Making a Gingerbread House

Four years ago when the whole family got together for Christmas we started the tradition of making a gingerbread house. This year the cast of cooks was a little different but as you will see all the grandchildren had a help in preparing the masterpiece. Dora was kind enough to let use her kitchen and we made an effort to clean it up afterwards.
With Nick mixing up the dry ingredients and Grandma helping to measure out the various spices all eyes were on the starting of the process. Alex, held by Cindy was more interested in checking out Nick's hair, however. Photographer in this case was ?
Jessica measured out the shortening and with its addition to the flour and sugar mixture, everyone got into using the electric mixer. Jessica and Grandma are helping to add the molasses to the mix in the picture on the right. (The smell of molasses was not too pleasant to the children but they persevered.) The bows were added for a more festive look
After an hour wait (for the dough to harden) the cooking crew returned to the kitchen to press the dough into the mold. Of course everyone washed their hands before and after this process. Only half of the house could be baked at a time so this process was repeated a half hour later. Notice that the bows did not remain on the heads of the two more active grandchildren! Once the pieces were all baked and cooled then the making of the frosting and decorating began.
The frosting mix acts as a glue to hold the pieces together but it took a number of hands to get the walls to stand up. In fact that was the most difficult job of the whole decorating process. It was a good thing we had all the help we did. With the walls standing, it was time to add the rest of the decorations, again using the frosting as the glue to hold things onto the roof and sides. The cans of colored frosting were used for the small details which the children felt were needed. Not too many of the candy pieces were eaten during this process although samples were checked out by all.
The finished house was given a place of honor on the shelf for about 30 hours, until the entire group got into eating it on Christmas day. With Grandma and Cindy taking pictures there were lots of evidence of the destruction and enjoyment of this house.

At the beginning everyone was polite about taking the decorations to eat first. Before long the pieces of the house began to disappear with everyone getting involved. This was a time when even the youngest and the oldest of the family were able to get into the act.

All Gone !