While MaryJane and I were visiting the Christmas markets, I was so completely inspired by all of the gingerbread and decided I wanted to make a big gingerbread statement piece when I returned. Every year I have so much fun creating a centerpiece for our dining table, and I started imagining a gingerbread village right down the center. It was fun to talk with MJ about ideas I had brewing while we were traveling around each country. This is one of my favorite Christmas projects I’ve ever done, but it is time consuming. Read below for all of the details and a step-by-step guide on how to make your own.
Although creating a bunch of gingerbread houses is really time consuming, it's so satisfying to see them all come together. Here's an overview of how I put it all together, starting with a simple piece of wrapping paper down the center of the dining table:
Placing all of the gingerbread houses:
Placing fresh greens throughout:
Pouring granulated sugar "snow berms" at the base of each of the structures and throughout the entire setting:
Dusting with powdered (confectioners) sugar "snow":
And decorating with sugared cranberries, sporadically placed throughout:
I made 27 gingerbread houses in total. I worked on baking the houses over about one week, just baking them whenever I had time and leaving the pieces on a cooling rack to keep drying and hardening until I was ready to get started with construction. Here are some of the finer details of how I created it all:
- 21 of the houses were miniature-sized, modeled from a gingerbread house cookie cutter I found at my local grocery store. The other houses were modeled from a set of Martha Stewart paper houses that I cut apart for the patterns.
- I did a ton of recipe testing and found this recipe to be the best for what I wanted to do. I was able to roll the dough out really thin to keep the weight down and make the dough go further, and it baked up extremely strong. Note: It seemed as though there was something wrong with the dough once I mixed it up because it was really crumbly. Don't worry when you see this! Once you knead the dough as instructed in the recipe, it all comes together perfectly into a nice compact dough. (It is a bit tough to roll out).
- I used melted white chocolate coating disks as the glue, piped on with a piping bag.
- The thick finishing "snow" on the rooftops was made from Royal Icing, which is made from egg whites and powdered sugar.
- The "thatched roof" was made out of generic Fiber One cereal, placed on piece by piece, starting at the bottom of the rooftop with a strip of piped on white chocolate followed by the cereal placed on top of the strip, one by one, and working my way up to the center (top of the roof) on each side. It was time consuming but not as bad as I thought it would be.
- The "roof tiles" were cinnamon gum placed on in the same manner as the cereal.
- The shutters and window trim on two of the houses were also made from cinnamon gum.
- I make my sugared cranberries by coating them in egg white and then in granulated sugar.
This was a fun project and I'm so glad I did it. I've had such a busy month and it was a nice way to really put my heart into Christmas. I hope you'll give it a try if it sounds fun to you. Merry Christmas!
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Stay-at-home mom, Serena Thompson, dreamed of creating a fun and happy little event to sell her vintage and handmade goods. In 2002, she and some friends held the first event in her neighbor’s barn. The sale became wildly popular and began attracting visitors from across the country and recognition in national magazines. Today the event fills the Spokane County Fairgrounds and features hundreds of creatively and carefully curated spaces filled with vintage and handmade goods. Many describe it as a bucket list event, magical, inspirational, and the best vintage & handmade fair in the country. Serena describes it as the happiest on earth.