By: Lisa Turner Anderson
Publisher: Gibbs Smith
Publication Date: September 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: October 11, 2010
If you’ve ever spent hours in your kitchen around Christmas time looking depressed when the walls just collapsed on your freshly baked gingerbread house, you will smile when you browse the pages of No-Bake Gingerbread Houses for Kids. All twenty-three of the adorable abodes from the Cozy Cabin to the Pink Castle in the Clouds are made from simple ingredients ranging from graham crackers to cookies and ice cream cones. For example, when you assemble the ultra charming Cozy Cabin (my favorite), the logs are made from those oh so delicious Pepperidge Farm Mint Chocolate Pirouette cookies.
There is no baking required, but there are a few things that will have to be done by a parent or caregiver. For example, if the construction of the house calls for graham crackers, some of them need to be cut to size or “glued” together with icing to make a larger “front, back, or roof piece.” A joint project, in which there will be a lot of yummy bowl scraping, will be the preparation of a “special icing called royal icing.” There are recipes given for both an egg white royal icing (not recommended for eating due to the addition of raw egg whites) and a meringue powder royal icing. Naturally, most people would prefer to make the meringue powder recipe so they can get out those spoons! Additionally, each house will need a cardboard base for support and easy carrying. The author recommends a base that is at least 1' x 1' that is “covered with waxed paper or aluminum foil so the frosting doesn’t seep through.”
Each completed gingerbread house has been photographed as a visual guide to construction. Although many appear to be quite simple, you’ll need to possess a bit of artistic flair to decorate some of them. Each house has a list of ingredients you’ll need, including candy decorations, and step-by-step instructions are laid out in an easy to read manner. The houses that utilize graham cracker sections have visual diagrams so you will know how to cut partial pieces. There is a house to suit every fancy and taste in No-Bake Gingerbread Houses for Kids. There is the Easy Candy Cottage, Lollipop Lane, Sweetheart Cottage, Fairy Tree House, Easy Bunny House, Mermaid Palace, Cozy Cabin, Dutch Windmill, Tiki Hut, Big Red Barn, Caribbean Bungalow, Firehouse, The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, Swiss Chalet, Blue Dollhouse, Mushroom Gnome Home, Igloo, Seven Dwarfs’ Cottage, Hunted Mansion, Santa’s Castle, Dracula’s Castle, Silly Polka-Dot House, and the Pink Castle in the Clouds.
This fabulous selection of no-bake gingerbread houses will end up being a favorite holiday cookbook for years to come. Every family has its special holiday traditions and I can easily envision No-Bake Gingerbread Houses for Kids added to the “to do” list at Christmas time. The houses are gorgeous and edible (provided you use the meringue powder icing recipe). The spiral binding will allow the reader to lay the book flat while working on a project. I loved the variety offered as the author does not assume that everyone will love something like the Cozy Cabin. For example, there is the Mermaid Palace, a gingerbread house that will appeal to those who are into anything fantasy. In the back of the book is a Metric Conversion Chart (temperature conversion, volume and weight measurements).
Quill says: If you enjoy doing it up big for the holidays and would like to try your hand at some uniquely stunning gingerbread houses, No-Bake Gingerbread Houses for Kids will amaze you!