Make It a House Party: A Fun Twist to Traditional Gingerbread Houses
“The bird sat onthe roof, and when they came closer, they saw that the little house was built entirely from bread with a roof made of cake, and the windows were made of clear sugar.”
“Hansel and Gretel,” The Grimm Brothers
Imagine it! A house made of sweets—every kid’s fantasy. In past centuries, writers have played upon this fantasy in various stories, from fairy tales like “Hansel and Gretel” to Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the idea of a world made of candy takes kids to a fantastical land filled with mouth-watering treats, a land with no dentists or cavities. We allow our children to indulge in this fantasy around Christmastime every year with the tradition of gingerbread house making.
Understanding the appeal of this tradition, stores make it impossible to stroll the aisles during the holiday season without seeing a do-it-yourself, boxed gingerbread house. These kits offer a quick and easy way to create a house of candy; however, they tend to lack creativity and individualization, and they don’t taste that great. Of course, there are those who believe that gingerbread houses aren’t meant to be eaten, but try explaining that to afive year old. What’s the fun in having a house made of candy when it can’t be fully enjoyed? A new trend can solve that problem and make gingerbread house making a fun, social event. It’s time to drop the box kit and have a house party—a gingerbread house party!
Hosting a successful gingerbread house party means that most work must be done on the forefront, especially if you are going to have younger guests. If your party is for preschoolers or early elementary aged kids, you want to have everything prepared for them. Assemble the houses and have all of the decorations easy to access. You can use muffin tins or small divided dishes to sort different candies. You can have the table set with the individual houses assembled and ready to decorate the moment the children come through the door.
In order to make this process easier for the host, one simple idea is to use graham crackers for the walls of the house. For the gingerbread traditionalist, The Food Network.com and Food.com offer gingerbread house recipes. Preassembling the house walls can save the kids time and frustration. Royal icing is simple to make and is used to hold the walls together. The Food Network.com has a five-star recipe on their site. It calls for three ounces of pasteurized egg whites, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, and four cups of confectioners’ sugar. You simply combine the egg whites and vanilla until the mixture is frothy and then gradually add the sugar mixing for five to seven minutes until stiff peaks form. Using this icing, the host can assemble the graham cracker walls and have them ready to be decorated as soon as the guests arrive. By also putting some in squeezable bottles, the icing allows the kids to assemble the candies to the house. Have plenty of these icing bottles ready so that kids don’t have to share.
Choosing decorations for the houses can be a fun job for the little host of the party. Discuss ideas before going to the store and create a list of the different candies that can serve to decorate the houses. Be creative with the decoration options and let your little one help with the planning process. Having a variety of sweet and sour, hard and soft, and many colors helps make each house not only unique and individual but also designed perfectly for the guests’ taste buds.
This holiday season, put a twist on the tradition of gingerbread house making, and throw a spectacular gingerbread house party. Creating a fantastical world of edible candy houses will add even more magic to an already special season. Who knows, perhaps this will become a new holiday tradition for your family!
To find more ideas about hosting a gingerbread house party, visit Pinterest.
By Beth McKay