Tradition

One of my favorite new traditions is building a gingerbread house with my best friend on Christmas Eve.  The tradition started last year.  She wanted to build a gingerbread house, so we got a kit from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  The kit came with pre-cut pieces, royal icing mix, and little bags of candies to decorate.  It was super cute.    It was also your basic gingerbread house.

This year, we decided to try something a bit more…  ambitious.  And perhaps Harry Potter-oriented.  We started planning early.  In January, I sent her pictures of a Burrow (the home of the Weasleys) made out of gingerbread.  From there, we thought about making Hogwarts, but at last we landed on Hagrid’s Cottage.  We decided to make our own gingerbread dough and cut out pattern pieces and go from there.

Cut to December 22nd.  I made the dough following the Simply Recipes recipe, which I refrigerated overnight.

The next afternoon, as Steph figured out how to build the house and cut pattern pieces, I rolled out half of it on my countertop.  Hagrid’s cottage has six sides and a sloped roof.  Steph made a template for the walls and two sizes of triangles for the roof.  Once the pattern templates were ready, I cut out the pieces – six rectangles for the walls, and six each of two sizes of triangle for the roof.  I also cut four skinny rectangles for the chimney and another rectangle for the porch roof.  (Let me know if you want my pattern!  I’ll post templates after Christmas)

We also cut holes for windows in two of the walls.  I stuck some crushed Jolly Ranchers in the holes, which melted into translucent window panes.  I also made the royal icing according to the recipe above and colored it light brown with food coloring.

Putting the house together took a while.  The icing wasn’t as sticky or thick as last year’s, although it was a lot easier to pipe.  That meant that we had to wait for it to dry before moving on to the next step.  The roof also took some ingenuity to build – we ended up putting cardboard and a mason jar ring lid (!) under it for support.  And used my hairdryer to speed the drying process.  The pathway is made from rolled-out caramels cut with a bottle cap, the forest is mint leaves, and the door is frosted on.  The porch supports are Tootsie Rolls sourced from my boss.

When we do this next year and if I use the same recipe, I think I would half it.  I have enough leftover dough chilling in my freezer  to make a whole ‘nother Hagrid’s Hut.  The royal icing recipe was good for Hagrid’s Hut but if I was to make something bigger, I’d probably want to double it and add some cream of tartar or another thickening agent.

It may not be as professional as some of the houses online, but we’re very happy with the results!  And I feel extra awesome for making everything from scratch!

Disclaimer: I don’t own Harry Potter or the design inspiration for Hagrid’s Hut. 

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