Making a gingerbread house is a tradition in our house for the holidays. But every year I cringe at the candy ingested while going about the project, and the frosting that turns to cement, and the gingerbread pieces that never actually get consumed. We have used the kits and I have baked a house from stretch using a large cookie cutter set. But there is always the balancing act of not having the walls collapse, and the long waiting time after the
frosting cement dries to make the structure stable enough to decorate.
So last week when I was racing down the isle in Target to get toilet paper and dog food – squeezing it into my day between nap time and school pick up time – and I spotted a ginger bread loaf baking pan that makes real gingerbread into the size of two real gingerbread houses – I grabbed it!
Trying to stick to a more healthy, eatable recipe and avoiding buying the candy that makes me cringe every year. I decided to offer the kids some cranberries, dried dates, yogurt covered raisins and an organic version of sugar coated gummy bears/worms I bought in the bulk section of an organic grocery store. We made cream cheese frosting (I put it into two separate zip lock bags, snipping a bottom corner off the bag to make a decorator version of a frosting bag minus the fancy tip) and it was all a hit.
The girls LOVED it. My oldest daughter decorated her house for over an hour, intensely. In the end she sincerely declared, with the biggest thank you mom smile, “This is the best project ever!” And that fellow moms, makes a mom’s heart smile like nothing else.
For the gingerbread recipe I followed the one on the box, making my own adjustments. I used fresh flour from my flour co-op and fresh local butter – which always makes a world of difference in flavor. Also, I sifted the flour as I always do for cakes. I used less ginger and more cinnamon then it called for and substituted half the portion of molasses with honey. It turned out very tasty and is a gingerbread house that I actually, for the first time ever, can’t wait to eat!
Incase you are wondering: the pan I bought is by Nordic Ware and is a side by side double mold that makes two houses. Since it is a season item I couldn’t find a link for it on Target.com. But there other others out there in a single form on Amazon. Just Google it. William Sonoma sells one too. There are lots of options out there in different price ranges.