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One of the best parts about having this blog is coming up with creative ways to incorporate gardening into activities that aren’t typically gardening related. A gingerbread house with a garden was one of my first Christmas gardening blog ideas. It has become a tradition of mine to build a gingerbread house for every Christmas & I thought it would be a lot of fun to garden it up. & it was! Anything frosting tips related is right up my alley. I firmly believe that you can create almost anything with a little gumption, the right frosting tips & a sturdy buttercream recipe. Let’s get started, read on to learn how to make a gingerbread house with a garden.
- Gingerbread house (I used this lighthouse kit from Wilton)
- Buttercream frosting (recipe below)
- Food coloring (I used leaf green, sky blue & lemon yellow from AmeriColors)
- Frosting tips (I used a large flower 2D, small line 3, small leaf 352, small grass 233 all from Wilton & a large open star tip similar to these)
- Frosting bags or sandwich bags
- Frosting coupler (optional)
- Powdered sugar
Buttercream Frosting Recipe for Decorating
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 t almond extract
- 1 T milk
- Cream the butter in a large bowl with a mixer.
- Add powdered sugar into the creamed butter one cup at a time.
- Mix in almond extract & milk until the frosting is smooth.
- Separate your frosting into three bowls.
- Add one drop of green food coloring into the first bowl & blend together.
- For the second bowl, add one drop of blue food coloring & one drop of yellow, blend well.
- For the third bowl, add one drop of green food coloring & one drop of blue food coloring, blend well.
- Set up your frosting bags & frosting tips. Place a frosting tip inside a frosting bag. Cut off the tip of the bag & push the tip to the end, make sure that it is firmly in place. Repeat the process with your other tips & bags. Use a frosting coupler if you want to change out tips quickly.
- Fill your frosting bags with buttercream frosting. You can use one color per bag or a mix of colors.
- Hold the frosting bag with one hand & squeeze the frosting using gentle pressure. Pipe the frosting out of the bag next to your gingerbread house. Use large flower & large star tips to make bushes & trees. Make frosting bushes by using quick & short squeezes. Make frosting evergreen trees by making a base with a counterclockwise swirl, pull up the frosting towards the ceiling & quickly release. You can also make trees by making three short bushes on top of each other. Make grass with short quick squeezes.
- Pipe ivy onto your gingerbread house by using a small line tip. Draw a pattern on your gingerbread house with the frosting. Follow up using a leaf tip to make ivy leaves over the lines you drew, making sure to use quick squeezes.
- Sprinkle the house & garden with powdered sugar to simulate snow.
- Make sure to add a little frosting at a time to each bag. Your hand will heat up the bag, which will melt the frosting. Melted frosting isn’t easy to work with & it will not show a lot of details. Set your bag aside if your frosting it getting too soft & go back to it when the frosting firms up again.
- Work quickly, especially when making ivy. Ivy leaves are a lot easier to stick on a soft line of frosting than a dried one.
- Don’t cover with too much powdered sugar, you won’t be able to see your hard work.
- Frosting tips can be expensive if you buy them separately. I highly recommend this tip set from Wilton. For real, it changed my baking life. I use it with every cake/cupcake/decorated cookie I make.
We live near the Wilton headquarters & they do an outlet sale twice a year with huge markdowns (we got an angel food cake pan & loaf pans for $1 each & a bundt pan for $2!). Their fall sale is right before Christmas every year, so we always end up with a few Christmas baking goodies. We have bought our gingerbread house kits there two years in a row for an absolute steal of a price. They make gingerbread house making a snap. One day I’d like to make a gingerbread house from scratch, but today is not the day. Today was a gardening gingerbread day.
This project does take a few hours to complete. I did this over the course of three days. I built the gingerbread lighthouse on a Friday night, decorated the house on a Saturday & created the garden on a Monday. It’s an easy project, but it does take some time, so keep that in mind. But once you get the hang of decorating with frosting this project becomes almost therapeutic. I just love decorating with frosting, it’s the best tasting kind of crafting you can do! Don’t like the tree that you piped out? Eat it! No one will ever see your mistake!
That’s it! You know you want to give it a try. Whip up some buttercream frosting & get to creating your own gingerbread garden.
Interested in more Christmas gardening projects? Check out my fresh Christmas wreath tutorial & my Christmas porch pot tutorial.