Friday, February 20, 2015

Gingerbread Love SHACK

For date night the week before Valentines Day, Cameron came home and declared that we were making Love Shack Gingerbread houses. I'd never heard of the idea, but it sounded like a lot of fun. There are a number of different examples online, but this was the one I liked most: 

It is supposed to have come from this site, but I can't find it. I did find it on this site, but it linked to the first site. 
He'd bought the candy, looked up how to make the royal icing, and we had rolls of gingerbread dough in the freezer (hey, they were on sale after Christmas!), so we were ready to roll. We'd never tried baking our own gingerbread house parts, but how hard could it be? hehehe. Since we didn't have a kit or ready made gingerbread house parts, we got to design our own. Cameron designed his house and I designed my house. He had the genius idea to cut out the shapes we needed on cardstock and use those as a template to cut out the gingerbread. He's a smart cookie! We were going to have the most awesome gingerbread love shacks ever! This was easy peasy. ;) 

We got the gingerbread rolled out (adding quite a bit of flour so that it didn't stick to everything, and then got our house pieces cut out. Here is where we hit our first trouble. We couldn't lift them off the counter and onto the pan without warping the shapes. As much as we tried we couldn't get it. So we had to reshape the pieces on the pan once we got the dough over there. But, we made it work and we were still confident that they'd turn out perfect. 

Well, out of the oven they came and we realized this would be more difficult than we thought. First, the pieces puffed up funny. Some had rounded edges now, the cute little heart window I'd cut in one of my walls just looked like a really bad framing job, and some sizes were distorted. To top is off we realized we were out of dough and Cameron had forgotten about roof pieces. But...we would make this work! 

Cameron got to cutting his pieces into smaller pieces to try and reshape his house and make a roof. I got to trying to cut of edges of my house trying to make straight lines that might sort of match up. In the end Cameron scrapped his house and we worked turned my house into our house. 

We couldn't get the walls to stay up, so one of us would hold everything together while the other slathered icing on the joints, trying to keep the house from collapsing. Eventually we got a semi-stable house. That is until we started adding the candy decor. The roof tried to slide off a few times, the joints shifted, and the house leaned. But finally we got it all together, the candy on, and it was upright. It was done...and we just kinda sat back and laughed. Our love shack is a little dilapidated. 

All in all, it's not bad...but it's not the cute little house we imagined. It's definitely a shack. Oh well. We had fun and that was the point of it, right? Right.

Next time I think we'll buy one of the gingerbread house kits in the after-Christmas sale and then just save it until Valentines Day.


  1. LOL That pic of the two of you. hahahahaa It still came out adorable. I've never attempted the gingerbread house as I hear they are much harder than they look (unless you buy the kits w/ the cookies already baked).

  2. I've heard of people rolling the dough onto parchment paper, then cutting the pieces out. Then instead of moving the house piece they just remove the rest of the dough between the pieces. Or I've heard of some people baking it up in one big piece, then cutting the house parts out while it was still fresh from the over and soft.
    For the frosting, I once used one that had egg white in it. It held everything together almost perfectly. I had to put cans of food in the house, and one on the outside of each wall while it dried. I would have to wait awhile for the "glue" to dry when assembling the house. But I could use that time to make icing icicles, snowballs, etc. to add to the house itself when I was ready to decorate. The only downside to using that particular kind of icing is it ins't really safe to eat with the egg white in it, and it not being refrigerated.

  3. We ALWAYS have "gluing" issues when making gingerbread houses. From a kit or from scratch. It is just part of the experience, I think.
    As long as you had fun making them (it?) together, that is the best part. :)

  4. Instead of using icing to keep the gingerbread house together, use chocolate. It dries much harder than icing, and will hold the house together. Someone mentioned icing with egg: it works really well too, but chocolate is our substitute since my sister is allergic to eggs. The other option is to use melted sugar to hold the house together. It works even better than any egg icing or chocolate, but there is some serious potential for burns, so don't so that unless you are confident in the kitchen. Great date night idea!

  5. If you want to skip right to the decorating, build from graham crackers. You'll still want a stiff icing (so the chocolate idea is great), but you get to skip all the puffiness issues.

    If you're determined to use gingerbread, I'd cut the leavening way, way back (possibly to zero), so the dough can't puff.


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