It's always fun to decorate for a kid's party and use lots of colors.... I rolled kraft paper down the middle of the table, then added red patterned washi tape in different directions and hung red and white polka dot balloons from the ceiling. The colored plates and candy cane striped napkins were from the holiday section at Walmart.
I decided to make the gingerbread houses rather than buy a box for each guest.... I followed the structural recipe from here (it's not actually gingerbread, but looks identical).
Gingerbread House Recipe (detailed instructions at About)
2 cups light corn syrup (or dark corn syrup for a darker house)
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar (or dark brown sugar for a darker house)
1 1/4 cups margarine (I used butter and it worked perfectly fine)
9 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Heat corn syrup, brown sugar and margarine together until smooth.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.
- Add the melted butter mixture to the flour mixture and stir/squish together until combined.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Lightly flour a working space, roll out dough to 1/4" thick.
- Cut out house shapes.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until pieces are firm. Let cool.
In the past, I've used store bought gingerbread kits and by day two or three they usually start to lean and eventually fall over. So, this year I decided to use a box (4x4" cupcake handle kraft box) to help support the house. I used my glue gun to attach the sides into a roof to form a triangle top, then clipped off the excess handles....
Of course gingerbread houses are only complete with tons of candy and frosting. I piled candy in striped cups from Shop Sweet Lulu. And I followed the recipe for Royal Icing from Wilton (perfect for the houses..... creamy enough to pipe and spread, but dries hard enough to secure the pieces).
Ideas for Gingerbread House decorations: Gumdrops, Dots, Twizzlers, Licorice, Marshmallows, M&Ms, Chocolate chips (large and small), White sprinkles (looks like snow), Jellybeans, Candy Canes, Peppermints (red and green)
To start, we frosted the backside of a gingerbread piece, stuck it to one side of the house, then continued around to complete all sides.
Then we added the roof and piped frosting along all sides to help it hold together.....
And finally, the decorating (and sneaking a few bites of candy) began.....
It was a lot of fun to see the kid's creations. And if they finished their house and still wanted more to decorate, I had cut out angels (using the same dough recipe) to use as tree ornaments. The kids frosted the angels with royal icing and poured white sprinkles on the top, then strung twine through the hole (just like our salt dough ornaments).
We chose to have the party in the late afternoon so the kids could decorate and eat a pizza dinner while the parents talked (and ate a few goodies, like peanut butter balls- speaking of those, I accidentally typed the wrong amount of powdered sugar in the recipe I posted yesterday... it should be 4 1/2 cups. I changed it in the post, hope I didn't mess anybody's batch) and drank from fun colored striped straws....
I hope you're enjoying the last week until we celebrate Christmas.