Each year, a week before Christmas, I plan a special day to make gingerbread houses with the kids. I usually buy a box of graham crackers and organic candies, make a batch of my favorite buttercream icing, and then let the kids have at it. However, this year, I was inspired by Aimee’s after school gingerbread house project.
The gingerbread house her boys made looked adorable and quite honestly, much easier to construct since it was based on a planned design. So this year, my boys and I decided to make a gingerbread house project of our own. Since we homeschool, it only took us a couple of days as this was our art, science, and math projects all rolled into one.
The boys spent the first day mixing the dough, rolling, cutting, and baking the gingerbread. (Follow us on instagram by clicking here!)
We used the same recipe from Bake at 350 and made some substitutions to use natural sweeteners. The naturally sweetened gingerbread turned out perfectly sweet, filled with fragrant spice.
Since we were planning a gingerbread house decorating party, we ended up rolling, cutting, and baking enough dough to make 7 houses. I was thrilled that one batch of this recipe made enough for 4 large houses and 3 smaller ones just the right size for the littles in our group.
The boys could hardly contain themselves as they waited for their cousins and friends to arrive on gingerbread decorating day. Armed with candy, royal icing, and home baked gingerbread, the kids dove into a world of their own as they created magical homes for lollipop people and gummy Santa’s.
For me, it melts my heart every time to see something so simple bring these sweet children so much joy.
I am also very happy that there are more and more companies selling organic candies to please this mama’s heart.
I think next year, I’ll plan on hosting this event earlier in December that way I can make my own gingerbread house
Naturally Sweetened Gingerbread For Cookies or Houses. They are perfectly sweet, filled with fragrant spice, and firm up to be used for any gingerbread house needs.
- 2 sticks salted butter, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (substitute whole cane sugar)
- 5 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbls ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 large egg
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, honey, and coconut palm sugar until light and fluffy; about 3-5 minutes.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Set aside.
- Beat in the molasses and egg to the creamed sugar and butter. Mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- One cup at a time, add the flour mixture into the mixer until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Empty the bowl of cookie dough onto the counter and use your hands to bring it all together.
- Divide the dough into three pieces and form into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can also freeze any additional dough for later use.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Prepare a rolling surface by sprinkling liberally with flour and roll out one of the disks to about 1/4" thick. Using a template, cut out the gingerbread house pieces and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 9-12 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe adapted from Bake at 350.
For the icing of these houses, I made a royal icing made up of 3oz egg whites, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 4 cups of organic powdered sugar. I mixed the egg whites with the vanilla extract until foamy. I then added the powdered sugar and mixed that on high for 7 minutes until the icing was glossy and just the right consistency to hold the houses together.
I think they did a great job, how about you?
Do you make gingerbread houses each year with your children? Please share with me your families Christmas traditions.