Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gearing up for Gingerbread House Season

As mentioned in a prior blog post, I'm teaching "Mommy and Me" Gingerbread House Decorating Classes this year, with two scheduled at the Franklin Rec Center on November 19th and December 17th, and two more offered at Longview on November 29th and December 20th. (please check out my Upcoming Class Schedule Page for times and tuition information). Because I provide all the necessary supplies for these classes, including the gingerbread house pieces, I need to have candy and seasonal sprinkles to decorate the houses with, so I went shopping for trimmings the other day.

Mini candy canes are a necessity, along with the round peppermint candies which you can't see in the picture below because they're in the canister underneath the candy canes. I also have fruit loops cereal, shaped green and red marshmallows, candy fruit slices, M&M's, the obligatory gum drops, shaped gummy LifeSavers, Mike and Ikes, chewy Sprees, and the regular hard LifeSavers.
There's even more on its way to me that I recently ordered from CK Products in the way of holiday sprinkles, colorful sugar pearls, and other cool stuff like candy pebbles and red hots. Now I just need some students, and I'll be all ready for the fun to begin! 

In these classes, we'll build a modest-size house from prebaked gingerbread house pieces. Once assembled, I'll show students a few basic piping techniques while we wait for the icing holding the houses together to dry, and this will also give students a chance to plan out how they want to decorate their house and select the candy and sprinkles they wish to use. Anything goes when it comes to gingerbread houses, so this is a fun (and yummy!) way to be creative.

Gingerbread house decorating is an activity all ages can enjoy, and while these "Mommy and Me" classes are listed for ages 3 and up, I plan to have enough decorating options to suit a wide range of ages. Children aged 10 and older don't need to have a parent helper present, but parents of older kids are still welcome to join the class.

Gingerbread House Challenge

Some of you may already be seasoned gingerbread house builders and not need my class. Well, I have excellent news for you! JoAnn's in Cool Springs is hosting a Gingerbread House Challenge on November 19th. Participants must be at least 14 years old to compete individually, but younger contestants can participate with a parent helper.

Customers will vote for the winners, and the prizes are as follows:
  • 1st Prize: $50 Jo-Ann gift card plus a $10 Wilton product gift certificate
  • 2nd Prize: One free Jo-Ann class (max. value of $45) plus a $10 Wilton product gift certificate
  • 3rd Prize: $10 Wilton product gift certificate

Please check with the Cool Springs JoAnn store for complete details, but here's a quick rundown of the participation guidelines:

  • Participants should be age 14 and above. Parents and minor children can participate as a team, however prizes will be awarded to parents only. 
  • Gingerbread projects can be decorated in the participant's choice of theme. 
  • Cakes cannot be used in lieu of gingerbread. 
  • Participants can use any type of icing. 
  • Decorations must be edible or food-safe items. 
  • The store will not be providing decorating tools, icing or fondant; Participants must bring/purchase their own supplies and tools and take them home after the challenge. 
  • Decorations can be pre-made and brought to the event in storage containers. They are not allowed to be on the gingerbread projects before 1 pm. 
  • Gingerbread projects must be real. Substitutions such as styrofoam are not acceptable. 
  • Projects should be decorated on a base cake board, no larger than 17" with footing underneath. The purpose of the footing is to allow projects to be easily lifted and moved. 
  • Customers will vote for their favorite gingerbread from 2:30-3:30. 
  • There is no entry fee. However, space is limited and is on a first come, first serve basis. 
  • All Jo-Ann customers are welcome to enter the event. 
  • Participants will be provided with tables and chairs in their workspace. 
  • Gingerbread decorating begins promptly at 1 pm. Participants should arrive in enough time to set-up and prepare his/her workspace, no earlier than 12:30 pm.
For gingerbread house enthusiasts who live elsewhere, if you have a JoAnn store nearby, check and see if they're also running a Gingerbread House Challenge.


Heavenly Baker said...

I would love to take baking/decorating cakes. But I am far from anywhere that offer them. Any advice, where I can maybe do a better Ginger Bread House than the disaster of last year. I am Holiday Baking challenged. I can make cakes, cupcakes, pies and some candies.

Thank you if you can help me. I will be reading your blog since I found it


Brooke Anna @ Mommy Does... said...

I wish I lived somewhere near things like this! We don't have fun mommy and me classes such as this in my hometown.

cakedarla said...

Thank you both for commenting! I don't make gingerbread houses from scratch. I tried that one year, and it was a complete debacle. Not to mention time consuming and expensive. I use the pre-baked gingerbread house pieces. I know you're stuck using the standard house shape and so there's no way to customize the look of your structure, but they're MUCH easier to assemble.

kiko_girl101 said...

Thanks for so much information on getting ready for the gingerbread season :)