Discovering Gingerbread Houses
GINGERBREAD HOUSES: SITES TO VISIT & BOOKS TO READ
by Sienna Wildfield
Every year I send my parents a gingerbread house for their solstice dessert party, complete with their last name iced on the front door. The door with their name is left for the host and hostess, but by the end of the evening, their guests have demolished the rest of the house, leaving behind little red hots and coconut snow. It’s become a fun tradition. If you’re looking to make a gingerbread house for the holidays, check out A Charming Candy Cottage over at epicurious.com where Kari von Wening, the owner of Takes the Cake Bakery in Pasadena, CA, gives instruction on how to make your very own. Included in the instructions are a shopping list, template and an illustrated tutorial.
At the Hartsbrook Winter Fair in Hadley, MA, they always have an auction of gingerbread houses (and libraries, castles, churches, windmills …) that the families have made (photos featured with this post are from the auction). Structures that can be made out of gingerbread are only limited by your imagination. Over at verybestkids.com they give directions and a template on how to make a gingerbread sleigh. On BobVilla.com they give instructions on how to make an A-Frame, Colonial, Saltbox, and Side Gable houses. And if you really want to get inspired, on flickr.com there are over 400 photos posted to the Gingerbread House Showcase.
GRAHAM CRACKER HOUSE
Another option to making a gingerbread house is to make a miniature graham cracker house. Every one in the family can make and decorate their very own. Kaboose.com offers instructions on how to make this miniature version, as does organizedchristmas.com with a few photo images.
If you or your kids have allergies and want to make a gingerbread house, check out Only Sometimes Clever’s gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and peanut-free gingerbread house recipe, or you can buy an allergy-free gingerbread kit from kidsallergystop.com.
I’ve put together a list of cookbooks for families interested in making their own gingerbread creations at home. If you do make one, take a photo and send it our way to share with our readers:
- Making Great Gingerbread Houses: Delicious Designs from Cabins to Castles, from Lighthouses to Tree Houses By Aaron Morgan & Paige Gilchrist
- Gingerbread Houses, Animals and Decorations by Joanna Farrow
- A Little Book of Gingerbread by Joanna Farrow
- If you need a little help with your gingebread houses, you may like this German Gingerbread House Mold
There are a number of variations on the Gingerbread Man story available to read with your kids. Here’s a list of suggested titles:
THE GINGERBREAD MAN (AND VARIATIONS)
- The Gingerbread Man by Brenda Parkes (Rigby Big Book)
- The Gingerbread Man by Eric Kimmel
- The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth
- The Gingerbread Man by Karen Schmidt
- The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst
- The Gingerbread Girl by Owen Yearwood
- The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett (Click here to check out her video)
- The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires & Holly Berr
- The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
- The Runaway Tortilla by Eric A. Kimmel
- The Runaway Rice Cake by Ying Chang Compestine
- The Runaway Latkes by Leslie Kimmelman
- Stop That Pickle! by Peter Armour
- Musubi Man: Hawaii’s Gingerbread Man by Sandi Takayama
- The Matzah Man: A Passover Story by Naomi Howland
- Runaway Dreidel! by Leslea Newman