Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Kitchen Craftin' Gingerbread House Under Glass Tutorial

 Last week we made some gingerbread houses for centerpieces to use during some swanky upcoming Christmas events. Ya know. It is the pretty little house that any inch-high fairy would find passed the land of swirly whirly gum-drops and the proverbial "wintery Fairy-Land". Try not to scream, "Saaaanta! I know him!!"  Now, in order to keep swipers from swiping...we put our gingerbread fantasy-lands under glass!

How did we take this gorgeous beast and put it in the glass display?
 Ya know...without destroying all the delicate features of the house?

Well. The secret is making them by first measuring. Simple silly.  The second secret is making them lightweight and cheating a little. Yes. I cheated. These beauties are made with cardboard. They're a cross between a kitchen craft and a real gingerbread. This makes them light enough and strong enough to put in a container without falling apart.

We even used a hot glue gun to really give the strength we needed for the base.
My advanced pastry school instructors are probably not very happy with this. However, I'm a mom first right now...and I just didn't have a full day to devote to baking gingerbread, cutting, sugar melting, and waiting for royal icing to dry. wouldn't have been light enough to slip into the cookie jar. Really. 
Just make sure the base of the structure fits inside the container, then remove from the glass, decorate and return to the "under glass" area.  This one was done in a trifle bowl.
This also works for mini snow-globe-type gingerbread houses. Invert a regular mouth mason jar lid and ring that have been sealed together with hot-glue. This base gives the house enough lift to be seen as a snow globe inside of the jar.  Put your gingerbread or cardboard house inside the inner circle of the ring. Place the regular mouth mason jar lid on a wide-mouth lid. 
Make sure it will fit inside the wide mouth quart jar. This is one of the Ball old-fashioned wide mouth pint jars. They are a little fatter and shorter than the regular wide-mouth jars. 

Remove. Decorate. Return to the jar.

Other cheater ideas.
Yup. I have them too.
1. Use recycled stuff. The top roof is a recycled hamburger clam-shell. The base is a cardboard box and the structure for the fireplace is some strategically folded paper-towel cardboard.  

2. Use unexpected decorations and embellishments.
The "wood siding" for the house is actually some perfectly measured and snapped pieces of tomato-basil dry glued in place. This was dry enough to keep the structure from going soggy. I could have used gum pieces or something. This was just what I had around the house. If you see some light green on the side of the wrap-around porch and the balcony...that was spinach linguine.

The pillars on the wrap-around porch and the fence-posts are all made from candy sticks. My son called them candy cigarettes. I'm not sure I'd let my kids play with them for anything but making gingerbread. I used royal frosting for the final decorations but in general, the hot glue gun stayed in-use most of the project. I think this house will be here in 5 years if I keep it dry. Not that I'm going to do that...but it is really cool!
My son said, "We need to make these every single week!" So, you can bet that we will be doing more. 
Please note. The pile of candy and bags of goodies...well...that was for the project. However, for under 20$ and a full 6 hours of just being creative with my was a priceless investment.

We bonded over pretzel-logs, licorice siding, smarties shingles, and frosting ice-cycles. What could be more perfect?

There you go. Do some kitchen crafts with your kiddos!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

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