Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Delightful Delectables- Mini Gingerbread Cocoa Buddies

by Maggie Kelleher

I’ve been in the Christmas spirit this week. And in combination with some free time to craft to my hearts desire, that spirit has turned into quite a fun and adorable little craft.

These tiny gingerbread houses are cute in their own right, but with strategically placed doors they are turned into mug-topping hot chocolate houses, or as I like to call them, cocoa-buddies.

I'm happy to show you how to make them, so you can impress your friends. Because who doesn't like to do that? And it took me quite a few tries to get it right, so I wanted to make sure it only takes you one. See the evolution?

Feel free to use whichever gingerbread recipe you like, but I used this one, and when rolled really thinly it made for some very structurally sound ginger-walls. 

First you make the gingerbread dough (the recipe above calls for letting the dough sit for at least 2 hours but I know you can find some that don’t with a little Google-ing). Sprinkle with flour and roll it out thinly.

All you will need is a front and back of the house, two walls, and two rooftop sides. It took me a few tries to get these to a good size, so I’ve created a pattern to make it a bit easier for you. Just print this picture out full-size on a piece of standard letter paper, and cut it to use as a stencil on the dough.

Then bake it and let it dry.

I put these together with royal icing  which pretty much turns into sugary cement when dry, which is just the ticket for a gingerbread structure (there are lots of online recipes, I used and loved one with cream of tartar). I just placed the icing in a plastic bag and cut off a tiny bit of the corner. As long as there is no air in the bag it will last (mine lasted 3+ days with the open corner folded in).

Just squeeze the icing onto the edge of the front piece of the house and hold in the wall in place until it stays. Repeat with the other wall and the back. For best results, let these pieces sit and dry for a few minutes before following up with the roof pieces.

Decorate as you wish. I used some crushed up candy cane pieces, one of which ended up shaped like a heart, which was perfect! I put it on the table in front of our Christmas tree (with some delicious hot cocoa to pair) for these fun pictures, 

And brought one to sip with my Aunt and Uncle in Vermont while looking out over the mountains.

Happy New Year's from My Grandma's of New England! 

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