Monday, October 27, 2008

Baking: Halloween Gingerbread and a disaster story

Every year we design a gingerbread house for Christmas. Each year is a new design.

I try to make one for Halloween but it doesn't always happen. Normally, the Halloween house is enjoyed by a few friends and family so I really wanted to make one this year and post it on the blog....

Here is how it starts. I make two batches of the Wilton gingerbread recipe and chill it for a day.

Get ready to roll it out.

First you grease the bottom of a cookie sheet.

You sprinkle flour and gently roll the gingerbread dough onto the bottom of the greased cookie sheet.

Lay out your pattern pieces and carefully cut the pattern. Later, I will tell you how to build a pattern.

Once you cut the pattern, bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes. I like to get the gingerbread nice and firm, but not too dark

This next step is the most important. While the gingerbread is still warm, very warm. Re-lay the template on the gingerbread and re-cut the gingerbread. This is very important as baking makes the gingerbread rise and the lose its shape a little. Cutting the edges will also make sure your house fits together neatly.

Also, make sure to get the piece of gingerbread off the cookie sheet before it gets too cool. Now, I let the gingerbread set for two days to get stale. If your pieces are still too soft, that has happened to me once, bake at 250 degrees on a cooling sheet for an hour. That makes it really stiff.

Now we make the glue, I use the Wilton Royal icing recipe

Once you whip for 10 minutes, it becomes very fluffy.
I add black coloring gel, unfortunately, I had already added it here.

Now I put the icing in a piping bag with a round tip.

Next we have all our supplies. I use a wood board covered with aluminum foil.
I put royal icing on one side and bottom of two pieces, then set them to make a corner.

Keep building to make the base.

I then piped windows and doors on the base. Sometimes I do this before I put the pieces together but be careful and let them fully dry before you build the house base.

Next I add the pieces of the roof and hold them while they dry. I should have put the roof together seperately and put the whole roof on at one time....but you will see why later.

Next I added Necco wafers, only the black, brown and purple ones.

Candy corn lined the top of the roof.

I had put a gummy worm and a small sugar bat on the roof.

I decorated the base but as you can see, I had run out of Necco wafers. I piped cracks into the house and it was coming along nicely.

I stopped to have my husband go to CVS for some more Necco wafers.....when disaster struck. Now first, I have built gingerbread houses for 25 years and never, never had what happen......

The entire house fell apart and fell to the floor. These are the pictures from the garbage bag...I had to fend off three ravenous Old English sheepdogs while we quickly cleaned it up, not really but black royal icing in sheepdog fur would not have been pretty.

I couldn't bear to look but here it is.... Oh well, I am going to improve this design for Christmas, just wait.


  1. This is so impressive to me. The closest I've ever come is the graham cracker houses we made when the kids were little. :)

  2. Well, thank goodness that you took some pictures before the collapse.

  3. The most disappointing thing must be all the wasted effort! So much work went into it. Nice job on the details. Sorry to hear about its unfortunate demise. :)

    OH and thank you for your sweet comments on my ugly cake balls. :) It's nice to know yours improved over time. That's what I'm hoping for b/c I'm not ready to give them up!


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