While I was growing up, most people said that the best holiday was Christmas. I can only assume that the reason for this blatant LIE was the copious amounts of presents that children would receive on this particular occasion, as opposed to the infiltration of holiday-themed songs in every public location during the entire month or the abundance of fruitcake–quite possibly the worst dessert ever invented. Although I don’t actually celebrate Christmas, I do think that the holiday has a few redeeming qualities. One is mistletoe, because well, who wouldn’t love a parasite that encourages random make outs? But my favoritest thing about Christmas is decorating gingerbread houses! Michael’s craft store actually sells a vegan-by-default gingerbread house kit, which I took advantage of last year since they went on sale for 99 cent just before New Years. However, I didn’t actually want to eat it after enjoying its beauty for a few weeks, because although it was vegan, it definitely wasn’t organic and probably wasn’t very delicious either.
Earlier this year, I was browsing a website filled with 3D printer blueprints, deciding on what fun things I could ask David to print for me when I found this. I’m not sure who to credit for this brilliant idea (spindle_dev?), but I’m pretty sure they had my things-Robin-would-wish-for-if-she-knew-they-existed list in their possession when inventing it. I’ve been slowly transitioning my beliefs (mainly after years of hanging out with Pamela) that everything is cuter when it’s been minified (except for dogs), so naturally, I couldn’t wait to make these. I knew I had to at least wait until December, but in order to pass the time more quickly, I gave myself an appetizer task of making invitations to send to friends in hopes that they might like to join in on the gingerbread dollhouse decorating as well.
I used a recipe from the PETA website to make the gingerbread and the glue (icing). Here are all the walls ready to go into the oven (pictured with the cookie cutter from the 3D printer).
And here they are after coming out of the oven.
The 3D printer blueprint only produced a cookie cutter for one of the 3 pieces needed for this project, so I had to improvise with paper templates for the other 2. If I hadn’t been on a deadline (and was smarter), then this method might have worked. However, I wasn’t using my skills learned in woodshop class and therefore, there may have been a requirement for the gingerbread house construction workers to partake in some slight nibbling of 2 of the 4 walls while building their dollhouses. Nobody seemed to mind this task, with the exception of Josipa who seemed to think her nibbling-stopping willpower didn’t stand a chance against the deliciousness of the gingerbread. We were all very proud of her for stopping before hers turned into a 2D gingerbread house, and for being the first builderette to produce a completed house! Her superior construction skills were no surprise, since she’s the only one who actually owns a house and power tools and builds things (trellises, raised garden beds, etc.)
Somehow Jessica (@jessicaspacekat) managed to take a lot of these pictures (although I may have also stolen a few from Instagram), while simultaneously making a super cute heart-shingled gingerbread mughouse. Here’s what a mughouse looks like before it’s decorated.
The gingerbread dolls living in this mughouse probably thought they were undergoing some sort of a natural disaster, but in actuality, Jessica just likes to dunk her biscuits and cookies into tea before eating them. I didn’t think she would appreciate me posting the picture I took of her biting into the dollhouse, but it kinda reminded me of a sexier version of the rockbiter from neverending story.
Our other event photographer was Jocelyn. Jocelyn (@jocelyntran) was quite qualified for this job, because she has experience in taking pictures of food for her food blog. She started off by showing you all the vegan decorations we were able to find for decorating these mini gingerbread houses.
All these wilton brand glitters and sparkles are vegan by default.
Everything made by BioVegan is amazing, but you have to go to Berlin to buy them (or get someone who likes you a lot to smuggle them back for you when they visit).
And here are some other random sprinkles that are vegan. These wilton ones and the little black balls are the only sprinkles I can find by Wilton that are vegan. If anyone knows of other tiny candies or sprinkles that are vegan that aren’t pictured here, please send me links!
Luckily for me and Emily, who were experiencing contruction catastrophes, Jocelyn came up with the brilliant plan of decorating her roof pieces before attaching them to the house! She’s so smart!
Although Emily’s first house experienced an earthquake that registered 485760843085 on the Richter scale, her perserverance paid off. She learned some new tricks on roof construction before building her second house, and it came out beautifully! Not to our surprise, her gingerbread house was the dollhouse version of her very own hearts club cabin.
Another resident of the hearts club cabin not only volunteered her adorable home for this activity, but she also decorated a cute mini gingerbread sidecar house, while being an amazing hostess (even though she may have not so secretly wanted to be in bed).
Somehow Jenn managed to escape the cameras and phones for the entirety of the day, so hers will not be displayed individually, but she made some amazing vegan brownies with walnuts to make up for it!
We had a visit by yet another Jessica (@jlsuttles) because one Jessica is never really enough, is it? Not only did she make the only burtonesque gingerbread dollhouse, but she also made the best looking and most structurally sound one. I was shocked at how amazing her mini gingerbread house looked and held up, considering she has never made one before (gothic or otherwise). If there had been prizes at this event, she would have gone home with more than just her gingerbread dollhouse.
We thought she might be done, but why be done when you can add mooooooore blaaaack.
Jessica was also accompanied by the lovely Justine who came all the way to SF from Ohio just to make her very first gingerbread house. There’s a possibility she may have been visiting for other reasons as well, but let’s be honest, when you make it to adulthood without ever having made a gingerbread house, do any other reasons even count?
Here’s a quick overview of the construction process of one of these cute little homes.
You start with 4 walls and 2 roof pieces.
Then you glue the walls together. I advise cutting the smallest hole you can possibly cut in the (icing) glue baggie without the use of a magnifying glass.
(Wearing tights that match the rug isn’t a requirement.)
Here is what it might look like once built, but not yet decorated.
To decorate, just add (icing) glue to any spot where you want to glue decorations.
Here is the majority of the construction crew featured with our vegan gingerbread dollhouse sidecar mughouse neighborhood.