If you're like me, this time of year brings the yearning for upholding or creating family traditions such as building a holiday gingerbread house, but the reality is that there's only so much time in a day.
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Most of us were already burning our candles from both ends before they turned red and started smelling of spice and apples. Now we're just burned out.
Take a breath. You’ve got options. My family has been making a gingerbread house for the holidays since I was the age of my 11-year-old (trust me, it's been a while). And we've managed to not only stay sane, but continue speaking to each other.
We cheat. We use a kit to build out houses. Kits comes in lots of shapes and sizes, from beginner to advanced, and can be bought even on the most meager of budgets. If you can Google, you can find a kit (but we’ve done some of that legwork for you, with a list of kits; see the list on this page).
Kits basically offer the pieces to your house already baked — all you have to do is the fun part: make some icing and start decorating and making memories.
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WHERE TO FIND KITS
Wilton, Orbit, Gingerhaus and Create-a-treat kits and related accessories also are available from Amazon.com.
Makes about 3 cups
Hands on: 2 minutes
Total time: 7 minutes
Use this icing "glue" to put together a gingerbread house, or to pipe decorative designs on cakes and cookies. You can also use the recipe in the booklet inside the Wilton Meringue Powder canister.
4 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
6 to 7 tablespoons warm water
With an electric mixer using a whip attachment, whip confectioners' sugar, meringue powder and water in a bowl until incorporated, Continue beating on medium speed for 7 minutes. Keep the icing covered with a moist paper towel when not using.
Per tablespoon: 25 calories (no calories from fat), trace protein, 6 grams carbohydrates, no fiber, no fat, no cholesterol, 2 milligrams sodium.