Building & decorating a gingerbread house has been a Christmas tradition of mine for a few years now. During normal years, I would buy a gingerbread house kit during the amazing semi-annual Wilton’s outlet sale. However, 2020 is nowhere near a normal year & there was no November/December sale this year. I ended up ordering a pre-built gingerbread house this year online & hoped for the best that it would arrive in one piece. Luckily, it arrived perfectly intact & waiting to be decorated. Me being me, I decided to decorate it with a gardening theme, like I did last year, when I created a gingerbread lighthouse gardening extravaganza! This year’s gingerbread house is a modest one, so I went big on the garden instead. Read on to see how it turned out.
Decorating the actual house was easy. Like I said before, I normally build the house one night & then decorate it the next day. This time, the gingerbread house was already built, so easy peasy. I placed the house off to the side on a decorative cake stand so I would have room to make a garden. Then, I piped out a bunch of royal icing that came with the kit onto the roof panels, smeared them to look like snow & topped them with the included red & green candies to look like Christmas lights. After that, I outlined the joints with the provided frosting & piped out the windows/doors. The red & green candies were placed on this icing too, right after piping. The house was finished in no time!
Now onto the main event, the buttercream frosting garden. I am a seasoned vet when it comes to decorating with buttercream. I like frosting that tastes just as good as it looks, so I don’t do fondant. No offense, fondant. All you really need is the right frosting tips & you can take over the baking world as far as I’m concerned. But first, the frosting. I whipped up my favorite buttercream frosting & divided it into two bowls, so I could color them different shades of green. I made one bowl of frosting grass green & the other a deeper green with a hint of blue. Once that was done I was ready to rock.
I piped out some ivy and garlands on the house using a leaf tip. Due to the small surface space I wasn’t able to go all out with the ivy like I did last year with the lighthouse, but I like the way it turned out. Next up was the garden’s raised bed. As soon as I decided to make another gardening themed gingerbread house I knew that I had to make a little veggie raised bed for it. I built the bed using broken up saltine crackers. All I did was pipe out the royal icing & placed the cracker bit on it, then I filled the bed with brown sugar to make it look like it was filled with dirt. I followed that up by creating teepee plant supports out of raw spaghetti, using the same icing method. My plan was to pipe out leaves on them to look like tomato plants, however, the teepees were way too small & my frosting tip was way too big. I ended up making tiny trees instead & just rolled with it.
All that was left was to create a nice green lawn using a grass tip & to create an evergreen border fence. This was the easiest part of this endeavor by far. You basically just squeeze & go. I made sure to cover as much of the cake stand as I could, even though it came a bit down to the wire there when I started to run out of grass green frosting. I topped every few trees with the tiny red & green candies that my gingerbread house came with. I also lined the walkways with the candy on the piped grass. I ended up decorating the sides of the house with all of the leftover candy as well. Gingerbread houses aren’t meant for skimping on the candy. Finally, I sprinkled powdered sugar all over the house to make it look like it snowed (also to cover any imperfections) & my gingerbread garden house was complete!
I am so glad that I was able to decorate a gingerbread house this year. It’s been a super busy holiday season for me & I feel like I will never finish decorating, but it’s really fulfilling to see a job well done. The nice thing about gingerbread is that you can really let your creative side come out. I don’t think I could ever create one without at least some gardening elements included, it’s just too easy not to! Hopefully, you were able to get some ideas from my decorations & maybe you’ll garden up your own gingerbread house! I promise, it’s easier than it looks! Happy holidays, everyone!