Showing posts from November, 2013

Gingerbread Houses for Kids

There are plenty of amazing websites out there devoted to those perfect, architectural-wonder gingerbread houses. This is not one of them.

My boys and I went to visit Fox 9 to show the weatherman, Cody, how gingerbread houses are done. Click the video above to see the segment, or you can click here to go to the Fox 9 website.

Gingerbread houses in our house generally involve a whole lot of sugar, layers upon layers of candy, marshmallows and sugar cereal, and who knows what else. And with kids, I think that's really what it's all about. Below are some of my ideas for making the kid-friendly gingerbread house a more fun experience.

It's all about the icing

Whether you're making your gingerbread house with a kit or graham crackers or Homemade Gingerbread, whether or not it stands up to the test of a child decorating it is all about the icing.
Most of the kits come with some pre-packaged icing, which is fine for adding your decorations and making snow around the outside of th…

Homemade Gingerbread House {Recipe}

We love decorating gingerbread houses at our house. But admittedly, I'd never made them from scratch before this season. I was sure my awesomely soft Gingerbread Recipe wouldn't hold up the decorations, and I don't usually eat the houses, anyway.

Graham crackers and store-bought kits worked well enough for us. Now I know. Totally worth it, making our own. Though I did have to add a lot more flour to get the dough stiff enough to hold up.

What You Need:
For the house pieces:
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses
5 - 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

For the Icing:
1 lb. powdered sugar (about 3 1/2 - 4 cups)
1-2 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. meringue powder
1/3 cup water

(See my Egg White Royal Icing Recipe if you don't have meringue powder.)

For the Decorations:
Cereal: Fruit Loops, Trix, Golden Grahams, Frosted Mini Wheats
Candy: Gum Drops, Mini C…

Egg White Royal Icing Recipe

Royal Icing is the icing that dries hard for cookie decorating. I usually make my Royal Icing with Meringue Powder. But sometimes I'll get questions about making royal icing with egg whites instead of the powdered version.

So, I made some with egg whites for these gingerbread houses. It's really quite easy, you just want to be sure you don't use the egg whites raw, to avoid any potential for food poisoning.

What You Need
3-4 egg whites (about 1/2 cup)
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4-5 cups powdered sugar

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"Acorn"y Little Thanksgiving Idea

After I saw this acorn treat idea on the website, The Fountain Avenue Kitchen, I decided my children must make them for their teachers as a treat for the upcoming Thanksgiving break.

Of course, being that I just looked at a picture and didn't read directions, I didn't realize I needed mini Nilla Wafers instead of regular ones. So, ours didn't turn out quite as well. But the 7-year-olds didn't care.

All you need is Hershey's Kisses, Mini Nilla Wafers (or regular-sized), and a butterscotch chip. Some melted chocolate or almond bark or even icing to put it all together, and let the kids go!

We put four in a bag and added a little note that said: "Acorn"y little gift to say: I'm Thankful for You!
Because well, we're just acorny like that!

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Yee Haw! Cowgirl Birthday Cake

A cowgirl-themed birthday cake for twin girls... one insisted there be a cow on the cake, and one insisted there be a horse. So, we ended up with this.
It's all buttercream, and really only three colors (chocolate, black and white), so it's not too hard to accomplish. The real surprise is inside of the cow tier-- which is also cow-spotted.

What You Need:
Cake Mix or Recipe for 1 vanilla and 1 chocolate cake
1 recipe Buttercream Icing
Double recipe of Chocolate Buttercream Icing
Black Icing Coloring
Food-safe dowel rods
6" & 8" cake pans
Piping Bags and Tips #7, 10, 233
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Leftover Halloween Candy Treats {Recipe}

Sometimes just sending the leftover Halloween candy into the office to get rid of it doesn't work. People see right through that attempt at getting rid of it. So, I try to repackage it... into Cupcakes, Brownies and this year, Rice Krispies Treats.

What You Need:
6 cups Rice Krispies Cereal
1/4 cup (half of a stick) butter
10-oz. bag marshmallows
Various chocolate candy (We used about 25-30 pieces.)

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