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The Gingerbread Manual

Updated: Sep 3, 2022

Curated for a Fresh-Baked D.I.Y. Construction Cookie Kit





Originating in Germany and known from Grimms’ Brothers fairytale Hansel and Gretel, gingerbread houses have become a holiday tradition for many families. Constructing and building is a perfect activity for children, and what better way to do it than with cookie, candy and sweet treats you can eat.


Step 1: Choosing a Base:


A Gingerbread House needs a strong steady base that can support the weight of the house. If the base bends, often it will fracture the royal icing on top and possibly cause the house to fall apart.


Options:


1) A cutting board


2) A Cheese Board


3) A large serving tray


4) Stacked foil covered cardboard or cake circles (Only recommended for houses that are small.)


4) A Lazy Susan plate


5) Plywood (Recommended for houses that are large)


* The base and the battery-­‐operated lighting are the only non-­‐edible materials in a Construction Cookie Creation.


Step 2: Whipping up the Royal Icing


This is the edible cement that will stick the construction cookie panels together and is pivotal to the construction of the cookie creations. Here, 'consistency' is the key.


Equipment:


1) Wire whisk


2) Spatula


3) A teaspoon


4) Bowls (for mixing )


4) Piping bags


5) A tall glass (for support)


6) Foil Bag Ties / Rubber bands (for sealing bags)


7) Optional: Decorator tips for piping bag


8) Toothpick


Royal Icing Consistencies: 1) Thick Royal Icing Thick royal icing is used to assemble the house. It is the correct consistency to cement together walls, roofs and anchor the house to its base. Construction icing must be thick enough to hold the gingerbread pieces together but fluid enough to travel through the piping bag. How to tell: Stick a spatula into the frosting…it should remain standing!


The D.I.Y. Construction Cookie Kit comes with 100gm icing mix packs per colour.

Take the powder in a bowl and use 2 TSP (measuring teaspoon ) water to make a thick paste with a wire whisk or a silicon spatula . Scrape off the icing from the edges of the bowl and whisk till you achieve a thick paste like consistency. In case you still need more water to achieve desired consistency that can flow through the piping bag then you may use additional half teaspoon water ( Total=2.5 TSP for 100 gm icing mix ).

2) Medium Thick Royal Icing Medium thick royal icing is used to create trees, wreaths and other decor. It does not need to function as cement. How to tell: When mixing the icing with an electric mix , it should have stiff peaks that stay up. Just the top of the peak should bend. To achieve this consistency from icing mix of kit, increase water content by half teaspoon (1/2 TSP) after Step1. Pipe a line and check if you are able to pipe designs that do not spread. 3) Medium Thin Royal Icing Medium thin royal icing is used to create icicles hanging from a house as well as more detailed scrolled icing work using a finer tip. How to tell: When mixing the icing it should have peaks that sag. If the peak disappears into the icing, it is too thin.

To achieve this consistency from icing mix of kit, increase water content by half teaspoon (1/2 TSP) after Step2. Pipe a line of icing to hang from the edge of your bowl to check consistency. 4) Flood Royal Icing Flood icing is as thin as syrup. It is used to “color in” a surface. Outline the area you want to “color in” with a medium thick royal icing and let it dry. Then add the flood icing with a piping bag. The perimeter you made with the medium thick icing will contain the flood icing. Tip: use toothpick to drag icing into small corners. How to tell: When mixing icing, the dropped icing melts back and disappears into a flat surface of icing in about 10 seconds.

Note: Cover icing when not in use with slightly damp paper towel. For overnight storage cover with damp paper towel and plastic wrap.


To achieve this consistency from icing mix of kit, increase water content by half teaspoon (1/2 TSP) after Step3. Check to see if a spoonful of icing melts back into the rest of it in bowl. Increase water content by 1/4th TSP to 1/2 TSP if required.




Step 3: Ideation for Decoration The world is your playground when it comes to ideating , to find interesting and mouthwatering ways to decorate your cookie creations. The D.I.Y. Construction Cookie Kit comes with treats to give your imagination a head-start. Pun intended. You may choose to hang around your neighbourhood, flip through your picture books or magazine stand, or even browse through your supermarket’s cereal and candy aisles; for there lies inspiration awaiting you at every curb, to give you ideas for decorating the house, yard and accessories. Decorations and Accessories can be easily stuck onto the cookie panels with royal icing cement. Allow it to dry completely before moving.


Here are some ideas to lend a touch of uniqueness to your D.I.Y . Cookie Kit project. 1) Cookie House a) Siding: - Royal icing with food colouring used to decorate side panels - Cut out strips of fondant to stick onto the sides (Can be purchased online or stores.) - Brick embossing (Using red candy strip cuttings) - Large pretzel sticks or biscuit sticks for the appearance of a log cabin


- Strencils could be used to draw on side panels with royal icing

b) Roofing - Cereal (i.e. Ragi Bites, Puffed Cereal , Fruit Loops, Shredded Wheat, Honey Grahams) - Sticks of gum

- Gummy Candy Strips

- Colourful hard candies

- Dragees


-Embellish Roof with a Swirl Lollipop

c) Windows - Melted hard candies ( for glass). Please take help of guardian for this. - Gelatin sheets( for glass) Please take help of guardian for this. - Royal icing piping to make window panes

- Sugar Balls stuck in royal icing to give shape of curtains

- Gummy Candy cut into shape – for window shutters - Round cookies cut in ½ and faced backwards-­‐ for shutters

- Chewy Pastilles for shutters (CoffeeBite, Fruitella, Starburst)

- Biscuit Wafers d) Porch Steps - Wafer cookies -Rectangular cookies e) Chimney/Stonework - Jelly beans - Brick embossing - Raisinettes - Nuts -Candy rocks

- Stone Candy

-Pieces of Necco Wafer -Pieces of red licorice -Colourful candies



f ) Porch Pillars -Peppermint sticks


-Candy Canes


-Swirl Lollipops (Cut the lollipop sticks to adjust height)

2) Landscape a) Ground Cover *Shredded coconut-­‐ for snow *Shredded coconut with green food colouring-­‐ for grass *Green or white sprinkles -­‐ for grass or snow *Crushed chocolate cookies– for dirt *Ground coffee-­‐ for dirt *Crushed Graham Crackers/ Digestive Biscuits/ Rusk powder -­‐ for sand * Brown sugar-­‐ for sand * Blue icing for water * Melted blue hard candies-­‐ for water * Blue taffy candy flattened and shaped-­‐ for water

* Blue Sugar Balls for water b) Stone walkways

* Jelly beans * Nuts & Berries * Candy rocks

* Stone Candy

* Confetti Sugar Balls

*Chewy Candy (Skittles, Wrigley Chewy Mints, Mentos)

c) Trees and Bushes * Sugar cones with piped green icing & Sprinkles * Green fondant * Rice cereal treats made with green food coloring * Rolos for potted plants

*Green Gummy Candy cuttings 4) Snowmen * Marshmallows with pretzel arms 6) Fences * Round pretzels connected


* Picket fence with peppermint sticks

* Candy Sticks


* Pretzel Sticks


* Biscuit Sticks 7) Snow * A dusting of confectionary sugar

* Coconut Shavings * Royal icing-­‐ for icicles (adding snow and icicles are also helpful for hiding any

imperfections.)


8)Tree Stump for Tree House

* Waffle Cones to make tree stump


*Chocolate filled puff Cereals / Ragi Bites to make bark


* Brown Fondant


* Pretzel sticks for ladder


* Green Gummies for leaves


9) Bon Fire


* Gummy Candy cut out to make fire


- Biscuit sticks for logs


Note: Attach decorations with royal icing with or without food colouring.


Step 4: Assembling the Cookie Structure Before assembling a Gingerbread House it is crucial that you first decorate all four walls. It is a lot easier to work with gravity rather than against it. Just make sure your decorated walls are fully dried and the icing is completely hardened prior to assembly. 1) You Will Need: a) A supportive base b) Decorated Cookie walls or Side panels of any other structure c) Gingerbread roof / top panels d) Thick royal icing in piping bag with large open tip e) Canned food/ jars / boxes to use as temporary support f) Clean dishtowels 2) Attaching Side Panels to front a) Lay soft dishtowels around base to gently place pieces you are not using. b) Cover a can with a towel to provide padded support to exterior/decorated wall. This

padding will help protect the decorations from being damaged.

c) Pipe a thick line of icing along side-edge of the front wall. Be generous with the royal

icing. You could pipe in a zigzag pattern on the interior side of the front wall, on the

edges where sidewalls will attach. d) Push side wall firmly and yet gently onto the side of the front wall, over the piped

icing, and hold in place for a few seconds till it latches on. e) Support interior side of side wall with lightweight can / box and

exterior side of wall with padded can to hold panels in place till they dry.


f) Let the cement harden around the cookie walls, with the external support from the

jars , to hold the panels in place, till they stick together.


g) Repeat process on the other side of the front wall , to stick the next side panel &

support with cans/ jars/ box.


h) Pipe thick line of icing on bottom edge of sidewalls in case it needs to be stuck to

base.Turn the structure over. Press the sidewalls onto the base lined up with the

frosting. Use cans to support walls.


i) Continue assembly of the rest of the walls in the same manner.To reinforce walls add

zigzag icing along the inside corners of house to give extra cement support to walls.

Let walls dry.


j) If roof / top panel is large and heavy, let walls dry over night.


(Placing a roof on prior to structure completely drying could cause your house to collapse.)


3) Attaching Roof


Once walls are completely dry, attach roof panels one at a time.


a) Pipe a zigzag line of thick royal icing on top edges of front and back wall panels.


b) Press one roof panel in place and hold for 30 seconds. Support roof with can.

(If roof continues to slip, the icing will need to be thickened with more powdered sugar.)


c) Attach the second roof panel. Hold in place for 30 seconds.


d) Pipe a line of icing across the top center ridge of the roof to cement the two roof

panels together. Hold for additional 30 seconds.


e) Use cans if necessary to continue to support roof while it dries.


Once you have completed assembling your house., you must decorate the roof and add any additional mouthwatering accessory that pleases the eye!


Source: The Gingerbread Manual (simsburyrec.com)





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