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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I regularly teach food-related classes to Pre-k, Kindergarten and 1st graders. I have been asked to produce 100 miniature (6-8") gingerbread houses for the kids to assemble &/or decorate. Anybody have input on a recipe that is durable and will withstand the assembly by said individuals? Other tips for this class more than welcome. Thanks!!
 

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Hi Jim,

I did something similar last year in Amys fifth grade class.

I used grahm crakers because I didn't have time to make gingerbread for 28 kids LOL
I made the royal icing at home and all the kids donated gum drops,dots,coconut ECT, I made 30 parchment paper pastry bags and filled them at home as to avoid a huge mess.

The kids also brought cut out card board for the base.
I got popscicle sticks to help spread the icing to.
Then we went to it..It was quite the project:D
cc
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
CC,
I never considered the graham crackers! I have been researching the recipe archives from all over the 'net and it seems that the gingerbread recipes, in quantity, are rather involved. The crackers may be worth investigating.
Thanks for the help, as usual.
 

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Jim,
Your welcome.
Maybe try it at home with your kids first.

I hope W.Debord,Momoreg and M Brown see this thread..I'm sure they as well as others can help to.
Let me know how it turns out.
Chow
cc
 

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I've done exactly what cape chef has suggested. Plus made little Xmas trees from a rice krispy treats recipe using corn flakes instead of rice krispies and tinting the marshmallows green. Roll in some sprinkles for the lights.
 

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ziplocs make great pastry bags....milk cartons are the base of the graham house....marshmellow snowmen. Have fun I always had a blast with that project
 

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Jim,

There has been discussion in the past on gingerbread houses. M. Brown had found a course for pre baked gingerbread house parts and moulds to bake the different parts.

Sugarcraft
 

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At the club I worked for, for the childrens x-mas party each got to decorate their own houses. Good solid advice: DON'T EVEN DREAM OF MAKING THEM YOURSELF FROM SCATCH!

I used to make 50 plus at a time, about 4"x6"x 10" high and it takes a while even with a double deck convection, freezer space ....blah blah. 100 for a non-pastry person= about 5 DAYS time.

Using graham crackers works great, I've done that before for ornaments. I use boxes all the time to fake houses (for show pieces), that's always the quickest method.

If you have to assemble these ahead of time I would really consider skiping the graham cracker too. By the time you frost your base and assemble 100 it's a whole day and no where to set them. Plus transport them? I would consider using something like milk cartons (Or some cheap bozes a little larger), frost them, put a couple crackers ontop for the roof and call it good or let them assemble the crackers around a box. Take a small break to let them dry before they decorate them.

At the least, you'll have to put the milk carton under your graham crackers for transportion (if you make them). Another thing I used to run into alot is children that don't understand the cookies break and they'd put too much pressure on it while decorating. Which means you can spend alot of time attempting to fix them, plus theres times when you can't fix them and you have a crying scene.

I've also had problems with paper cones. They squeeze to hard and it blows out. Lots of long storys I'll cut short: use any small baggy (zip locks are nice but cost more $) a twist tie on cheap baggies worked fine.

Also keep your color choices to a min. It takes alot of paste to color royal icing, mainly offer white. Don't use liquid colors!

If you keep your icing in a non-pourous container you can make it the day before. 1# xxxsugar, 3 whites and 1/2 tsp. tartar works perfect.

Also the rise crisp treats (made with corn flakes and green food color) are a BIG hit, and not to time consuming to make.
 

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I agree. You will be making dough, rolling, re-rolling and cutting for days, not to mention baking all those parts! Go with what's easy. All you need is white royal, and may I once again recommend the royal icing mix, for safety's sake.

Every year I do 15-20 houses, and get a bunch of people together to help decorate. I buy dozens and dozens of candies, fill aluminum half pans, and just place the pans down the center of the table. Then people can pass the pans of candy down the table, and slide the others over. It keeps things neat and organized. Although with kids, that may be a dream.

Decorations I can't live without: Necco wafers, Red Hots, M&Ms, Oreos, marshmallows, popcorn, gum, Tootsie Rolls, Pretzels.

I can't wait to hear how it goes.
 

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If you ever do this for older humans, you can buy the parts and hot glue them together and let the good people decorate them.

For the little people, I would go with the graham crackers and either powder egg white or pasturized egg white or royal icing powder for the icing. I would also go for the ziplock (store brand) for bags, they are stronger than the fold top baggies.

Gum drops, necco waffer, smarties, mini candy canes, silver balls and sprinkles.

You may also want them to eat them there. so if they don't look so good, there will be no evidance!
oooh,,,Make a big beautiful one with them helping, let them make a mini graham cracker one and take their picture next to the big one and you holding their little one with a Polaroid and put that on a construction paper candy cane with a pipe cleaner hook for their tree or door knob!

if they have to transport a house home, yikes! in a back pack, on the bus.............

good luck!:lips:

stream of conciousness...............
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The wealth of information and willingness of everybody to share that information never fails to amaze me. I posted a request for some information just this morning, and like magic I am blanketed with knowledge from some of the indutry's finest. Thank you all for the input.
I am glad that I was talked out of making all that gingerbread now, rather than once I had begun to bake it.
I will go with the milk containers and powdered royal mix. That sounds like the safest/sturdiest combo.
I will be sure to follow-up once the class is complete. Maybe Nicko will even let me post a picture or two of the classes and their projects ;)
Thanks again!! Your guys/gals are the best!
 

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This is tons of fun Jim. We love helping.

Since the houses will be smaller using graham crackers you can try to bring their focus (and time) to the area around the house that can be decorated.

Upside down sugar ice cream cones can be trees.

Pretzels make great fences and piles of logs (for your fire places), you can make the exterior of the house look like a log cabin with pretzels.

You can buy cookies shaped like teddy bears (cheaply) they can decorate and place out front.

Candy canes hold up the roof over the front door and can be made into sleds with a cracker on top.

They sell gummy candies in O shapes that make wreaths.

Dried beans make a great path/walkway to the house.

Striped gum makes great shutters for thier windows.



Candies can get pretty costly for 100 kids, so don't forget other edibles:

Dry pasta comes in interesting shapes and it's very cheap to use as decorations as well as dried legumes.

Cereals can be used, theres lots of great shapes and colors.


I might be a good idea to make a couple samples at home to free up your time so you can cirulate and help them more on that day.
 

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Or as CC said get the kids to bring in a bag of candy or garnish.
You should have parent volunteers that can arrange that shtuff...to get a good variety in.Halloween candies are going cheap in many stores still.....or I hit the discount 5 and dime....or bulk at the store to get a varied selection
 

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This is so cool....

I think I gotta get out today and bulk up to make a ginger bread house with my girls.

You guys have incredible ideas:)

I love the pretzels for logs and dried beans for the walkway!!
cc
 

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Halves hazelnut to use as rock on the chimney, or sugar cubes.

Round chocolate candy with non pareils for the roof. Or green gum pieces if looking for a log cabin look. Fruit roll ups also makess nice roof.


Gelatine sheet for windows...


How about a gingerbread replica of Notre Dame de Paris? I have the blueprint for it.


Think I'm getting carried away here.:D
 

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I could see preschoolers looking at you with blank faces when you say Notre Dame.....
Love the geletine for windows....I like melted lifesavers for stainglass.
Alot of what you do is within certain time constrants I assume...and little bodies will not sit for extended periods.
 

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Oh yeah what I learned at Ice cream camp was feed um sweets right before they go home or else hyperactivity is forecasted in an enclosed space...cruel to caregivers but a classroom reality
 

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I was afraid to post. I'm sure I'll be slammed. I would definately make real gingerbread houses. Everything in this country is going fake!!!!
I can't even imagine what it would be like to decorate a ginger house without the smell of ginger.
If you have a commercial oven it does not take that long. Design the patterns to fit 16x24. You can crank out the walls in a couple of hours and the roofs the same.
At the very least, If you can't do the houses, cut men and women for the to decorate.
I admit, we do not use the traditional recipe, but we have formulated a recipe kinda like ginger bread sugar dough that works well. Our trees and family are traditional.
Just my 2cents.
don't even ask how many villages and houses we will make!
santa:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Isa, I trust by your enthusiasm to make a replica of Note Dame, you will be assisting me. Email me and I will send you directions to Delaware:crazy:

I was planning on the following-
Pre-k decorating the pre-assembled houses
Kindergarten assembling the houses from 'kits', then decorating
1st Grade assembling the houses by selecting the pieces they need then decorating the house and surroundings.

I think the stained glass idea from melted Lifesavers will have to be reserved for the family gingerbread house rather than with the 100+ students. I would have a difficult time explaining to angry parents why their children's fingers were permanently adhered to a milk carton, their hair, clothes and books ;)
Panini, you do make me rethink the idea of making them from scratch. I want the kids to realize that they are making something rather than just assembling it. I have a few weeks to decide.
What a list of ideas for decorating.... Never would have thought about half of them! I think I will make a few examples at home utilizing different 'schemes' (i.e. roofing materials, siding, etc.)
Thank you!!!
 
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