After you have baked your gingerbread according to the gingerbread template and created the icing, you are ready for the fun part — putting your gingerbread house together. So put on your hard hat and whip out a pastry bag with a #10 tip, if you have one. If not, just use a table knife and glop the icing onto the gingerbread.
Place the gingerbread base on a large, flat platter or a stiff piece of cardboard that you’ve covered with foil. The platter or cardboard should be large enough to leave room for a yard.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a #10 round tip halfway with icing. Apply a strip of icing to the bottom of the front of the house and place it 2 inches in from one short end of the base. Prop the front upright with a canned good. Now apply the icing to one of the sides and connect to the propped-up front. Prop this piece up too. Continue with the back of house and the other side. Allow 10 minutes for the icing to firm up. You can reinforce the icing “cement” by going over all the lines on the inside of the house one more time.
Meanwhile, decorate the roof pieces. You could spread icing on the roof and apply wheat cereal pieces, sugar side facing out, to make a thatched roof or use any other decoration you can think of.
Remove the cans from the inside of the house and apply icing to the roofline all the way around and press on the roof. Hold in place for a minute or so. Glue on the chimney and the door. The door can be slightly ajar if you like.
Now the fun begins. Let the kids loose to decorate the house. Use icing to affix candy pieces all over the house. Rim the windows. Place a doorknob on the door. Make a candy walkway winding from the edge of the tray to the door. The sky is the limit.
Gingerbread houses are truly individual projects, which is the way it should be!
Here are some landscaping ideas:
Cover cone-shaped ice cream cones with green-tinted frosting. Make peaks in the frosting and small pine trees appear before your eyes. Press on small candies for ornaments.
Use two candy canes to form the runners of a sled. Place a graham cracker across the candy canes to form the base of the sled, gluing the graham cracker into place with frosting. Load up the sled with candy and place on the lawn.
Build a snowman with marshmallows and toothpicks, using various candies to make the eyes, nose, and mouth. Straight mini pretzels make great arms.
The important thing is to have fun and be creative. Here are some types of candy, and what you can possibly use them for:
Licorice sticks: Outline walls, use as fence posts
Licorice whips: Sled ropes, windowpanes
Large pretzel sticks: Logs, beams, sled runners
Mini pretzel sticks: Windowpanes, wheel spokes, stack of firewood
Candy canes: Gateposts, lampposts
Candy wafers: Roof tiles, wheels
Sweetened flaked coconut: Snow for roofs and lawn
Chocolate bars: Shingles, doors, shutters, patio bricks
Redhots: Ornaments on trees
Confectioners sugar: Snow
Sheet gelatin: Window glass
Candied fruit slices: Stained glass windows
Flat lollipops: Road signs
Round lollipops: Tops of lampposts
Slivered almonds: Shingles, paving stones
Rock candy: Ice chunks
Shredded wheat cereal: Bales of hay
Though the house lasts for weeks, the candy will probably get picked off and it will start to look like a rundown shack. But that’s part of the fun.