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prego_cook Nov 6, 2013 11:07 AM

I always make GB houses at Christmas and this year I am toying with the idea of making miniature ones to sell at our craft fair...... In the past I have used a technique where you bake the GB in a sheet and THEN cut the pieces which worked great for a large house... all the pieces fit PERFECT! but I am just wondering if anyone has done MULTIPLE houses and what tips you might share about what worked best as far as cutting and baking multiple houses. I am just not sure what the best way might be.....

  1. y
    youareabunny Nov 7, 2013 07:42 AM

    How far ahead are you making them? I'm thinking of glazing my gingerbread once they are cooled. My logic is that it will keep them from drying out.

    I'm going to be making about 3 myself... Although at least one will be a gingerbread computer, so I won't be having much repetition in shapes.

    18 Replies
    1. re: youareabunny
      prego_cook Nov 7, 2013 11:11 AM

      The craft fair I'm making them for is the 1st week of December..... I was thinking I could make the pieces and freeze them...... and then decorate a week before..... but would I really have enough time??? Iike to make about 50 medium size ones.... the other option is to make blank houses for people to decorate on their own. Hmmmmmmm.... decisions. Thoughts?

      1. re: youareabunny
        prego_cook Nov 7, 2013 11:12 AM

        I'd love to see the pattern you are using for the GB computer! that sounds so fun! My husband is a computer tech guy... that would be fun!

        1. re: prego_cook
          youareabunny Nov 8, 2013 08:18 AM

          No pattern, just winging it. It's mainly squares and rectangles, it's how you decorate them that will make them look like computers. Google "gingerbread computers". If you are familiar with computer parts at al, you'll get a giggle. I did!

        2. re: youareabunny
          sandylc Nov 7, 2013 11:26 AM

          <<<<My logic is that it will keep them from drying out>>>>

          I thought the goal was to make SURE that they DID dry out, so they will last?

          You're not thinking of EATING these, are you?

          1. re: sandylc
            tacosandbeer Nov 7, 2013 02:04 PM

            Yes, humidity is your enemy here. You want them dry and crisp - otherwise they can start to collapse under the weight of royal icing and decorations.

            1. re: tacosandbeer
              prego_cook Nov 8, 2013 04:14 AM

              Okay so now i'm confused.... if i need to make them ahead... NOT to eat..... i SHOULD or i should NOT put the royal icing on? Or... do you mean i should allow the GB to dry out a little and then ice them. I've never done a lot at the same time. We live in a community where we don't get a lot of Christmas stuff (Saudi Arabia) so i was even thinking i might make GB house kits...... and in that case I can just bake up the pieces but if I do get around and decorate some.... what do you think?

              1. re: prego_cook
                tacosandbeer Nov 8, 2013 04:39 AM

                I bake my pieces in November, hold them in a warm dry closet (where our water heater is) for a few weeks, then they are assembled and decorated over a weekend in early December. I use royal icing for assembly and decorating and have no problems with the houses lasting way past Christmas.

                Yeah, just make sure your pieces are good and dry, then assemble and allow the royal icing to dry well BEFORE you decorate.

                1. re: tacosandbeer
                  prego_cook Nov 8, 2013 04:55 AM

                  WOW! I have never allowed them to dry that long! So good to know! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer! I think you might be the GB Queen! : ) thanks again. Oh one more thing..... do you allow them to dry STACKED on top of each other or do you have them laid out separately? Wondering how I am gonna do this...... What about freezing? I would think the freezing would not allow them to dry out. Great for cookies... not so great for GB houses.

                  1. re: prego_cook
                    tacosandbeer Nov 8, 2013 08:05 AM

                    I just get a shallow cardboard box (like from a case of soda cans) and stack them up - usually about 5-6 deep. Don't get me wrong -the only reason they get done that far in advance is because I'm juggling two Chowpups and only get to bake late in the evenings, so I start early and spread the work out over a few sessions!!

                    1. re: prego_cook
                      tacosandbeer Nov 8, 2013 08:08 AM

                      Oh, I should probably make sure that I mention that I use a dough recipe that is specifically designed for house-building, not snacking, so it's quite sturdy once baked. Like, hard-on-the-teeth sturdy.

                    2. re: tacosandbeer
                      chowser Nov 8, 2013 07:33 AM

                      Does anyone eat them?

                      1. re: chowser
                        tacosandbeer Nov 8, 2013 08:11 AM

                        Only my 7yr old nephew! He is stubborn - "well, you said there wasn't anything in the recipe I can't eat" "yeah, but month-old cookies and royal icing probably aren't the best think to be snacking on, right?" "yeah, but you said it's all edible." "Fine - go ahead. Tell your mom I don't want to hear from her at 2am when you have a stomachache!"

                        1. re: tacosandbeer
                          chowser Nov 8, 2013 01:14 PM

                          I always find it's the kids who like to dig into them, too. I use a good dough recipe and it tastes good when it's made. But, I've had some kids try to eat them into January. I can't imagine it tasting good but they don't complain. No thanks.

                    3. re: prego_cook
                      sandylc Nov 8, 2013 12:07 PM

                      We have actually bagged them up in a giant trash bag after Christmas and brought them out for another Christmas or two in the past - when you make something that elaborate and beautiful, it's nice to use it a few times. They look like new for about three years when properly stored. I would imagine that in a very humid climate, even the plastic bag wouldn't save them for that long, however.

                  2. re: sandylc
                    youareabunny Nov 8, 2013 08:16 AM

                    Hmm. Last time I made it around 1-2 days before and we all picked at it. Then sent home parts of it.

                    I think of gingerbread houses like Hansel and Gretel

                    1. re: youareabunny
                      tacosandbeer Nov 8, 2013 11:19 AM

                      I make them as a craft project of sorts for the Chowpups and their friends. There's all manner of finger licking and candy munching that goes on during assembly. Most of the kids are way too proud of their creations to allow anyone to nibble on them once they are done. And we have handmade centerpieces for the dining table!

                      1. re: tacosandbeer
                        youareabunny Nov 8, 2013 12:33 PM

                        Yeh if a kid made one I'd would never eat it, even if they offered lol.

                        I don't plan on licking my fingers or scratching my butt while I make my house, but it's cookies and candy and we're going to eat it.

                        If I really didn't want it eaten I think I'd spare the butter and such and just use dead dough.

                        1. re: youareabunny
                          kcshigekawa Nov 8, 2013 04:00 PM

                          My nephew (when he was much younger) waited and waited and waited for the day in early January when he was allowed to take his toy wrecking ball to the family GB house.

                2. tcamp Nov 7, 2013 06:16 AM

                  If any slackers are reading this thread, know that you can make small gingerbread houses out of 5 double squares of graham crackers, stuck together with royal icing. We make about 75 each year for a holiday party and kids decorate them. Actually, teens construct the houses and after the requisite # are made for decorating, they make their own fanciful creations which is really fun.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: tcamp
                    prego_cook Nov 7, 2013 11:09 AM

                    I have totally done the graham cracker GB houses and they turned out SUPER CUTE and the kids loved them. I had intended to make regular ones for the kids but after i made the ones to sell... i was so burned out my kids got the graham cracker GB and they were AWESOME! they were cute - they loved it and it went together so easy! Nothing slacker about doing what works in my book! : ) 75! THAT IS HARDLY SLACKER!! wowzers!

                    1. re: prego_cook
                      luvcubs Nov 8, 2013 04:47 PM

                      I did that. It was so fun.

                      And then my 3 year old took a BITE of the styrofoam Christmas tree decoration.

                      Which, 25 years later.... is my FAVORITE Christmas tree decoration.

                      (so.... make sure the kiddies know which ones are not for eating, unless you want the cuteness!)

                    2. re: tcamp
                      Tara57 Nov 8, 2013 02:46 PM

                      If you want an even simpler "gingerbread" craft, turn sugar ice cream cones upside down, frost with green frosting, and decorate the resulting Christmas trees with small candies.

                    3. p
                      prego_cook Nov 7, 2013 01:29 AM

                      OKAY GIRLS.... This pattern is AWESOME! i found it *years* ago and it is just awesome! YOU BAKE ALL IN ONE PIECE AND THEN CUT OUT! It's for a larger GB house but I thought it was so clever to cut out the GB pieces AFTER! All the pieces fit together BEAUTIFULLY! The pictures are not TO SIZE - you will need to measure them out and then keep a COPY so you can see how you will cut it out after baking the sheet. I am considering making these in a smaller version...... we'll see how complicated i get this year. I'll post the pattern and then a few pics.... I am not a professional by any means but my heart is in it. *** NOTE *** I never use the base. seems like a waste of dough to me!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: prego_cook
                        prego_cook Nov 7, 2013 01:32 AM

                        I'm also considering trying to use my square+rectangle cutters and then just use a template for the front/back. hmmmmm?

                        1. re: prego_cook
                          prego_cook Nov 7, 2013 01:38 AM

                          Actually - the picture I just posted is NOT for this particular pattern. SORRY! the SECOND house is the pattern. I am also going to tell you a HUGE secret.... USE MELTED SUGAR TO PUT IT TOGETHER! It is like CONCRETE and SO QUICK! No waiting around for the royal icing to dry!

                          1. re: prego_cook
                            youareabunny Nov 7, 2013 02:19 AM

                            Good tip!

                            1. re: prego_cook
                              chowser Nov 7, 2013 05:02 AM

                              Love the melted sugar idea! I always use royal frosting and worry about the kids eating it (and only kids seem to want to eat them).

                              I've done multiple houses. I roll the dough out on parchment so I can cut multiples of the same piece out. Cut dough and parchment, place on cookie sheet and bake. Label the parchment by writing on it if you need to keep it straight which piece is what. It's easier to mass produce parts than to make individual houses.

                          2. l
                            LaureltQ Nov 6, 2013 02:45 PM

                            In for this. We're doing ginger bread houses at work this year, and I want to make a trailer park scene.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: LaureltQ
                              prego_cook Nov 7, 2013 01:31 AM

                              OMGOSH I AM DYING TO SEE YOUR TRAILER PARK! Post a pic if you get a chance! XOXO

                            2. t
                              tacosandbeer Nov 6, 2013 01:53 PM

                              I do 8-10 houses each year, about the size of a Kleenex box. I have tried all sorts of ways, but I always go back to rolling the dough on parchment, moving the parchment to the baking sheet, cutting the pieces, chilling, baking, and then re-trimming while the pieces are warm from the oven.

                              This gets a little monotonous, so I spread the process out - walls one day, roofs the next, end pieces the next.

                              1. s
                                sandylc Nov 6, 2013 11:41 AM

                                I really want to hear how this gets answered! In my experience, I cut the pieces from the raw dough, then trim them after baking to be perfect.

                                I wonder if there are molds available for miniature ones that could "trim" some of the work from your project - ?

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