Gingerbread Challenge 2008

We baked gingerbread houses last week for a neighborhood party. I thought this would be an ideal time for a boy to have a baking lesson, so I snagged the first ten-year-old who walked by. The Mercenary was interested in the job so we got started before he could ask too many questions.

Overall it went very well, although I was surprised at how little he knew about where I keep things in the kitchen. Note to self: have more baking and cooking lessons soon.

We made a large batch of dough together, then wrapped it in plastic and set in the refrigerator to chill. The house smelled wonderful! I guess the raw dough left over tasted pretty good too, because I looked up from wiping the counter to see The Mercenary with his entire head in the bowl.

The gingerbread houses were for our neighborhood Gingerbread Challenge. It was really fun! Everyone brought some decorations to share, each family had a house to work on, and we all just went crazy with it. There were competitive categories like “Best Use of Inedible Ingredients” and “Best Use of Necco Wafers”, both won by my boys. (By the time Captain Earthquake showed up to participate his brothers were deeply involved so he grabbed an extra house on his own, hence the Necco wafers.)

Gingerbread house decorated with Necco wafers

Oh! Totally off topic…(how do ya like that segue???) My post is up over at GNMParents (now ForeverParenting), all about how I’m wily and manipulative with screen time.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to build gingerbread houses.

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9 Responses to “Gingerbread Challenge 2008”

  1. OMG I remember making those in 4th grade! I was an art major, I won my class contest. 🙂 What did you use as the glue again?

  2. When did you start to get your children involved in the kitchen? We have our 2 year old son at home most of the time and he loves getting his hands dirty in th ekitch, he is also pretty impressed with the resulting cookies that come out of the oven

  3. Cool Dude says:

    Sauterne Wine pairs well with gingerbread house.

  4. Amy says:

    medical alarm girl, congrats on winning that contest! We used a recipe for royal icing. One called for an egg white and powdered sugar along with cream of tartar. After I ran out of the cream of tartar, I found one that used just the powdered sugar and egg white. I liked the first recipe better in terms of consistency but both versions worked fine.

    Cool Dude, LOL. I have no idea what Sauterne Wine is. Red? White? I also laughed because I bake the gingerbread house pieces so that they’re HARD to the point of being inedible. We don’t have any structural integrity issues, but I wouldn’t suggest trying to eat them. You might break a tooth! We make gingerbread cookies on the side and I have a different recipe that makes them come out softer and full of flavor.

  5. Amy says:

    Whoops, Melbourne Accommodation I didn’t mean to skip you. We tried making things in the kitchen early on. I recall trying banana bread with the older boys when they were 2 and by the end of the thing I was so frazzled and exhausted I didn’t try again for a long time. With twin boyss (even now!) there is a level of competition that can get unreal. When they were little, trying to explain that we were taking turns on the measuring and pouring didn’t go over well because they were so excited about it they weren’t listening. Then the “It’s my turn to stir” argument started, resulted in tears for whoever wasn’t stirring, and generally was not fun.

    So. I threw them out of the kitchen for quite a while. I was more successful when they were 4 and I was ready to explain the process. Even then I had to exercise a great deal of control and do the turn-taking thing. I think that’s why I was surprised at how little The Mercenary knew of kitchen function, because we’ve never cooked just one parent to one child. I had TechnoBoy make the second batch of gingerbread a few days later and he really enjoyed it. I think I’ll try to do more individual cooking with them in the future.

    I know families who’ve got their 9 and 10 year old kids cooking whole meals (simple ones) and baking independently. I’ve not gotten to that point yet, but I’ve decided not to sweat it. 🙂

  6. Hi Amy,

    Thanks for your comments, I just thought I’d report back. Our son is doing well in the kitchen (albiet still at 2 yrs) stirring the pots and watching intently as we make simple dishes, even mimicking our taste testing. Thanks again. Jamie (M.A.)

  7. Amy says:

    Jamie, that is SO neat! Good for you and for your son. I love how you are able to spend individual time with him, bonding, and laying a foundation for a great relationship with food and cooking. Thanks for coming back and reporting in. I always love to hear happy reports. 🙂

  8. So nice! I hope these are edible.
    Im just curious what are the materials used for making that aside from ginger?

  9. jeux en ligne says:

    Wow…an unedible Gingerbread house?? Now *that* is a tease! Glad to hear u are working on new holiday stuff. That looks like so much fun! Will all the entry pics be somewhere for us non-lollishop vendors to view? I bet they will be beautiful!

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