Browse through your supermarket’s cereal and candy aisles. You’ll find plenty of inspiration for decorating your gingerbread house, yard and accessories. Here are some ideas to give you a start. Stepping stones: Vanilla wafers, licorice pieces or candy of your choice for stepping stones Shutters for windows: Pretzel sticks or wafer cookies Roof shingles: Necco Wafers or mini shredded wheat cereal (use sugar-coated shredded wheat cereal for snow effect). Use royal icing to attach. Start from bottom edge of roof and overlap roofing material, working your way to peak of roof. Fence: White chocolate or chocolate covered small pretzel twists Brick: Red licorice bites Porch pillars: Peppermint sticks Chimney: Cocoa-flavored corn puff cereal, multi-colored cereal pieces, caramel and/or chocolate covered popcorn pieces, chocolate covered raisins, held in place by royal icing “mortar” Snowman: Marshmallows or royal icing balls Sled/toboggan: Small strip of fruit roll-up for wooden slats attached with royal icing to pretzel sticks used for sled runners Evergreens trees: - Use ice cream cones as the base for evergreen trees. Using a decorating bag filled with green-tinted royal icing and a star tip, pipe elongated stars one layer at a time beginning at the bottom of the tree. Continue piping star layers until you reach the top of the tree. - For easy evergreen trees, use a small spatula to cover ice cream cones with green-tinted icing, using the spatula to gently pull icing out slightly to form tree branches. For Christmas tree lights, use a decorating bag filled with tinted royal icing and a round tip to pipe dots on the tree, or sprinkle with fruit-flavored sweetened rice cereal. - For a larger tree, stack 2 cones together, attaching them with royal icing. Decorate as described above. - For small tree, trim bottom of cone. Decorate as described above. - Dab a small amount of white royal icing on tree branches for a snow effect. Shrubs or bushes: Green spearmint leaves jelly-type candy Porch steps: Wafer or any rectangular cookies Icicles: With a decorating bag filled with untinted royal icing and small round tip, pipe small icicles from house and porch roof. Gumdrops, starlight mints, mini marshmallows, red hots candy, and various colors of licorice pieces all make decorative additions. Royal Icing: Make sure all bowls and utensils are completely free of grease. Icing will break down with even a drop of grease in the mixture. Keep icing covered with a damp cloth to prevent drying while assembling and decorating gingerbread house.Prepare additional batches of Royal Icing for tinting. Divide icing among small bowls. Tint with McCormick® Food Color of your choice for decorations.For ease in decorating, use disposable decorating bags and decorating tips.Use round tip for piping light strings and/or garland.Use round tip and desired McCormick® Food Color to pipe holiday lights.Use a star tip or leaf tip to make wreaths. Pipe wreaths on waxed paper and let harden completely before attaching to house.Use leaf tip, round tip, or basketweave tip to create bows or ribbons.Place gingerbread house on a sturdy base, such as a board or baking sheet, to support the finished house.Place base and gingerbread house on a lazy Susan for ease in turning the house when decorating.Windows:
- For precise placement of windows, cut out window templates and place on unbaked gingerbread. Lightly score around template with a small knife, outlining window. Baked gingerbread will retain faint score marks. - Thin yellow-tinted royal icing with small amount of water and paint windows. Let dry, then paint on curtains with thinned royal icing tinted with your choice of food color. - Pipe window pane divisions with untinted icing in decorating bag using a small round decorating tip.