Notice the little gingerbread person in the caboose and her luggage made by my eight year old
There it is in all its glory. Please note the big eyed gingerbread man or woman, made by the 3-year-old. I am also fond of the coal car stuffed full of marshmallows and candy. That is a serious haul of candy just in the coal car.
I know it's over the top. I know there is no real symmetry of design. I was there when it was created. This year I decided that I didn't need to spend money on a dinky little gingerbread kit. We are growing up in the gingerbread creations department. I could totally do this. We could have more for the same cost. And so I did it myself, from homemade gingerbread to completion. It was a long process that stretched itself out over the course of 3 days. Gingerbread needs some chill time and then it takes a while to cut and cook all the pieces. Of course, I had some helpers in the last phases. Their creativity with candy knows no bounds. Now I am going to share the link to both the recipes for the gingerbread (which turned out great) and the pattern (it turns out much bigger than you think). Both came from my favorite place for kid friendly crafts, Family Fun.
A few notes:
A key ingredient to gingerbread is Molasses. You will need a lot. Stock up, it keeps forever (almost)
However if you run short on molasses, you can substitute up to half the molasses with honey.
I actually used raw egg whites in my icing. There was no meringue powder to be found at my grocery store of choice today. I did however buy the pasteurized egg whites, for safety.
Royal icing recipes always do well with a little cream of tartar. I don't know why, they just do.
Shop for the cheapest candy. I didn't spend over a dollar per bag. And, as you can see, we had plenty. Plenty! Candy canes, skittles and gumdrops are an absolute must!
My grand total $12.00. I did have to borrow a little molasses from my neighbor but I had the rest of the gingerbread and icing ingredients in my pantry.