Have you ever read the book Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne? There is a section in there that talks about open ended toys and how they encourage our children to use their imaginations more. So a cloth doll verses barbies, wooden blocks verses a superhero lego set. The possibilities on how those cloth dolls or wooden blocks can be used are limitless. Whereas the superhero lego set is based more on the superhero storyline and the possibilities are more limited.
Anyway, I have always loved the idea of making gingerbread houses but as ridiculous as it may sound, I never even thought of making one from scratch. And because my family is gluten free and vegan, well? I have never seen a prepackaged and ready one that we could indulge in. We have certainly made a few houses at get togethers and I would bring my kids their own candy to snack on while building but not the full experience, you know?
Well the other day I had an aha moment. While shopping at our local co-op I grabbed a few of our favorite organic treats and later that afternoon while the kids were running around outside I whipped up an oat flour gingerbread cookie dough. Just as I was about to cut traditional squares to replicate traditional gingerbread houses I paused. Instead, I split the dough into four and rolled each one into a ball. I called the kids in and let them have at it.
Instantly they all had a solid plan and every single one was so unique. It was really one of those magical parenting moments because it went from being an activity with limitations and directions to one completely open to their imaginations.
We all got to work rolling and cutting, measuring and more cutting. We baked the gingerbread to a crisp and let it cool overnight. The next afternoon everyone brought their idea to life.
My daughter crafted a barn, my 6 year old son a teepee, my 3 year old a dugout and my 1 year old and I loved the teepee so much we hopped on that idea.
- 2 1/2 c. Oat flour
- 2/3 c. Arrowroot starch
- Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger powder to liking
- 1/3 c. Oil (I used avocado oil)
- 2 TBSP Cold water
- 2 Flax Eggs (2 TBSP flax meal + 5 TBSP water)
- 1/2 c. Coconut sugar
- 1/4 c. Pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- Preheat oven to 350’
- Prepare flax eggs in a big mixing bowl and set aside while you gather all your ingredients.
- I am a one bowl, make it work lady. So add everything to the flax egg.
- Knead on a oat floured surface until desired texture. I put wax paper down.
- Split into however many pieces you need (I have four kids so I split it into four).
- Let everyone go to town. The only thing I recommend is having the dough be about 1/4 inch thick although if my child had a vision of it being thicker or thinner I would just follow their lead.
- When the pieces are all cut place on a baking sheet. I had a spill-mat on mine.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. You want it hard but not burned.
- Let cool and prepare your glue.
Frosting Glue Ingredients:
- One bag of organic powdered sugar (mine was 16oz.)
- Cold water
- Pour the powdered sugar into your big dirty mixing bowl that you used for your dough.
- Stir while slowly adding water. I think I used a little more than 1/4 c. You want it to be the consistency of Elmer's glue. If it gets too thin on accident you can add arrowroot starch to thicken it back up.
Now for the fun!!! Assemble it all and add whatever decorative toppings you want. We used a few organic candies, beans and rolled oats.
Have so much fun. It will be messy but worth it. The whole idea is that there is no wrong way. I would love to see your creations. Tag me on Instagram if you make one.