I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make gingerbread this year because of my healing shoulder. Rolling out dough that’s been refrigerated overnight is not a one-arm kind of job! But, my friend, Cheri, volunteered to make gingerbread with me, so she could do the rolling and I could share some of my tips with her. While I was sharing my tips with her, I thought I would turn the camera on and share them with you as well!
Both Cheri and I made our dough the day before and refrigerated it. We then got together at her house to make and decorate the cookies and houses together.
Her house is so pretty! She lives in a split level, which is such a challenging layout, and she did an amazing job making the house flow. My favorite corner is this space just off her kitchen with a fireplace and an old oak table and chairs set out of the Sunday School room from her childhood church.
Everything is so beautifully decorated, but is still homey and comfortable.
In the video, we talk about dough thickness, using templates, some tips for cutting, making doors and windows, and decorating…
You can find the recipe I use as well as printables for the templates in THIS POST.
A couple more tips that I was reminded about as I was building the houses this year…
- Royal icing can get very thick and hard to squeeze after a while. If that happens, add a little bit of water to loosen it up.
- Make two piping bags of icing, one with a small hole for detail work and one with a larger hold for the “chinking” and house assembly. We were working with two large-holed bags, which was limiting when it came to the details. (I was very shaky, so I couldn’t do much detail work anyway!)
- The configuration of the walls (inside or outside) does matter when it comes to the roof fitting. It’s a good idea to do a dry fit to see which walls need to be on the inside and outside. (You’ll see me switch the walls around when I’m constructing the larger house.)
- Lastly, just have fun! Even off-centered windows, crooked walls, and icing applied with a shaky right arm can look charming.
My icing was definitely not my best work! If you watch the video, you can see my right elbow is practically pinned to my side. Everything from rolling to icing was quite a workout for me! I ended up doing one larger house, one small one, and two hearts and that was enough for my arm. I’ll do more next year!
I am glad I did some gingerbread this year, though, even if it’s a little clumsy.
Cheri’s granddaughter joined us for a while and I loved watching her play with the dough and babble.
When I got home, I was faced with the challenge of where to put the houses. I had a feeling the cats would like them, so I put the larger house up on a shelf and the small house on a compote in our kitchen eating area…
And I put it under a cloche about a minute after I took this picture because the kitties confirmed my suspicion.
I hung the hearts on the little tree to see if they leave those alone and so far so good. Cats and kids have resisted.
Here’s how Cheri’s houses turned out…
I love that she created a little village and added the bottlebrush trees. So cute!
Are gingerbread houses a part of your Christmas traditions?