, which is easy to get here. Here is my little kitchen helper mixing up our icing:
I actually do have one plastic frosting thing I found locally with various tips, but with several of us trying to work at the same time, one of the girls suggested using ziploc baggies (the cheap ones we can get here) and cutting off a corner, which worked really well.
I set out various shapes and colors of candies I could find locally here.
The major lack of foresight on my part was regarding the assembly time. The instructions I saw said to let the walls dry for at least an hour once assembled before trying to put on the roof. I thought there was no way that was going to work with having a group of kids trying to do it. I thought, well, we can just fudge that time a bit. Um, seems that time was rather necessary! So, in hindsight, I would probably assemble at least the walls of the house before having the group of kiddos jump in on the process!
At one point, we tuned into the fact that all the kids had moved on from the project, and it was only us grown-ups still pluggin' away at it! Ah, well, they enjoyed the part they did!
Isaiah decided it would be perfect to follow up this project with a round of Candyland!
We learned for future projects, but it was great fun, and I will definitely try it again next year!