Festival of Trees: Gingerbread Houses
We featured the trees of the Festival of Trees earlier in our Terrific Traditions. One of the other aspects of the mall display is gingerbread houses that are donated to the Resident Care Foundation for auction. Each year, creative artisans aged 2 to adult create gingerbread masterpieces that are also auctioned off.
Wisely, they put all of the gingerbread houses behind frames of wood and plexiglass. This helps small people (ahem, Mr J) that are still learning they should look and not necessarily touch. I admit, there is some of them that I wanted to touch too. We certainly have talented, creative people in our midst.
The one on the top right was made by a local student and I didn’t realize it was suppose to be our Beaver Boardwalk until my husband pointed it out. Well done! We also have a gingerbread artiste, Tara Wilson – hers is the one on the bottom left. This one ended up selling for $600. A local construction company purchased many of the gingerbread houses and other items & then gave them away. This was the biggest year for the Festival ever.
Our Gluten-Free Gingerbread House
One of our long-standing traditions is to put together a gingerbread creation. We missed out on last year’s since we were all deathly sick with the flu but in previous years have done either houses or trains. Being gluten-free & egg-free now posed a large challenge for this year’s creation. I sadly bypassed all the neat kits that I saw in the supermarket and thought this tradition was done for unless I was going to make gingerbread from scratch. With all the other projects we are involved in at Christmas time, plus the cooling time of gingerbread, I honestly didn’t think we could make it happen.
You can imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a gluten-free gingerbread house kit. (Sorry, my egg-free friends, it is not egg free).
And right beside it, lay egg-free Royal Icing. Be still my heart. (Personally I am the only one egg-free at my house, so I figured I could have a few candies and some icing and all would be well). We followed the directions to put the royal icing we were using for glue together using our trusty mixer. We had lunch and let it sit for about 20 minutes in the piping bag figuring that would be sufficient to make it a terrific glue.
We put the sides together carefully using the piping bag and held it in position. We tried more icing, less icing, with a butter knife, spreading it on the plate…..but we just couldn’t make her go together. Mr J was getting antsy because he wanted to eat the gingerbread house. Some days you can’t beat them, so you might as well join them. So we had a gingerbread snack.
The gingerbread (the few bites I had) was delicious, the candies were of different textures and featured gumdrops, gummy bears and jelly beans. The substituted royal icing was creamy and very sugary – I may use much less next time. I think for the time being, we will probably stick to 2D gingerbread men or call upon the help of Dad the carpenter. I credit his skills with our previous building successes!
Make Your Own Tradition
- Decorate your own gingerbread man: Gluten-Free, Egg-Free Gingerbread Recipe to try
- Young kids? Try an ice cream cone with a little icing & yummies instead, or a 2D cookie
- Feeling short on time? Try graham cookies as your walls, with royal icing glue or white chocolate
- Want to go for the gusto: go to the Big Daddy: The Food Networks’ Gingerbread House
a passionate recreation coordinator by day, crazy farm mama of two by night. i live outdoors: growing my own food, camping and hiking with my border collie with two active kids in tow. when I’m not writing, I’m experimenting with recipes, and crafts – or anything else that might keep the monkeys entertained.