Saturday, November 28, 2009

Gingerbread Town

Gingerbread House Tradition!

We actually have two Gingerbread house/town traditions. We celebrate Thanksgiving the Saturday after the official Thanksgiving Day. Our finale for our meal is to have a competition of everyone decorating their gingerbread house. We make teams of two and then the race is on! It is amazing to see the different creations from the boxed Gingerbread House.

This year, we ended up with an adobe home (the house caved in and they changed the design); a redneck garage (one side of the wall caved in, so they called it a garage and they spelled 'welcome'); two major candy houses; and our classic gingerbread house. What a fun afternoon. You can always buy these after Christmas for the next year at a great discount. The icing nor candy should be eaten as it is old even if you bought it that year. I found these fairly cheap with a "Black Friday" bargain.

Our homemade Gingerbread Town! 

A favorite tradition that our family started many moons ago was to make a Gingerbread town. I found a recipe and design in a cookbook. The gingerbread is tasty but better is that the kids have become very creative in building their own town. We used to follow the pattern design from the cookbook but, now, the children think of a theme they want for their town. Each child gets a section of the town to call theirs and the 'artwork' begins. I make the house pieces from the pattern and then they assemble them and decorate their section with candy. It has been a really fun event/tradition for us. The best is that it is edible, so Christmas morning and beyond, we begin eating our town. :)

A note: The key to getting the pieces to 'glue' is the icing must be thick. You can also support your buildings by putting washed, small milk cartons inside the building and 'glueing' the building pieces to the carton with your icing.

We usually make the town 3 to 4 days before Christmas day.

Tiny Gingerbread Town
by Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookie Cookbook
5 cups soft wheat flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar or Xagave
1 cup molasses

Mix flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In Bosch bowl, beat butter till softened. Add sugar (or Xagave) and beat till fluffy. Add molasses and beat well. Gradually beat the flour mixture.

Roll dough directly onto cookie sheet about 1/4" thick. Cut around pattern pieces. Bake 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes or till done.

Arrange buildings on foil covered piece of cardboard. For a pond, cut a piece of nonabsorbent colored paper into desired shape. Use candy or other assorted food items (pretzels, almonds, graham crackers) to create other items.

Icing (your 'glue')

In your Bosch mixer:
Beat 1/12 cups shortening (or butter)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Gradually beat in 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar.
Add 3 Tbs milk.
Gradually beat in 3 1/2 cups more powdered sugar and enough mild (3-4 Tbs.) to make the icing a piping consistency.

Steps to building your Gingerbread Town

1. Cutting out the dough.
Roll dough directly onto a cookie sheet. (Do not flour the cookie sheet) Place a damp towel under the cookie sheet to keep the cookie sheet from sliding as you roll. Place the patterns 1/2 inch apart allowing dough to spread during baking. Cut around patterns with a sharp knife, fitting as many pieces on a cookie sheet as you can.

2. Assembling the buildings.
Pipe frosting along the bottom edge of the side and end pieces of each building. Place the pieces frosting side down., on the round base. With a writing tip, join the four walls by piping frosting along the corner edges where the walls meet. Let dry before adding the roof.

When you are ready for the roof, pipe frosting along the top edges of all the standing walls. Attach one roof piece, then the other.

Pattern Dimensions:
Base for houses: Round 4" diameter (1 base per house)
House pieces:
Roof: 3" x 3 1/2"(2 per house)
Side walls: 2"x 2 1/2" (2 per house)
End walls: 2 1/4" x 3 1/2" (2 per house; this is the point)
The end wall has a square shape with a rectangle top to make the point.

Below are designs of: Remembering the Oklahoma Ice Storm 2007; Hawaiian Christmas; and Mainland Christmas (Snow vs. Tropical) Medieval Castle


  1. In the icing recipe, is that "one and a half" cups of shortening, or "one-twelfth"?

  2. This is 1 1/2 cups (one cup plus one-half cup) shortening. I use butter but the shortening will make a better 'concrete' type icing 'glue.' Have fun making one! My kids are counting the days to begin this years creation!