It’s my favourite time of the year! Gingerbread house decorating time! Please note I said gingerbread house decorating and not baking because the baking part is just a necessary evil for us to get to the happy place that is decorating. That’s why I buy a gingerbread house kit every year. I get to spend more time decorating the houses with my family, and less time crossing my fingers that my homemade gingerbread house panels don’t lose shape while in the oven.
Throughout the years I’ve purchased many different brands and types of gingerbread house kits. My *biggest* problem with many of the kits out there is that they NEVER give you enough icing to assemble and decorate the house — by the time you go to assemble the panels, there just isn’t enough icing to make everything secure. In the recent years, I’ve gravitated towards buying better quality gingerbread house kits, like this one from Wilton, which give you more than enough supplies and decorations to make the perfect house. This year I’m using the Wilton Build It Yourself Sweet & Petite Gingerbread House Decorating Kit and decorating three houses in three different ways and sharing some of my tips and tricks for gingerbread house decorating in this post. If I miss any tips that you love, please let me know!
Each Sweet & Petite Gingerbread House Kit comes with everything you need for decorating: 6 pre-baked gingerbread house panels, 3 types of candy, green fondant, white ready-to-use icing, decorating bag and tip, and an instruction sheet. In previous years, I’ve used exclusively the decorations that came in the kit but this year I decided to add a few extra touches to make the gingerbread house even more special. In addition to what is included in the kit, I used: different kinds of holiday sprinkles from Wilton, icing decorations, an open-star piping tip, and a bit of green food colouring.
My biggest tip for gingerbread house decorating is to decorate the panels before you assemble the house. It’s much easier to pipe the details on the panels when they’re lying flat. I transferred the icing that came with the kit into the piping bag with the small round piping tip to pipe out the outline and other details of the house. I reserved some of the icing to colour green to pipe the wreath and holly garland for the house. To pipe the wreath, transfer the green icing into a piping bag with an open star tip.
My second tip is to use sprinkles strategically for patterned designs, rather than sprinkling them randomly on the icing. I used the red nonpareils to make the berries for the holly garland and Wilton’s holly mix sprinkles to accent the side windows. The easiest way to work with very small sprinkles like the nonpareils is to use tweezers or get a toothpick with a bit of the icing at the end to transfer the nonpareil from the jar to the house.
Allow all the icing on the gingerbread house panels to fully dry before assembling the house. Because the kit came with so much white icing, I had enough to cover the top side of the cardboard with icing to resemble snow. Applying this thick layer of icing also allows your house to set more securely. Assemble the house by piping the icing to adhere the pieces to each other and allow it to dry. I always find that attaching the roof is the hardest part because it tends to slide while it dries. What I do is that I hold the roof in place for several minutes, allowing the icing to set before letting it dry completely.
Another tip is to use the fondant that comes with the kit for something creative and unexpected. Instead of making the door or covering the roof with the fondant, I rolled out the fondant and cut it into a small rectangle to form Santa’s sleigh. I curved one end of the fondant and allowed it to dry while resting against a cup, so it keeps that shape. Once it has dried, attach the sleigh onto the roof the assembled house and add Santa and his reindeers.
Here are the three houses I made with the Sweet & Petite Gingerbread House Kit! I placed them next to each other on my bookshelf so it looks like a little gingerbread village.
Thank you Wilton for supporting this blog. Head over to the the Wilton website for helpful tutorials and videos for gingerbread house assembly and decorations. While the post is sponsored by Wilton, all opinions are my own!