Monday, 12 December 2011

Gingerbread House Planning Time

I am planning my Gingerbread House. Every year I wonder if I should bother with a gingerbread house, then I see them for sale in the shops- £75 in John Lewis for, admittedly, a large house- and I come over all " blimey, I could make a really nice one for way less than that" : I remember the heavenly scent of cooking gingerbread and the fun of making it- officially, the house making is happening next week, but the planning stage has started. My current hunt is for small 'flakes' to use as a log pile- it used to be easy to find packs of short flakes, the sort that enhance an every day ice cream cone and turn it into a luxurious '99', but for some reason this year they are proving elusive. As are BIG bags of Buttons. Big bags full of small bags of buttons are easy to get hold of, but it is so tedious emptying all those tiny bags. I find myself spending absurd amounts of time at this stage in the year staring at the price tags in supermarkets trying to work out the very cheapest way of purchasing large amounts of Buttons, big bags are not necessarily cheaper per 100g. Buttons make perfect roof tiles.This year, as they were on offer, I have purchased LARGE Buttons for the roof. Many decisions to be made:Should I attempt a chimney this year? Shall I put windows in and a chocolate finger door? If I make gingerbread trees, what design shall I use? Stacked stars or tree cut outs? I am looking forward to using my squeezy icing bottles and nozzles to decorate the house: after experimenting on my Hallow'een gingerbread I am feeling absurdly optimistic about my icing prowess, the icing bottles are described as being 'perfect for children to use'. I should be fine then.
I have recently acquired some rather wonderful additions for the House, a postbox, with Robin, to stand at the end of the garden path, made from gold-foil covered chocolate coins.

A sack of toys-possibly to go on the roof next to the chimney, assuming I'm brave enough to make and affix a chimney.

A major part of my festive excitement is getting out the little box of Gingerbread House bits and bobs.

Wire trees- just like the ones that my Mother had for the family Christmas Cake- one year the writing read "Merry Christ" as she ran out of space-never underestimate the importance of planning. The two small glittery Snowmen who live in the House, their snowman and their Christmas Tree.

I have a rule that things for the house must not be made of plastic, they need to be proper SOLID decorations, like the little plaster ones I recall from my childhood, and searching for new additions is fun.
This was my first effort, made a couple of years ago- apologies for the rubbish photo-the house isn't great and the decoration is minimal, but the two-tone gingerbread board it rests on I do think I will try again, leaving a space this time around to insert the coin pathway.

Gingerbread house making is addictive and can become an obsession, every Christmas in Stockholm there is a competition, run by the Architectural Museum, well worth browsing the entries for ideas. Awesome.
Once the house is planned, then we move on to the knotty problem of the Christmas Cake decorating...subtle or completely over the top? Delicate, icing paste floral realism or chunky, colourful bold designs...oh the pleasure of deciding whilst rooting through my festive cake decorating items.


  1. Have you found nothing else to do? All this festivity can make you tired you know...

  2. This is relaxation-Many other things going on I assure you TA!

  3. Wow, this is so exciting. I must confess to never having made one which with a small child in the house, is pretty unforgivable? I too lust after them in John Lewis but buying one wouldn't be the same. I envy all those little decorations and I had to laugh when I read about your mum and her icing! Do you eat the cake at the end? Have a great Christmas, Kate.
    Hen x

  4. Hen, the 'Merry Christ" cake became an instant family legend.The Gingerbread House does get eaten, once we have all suitably marvelled at it,it is devoured, usually around New Year.The chocolate log pile and the coin pathway usually get depleted way sooner...hence the importance of finding a big box of small flake 'logs'.