By Mrs. WSL
Here are some of my favorite ideas for decorating a gingerbread house, just in case “decorate gingerbread house” happens to be high on your priority list.
Chex, Crispix, and Wheat Bites cereals make great roofs. They are easy to glue on with royal icing, and though a little time intensive, look rustic and fun. You can’t go wrong lining a rooftop with starlight mints. Add some extra color by putting a heart or M&M on top of the mints. I like necco wafers, but more often than not, the colors they are available in (pastels) just don’t match the rest of the house décor, so I use them rarely.
Chimneys for your gingerbread house
Use nibs to line a chimney. Another idea is to color the gingerbread red and cut a chimney shape to apply to the side of the house. Chocolate covered Werther’s candy make realistic looking bricks. Chocolate rocks are also a good idea.
Fences for a gingerbread house
Use gingerbread to make fence slats. Line them up and pipe a frosting garland. Chocolate covered pretzels lined up make a good fence. Rows of starlight mints make festive fences. Cinnamon sticks lined up make a rustic fence. Rice krispie treats colored green look like a hedge.
Cover a sugar cone with icing and place top side down on your board. Add small nonpareils in Christmas shapes for ornaments. Make lodge pole pines by placing the sugar cone atop a log pretzel and standing it up. I like to use a star tip in my frosting bag for trees, but the leaf tip works well, too. Gum drops glued onto a sugar cone also make a festive looking tree. The great thing about trees is they will last from year to year if you can store them in a dry place.
Light up the house
If you are not planning to eat your gingerbread creation, add some lights to it. A string of regular Christmas lights (white string with white lights) can be well camouflaged against the white snow frosting of a gingerbread house. Tape the lights down to your board before you begin assembling the house and build the house over the top. The house will glow from within. String the rest of the lights around the edge of the board and hide behind a fence.
A pile of tootsie rolls (very affordable gingerbread house decorations) looks like a log pile. Add a candy corn glued to a small pretzel stick to look like an axe. You can also make reindeer from almonds (body, head), curly pretzels (for antlers), and straight pretzels (legs). I like to glue these together with hot glue so that the seams are less noticeable.
Decorating the best gingerbread houses isn’t usually a high-stress activity, but thinking of things that would work well when you’re in the middle of decorating can make it more so. Nobody wants to have to run to the store during the holidays when they’re really on a roll.
I hope these suggestions and ideas will reduce the chances of you having to step back from your gingerbread house once you’re in the groove.
PS: If you’re looking for a gingerbread house dough recipe, that link will do the trick.