It’s hard to believe Christmas will be here in LESS than two weeks! December is flying by, as it usually does with all of the fun holiday things everyone has going on. One big tradition in our house is gingerbread house building. We usually make our creations Christmas Eve morning so that we can leave them out for Santa to see with his cookies, milk and carrots. Good news for you loyal followers is I just happen to have THE BEST secret tip for gingerbread house making! As much fun as decorating all those houses is, the royal icing that comes in those kits is awful at keeping them together. A few years back I found this little tip that will make your gingerbread house solid as a rock. Burnt sugar. It’s just as it sounds, you pour regular white sugar into a small frying pan on medium high heat until it’s a rich caramel color and has a liquid consistency. Now this stuff is HOT and will burn you so do not let the kids anywhere near it. I usually make the structure and then let the kids go nuts with decorating. You have to work fast as the sugar will dry and harden very quickly (similar to working with hot glue). Also be sure to rinse your pan quickly to avoid a lot of elbow grease and scrubbing later on.
Gingerbread house kit
1/4-1/2 cup White sugar
In a small frying pan pour 1/4 cup white sugar and heat over medium high heat. Stirring occasionally with a metal spoon, 5-10 minutes should do but really go off the color and consistency. A deep caramel color is what you’re looking for, not an actual burnt black. Consistency should be like syrup. Once done, move quickly spooning or dipping the ends of gingerbread pieces into your burnt sugar and placing them together with other pieces to make your house.
As I mentioned above this stuff is hot, I burnt my hand a few years back and it was ugly. As anyone who’s in the kitchen a lot knows burns happen, but this stuff is pretty serious so please please be extra careful! Serious food, does mean serious results, so your structure will be very solid. When working with the burnt sugar it will dry very quickly, so you can create the house and in a few minutes let the kids decorate it. Another option is you can create the structure and let it sit until you’re ready to decorate, regardless of if that’s a matter of hours or days. Now this is safe to eat, however it’s very hard, so I don’t recommend it. It’s nice to know it’s safe though, if your kids are anything like mine. For every glob of icing or candy that gets put on the house another goes in their mouth! The really fun thing I’ve noticed the past few years are the different kind of gingerbread kits they offer. We’ve done the gingerbread train a time or two, character themed gingerbread houses, as well as the gingerbread town (this is a hit with multiple kids who all want to make their OWN house) and I even saw a gingerbread ninja kit this year. Be sure to come back and post your creations as you make them, both me and my kiddos would LOVE to see what you make.