THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS PROJECT WITH THE KIDS: A GINGERBREAD HOUSE
If there’s one thing that’s going to make your home look and smell Christmassy this festive season, it’s a gingerbread house. It might be tempting to buy one ready-made from the shops, but then you’ll miss out on the delicious aroma of freshly-cooked gingerbread wafting from the kitchen – not to mention the chance to make wonderful, albeit messy, memories with the kids and get some serious respect from any visitors.
So, turn up the cheesy Christmas tunes and follow our tips to make a gingerbread house so delightful that you’ll want to eat it AND live in it…
Lay the foundationsCooking the gingerbread itself is the simple bit – we recommend this BBC recipe. Yum, we can smell it from here.Since the trickiest part of the process is building the gingerbread house, you may want to cook and construct the gingerbread while the kids are out of the house and just get them involved for the creative bit: the decorating. It all depends how much of a control freak, you are, but just remember, this is meant to be fun – you’re not on Grand Designs!
Still, if you do fancy yourself as quite the gingerbread architect, you could freestyle your design. Everyone else will be best off searching Pinterest for templates. While you tinker away with the main structure, you could always keep the kids busy transforming any gingerbread offcuts into trees and snowmen.
Let the madness commence…Before you start, you’ll need to stock up on anything that might work as décor: think marshmallows, Smarties, glacé cherries, sugar mice, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate logs… it’s Christmas, so this isn’t the time for minimalist modern design: the sweeter and more colourful the better. Once again, this next bit all depends on whether you’re a control freak or a free spirit. And it also depends how much faith you have in your kids. If you’re hoping to impress the neighbours, we’d recommend keeping hold of the icing nozzle and letting the little ones carefully stick sweets only in the areas you’ve already iced.
But if you’re brave enough to encourage their creativity, let them loose with the food colouring. Since their grubby hands will be all over the place, make sure they freshen up with Neutral 0% hand wash before they get stuck in. They could add marshmallow snowmen, sweetie baubles, mini-roll logs and even invite a few of their teeniest toys over to act as pets. The only limit is their imagination… and your patience! Once again, Pinterest is a great source of inspiration.
Sit back and admire your handiworkThe great thing about a gingerbread house is that it lasts longer than a lot of baked goods – your beautiful construction will be edible for at least a week so proudly display it where everyone can see it. Just make sure you keep it out of reach of clumsy little (and big) hands and greedy little (and big) visitors – or at the very least make sure you get some pictures of it on Instagram before it gets demolished…