Worst Gingerbread House Ever

Worst Gingerbread House Ever

One of my favorite things about the holidays is baking with my family! Oh wait, that was a lie. I like baking, and I like my family, but good god, never at the same time. This could be seen during our recent family interaction with the Dancing Deer Bakery Gingerbread House Kit. This thing is a nightmare. Do not buy this. I will now tell you exactly why. Important preface note: The point of buying this was so my nephew (5 years old) could decorate it.

Dancing Deer Baking Company Gingerbread House Kit

Product Description:

Dancing Deer Baking Co. All Natural Pre-Baked Gingerbread House Holiday Kit is a cookie clapboard house. Eat, build, and decorate your Dancing Deer Baking Co. All Natural Pre-Baked Gingerbread House Holiday Kit...Just mix the icing and Go! Dancing Deer Baking Co. All Natural Pre-Baked Gingerbread House Holiday Kit contains over 6 dozen cookies in 4 yummy shapes - enough to cover the house and plenty for snacking. Apply the cookies directly to the box and create your gingerbread house. Dancing Deer Baking Co. bakes yummy cakes, cookies & brownies from scratch with the finest ingredients, their best ideas and nothing artificial. They are passionate about food, nature, aesthetics and community and believe that when people are happy it shows in the food.


Actual Product Review:

Okay, here we go:

Purchase product. ($17.24 on Amazon)

Okay, don’t tell the kids about the fun project yet! First you have to prep the house so that the kids can’t see the logo, design and nutritional information peeking through.

Your options:

1. Spackle the entire house with royal icing: This takes 3 coats = 3 days = you’ll have to make your own royal icing because there isn’t enough in the box. FML.

2. Go out to the garage and get a can of spray paint and spray that sucker. You can’t eat it anyway. (The product description cleverly says “eat, build and decorate!” That’s the right order because once you build, no more eating!)

Depending on which of the above options you choose, may cost additional money for the paint. (Krylon Colormaster, $6.99, Walmart.)

Okay, 3 days or $6.99 plus tax later, time to look at the ingredients. Although the product description says “4 yummy shapes” of cookies, my box has 3: squares for the roof, windows and front door (using 2 and making a ‘Dutch door’ like we used to have in the barn; rounds for the house port holes or maybe giant cobblestones; and vaguely-shaped things that might be bushes or children or I don’t know what. Blobs. It also will need a stand such as an old sheet of dirty cardboard or a clean cake round that you never want to see again. 

But don’t invite the small children yet! You have to put the roof on first. Hot glue gun is the ticket here. (Don’t have one? Senger High Temp Glue Gun, $4.89 at Target.) A fast-acting glue might also work, (Gorilla Glue $3.75 Home Depot). You know what DOESN’T WORK? Royal Icing! So glue those bastards down and let’s move on. 

If you are the stubborn type and don’t want to do hot glue or super glue, go ahead. Stick a tile on with royal icing and stand there for an hour. Then stick another one on and stand there for  another hour. Have someone pour wine for you and lift that glass with your right hand while the left is holding the damn roof tiles (Petite Petite Pinot Noir, $14.95, CVS, at least one.  Maybe two.)

Let’s FINALLY get the kids on over. Oh, wait. NO SPRINKLES. No candies of any kind in this miserable kit. Just the box that becomes the inedible house, “over 6 dozen cookies” in 3 sad shapes and a small pouch of icing mix. So, get out a chair and look up on the top shelf of the cupboard for any leftover crap from baking years ago. Stale lumps of brown sugar from a sack you didn’t close properly or Hall’s cough drops from the bathroom cabinet will work. You know what makes a very nice cobblestone walkway for your gingerbread cottage? Purina Dog Chow nuggets! (I bet dry cat food would also work nicely if you can ignore the smell.) For God’s sake, don’t spend any more money on this project, so find something around the house.

If you want decorations anyplace above ground level, you’ll need to use something to prop up the various nuggets on the sides of the house so they don’t just slide down. We found that pens and old watercolor paint brushes worked well when we taped the ends down to the table for 15 minutes or so. Or you could whip out that hot glue gun again….but, the children! Safety first!

shitty-gingerbread-house

The brats will lose interest in this miserable project in about 90 seconds, so have a movie ready to fire up and some snacks that aren’t hunks of this house. You know what? No matter how gross this thing looks or smells, the KIDS WANT TO EAT IT. You’ll need to stand guard until they go home. 

I figure this project, depending on how much stuff you have on hand, will end up costing between $65 and $300. But spending quality time with the family is priceless, right?

Now, dear reader. You would think that the story ends here. Oh no. No, no. My mother drafted a very polite Facebook message indicating to Dancing Deer that this is not a good product and that they should make improvements before next Christmas. And here is their response:

"Hi Dianna- I want to offer our sincere apologies for your disappointment with the Dancing Deer Gingerbread House Kit. One issue that you might have come across is the icing being too runny. We've seen this quite a bit this season- when mixing the icing, it is best to mix thoroughly for 7-10 minutes. Adding too much water can result in a difficult situation. Our customers have had success with this item and we wish that had been able to have a great experience as well with the Gingerbread house kit. - Again, our apologies and best wishes this holiday season!"

So, essentially a nicely crafted "Sorry you suck!"

I think at this point, it is pertinent to the conversation to mention that Dianna, my mother, is a professional pastry chef who has made countless batches of icing that actually does what it is supposed to, both from mix and otherwise. Great job, Dancing Deer. 

dancing-deer-gingerbread-house

In this blog post are some of the pictures of this monstrosity. Please note that everything you see that is not a brown cookie or white icing was dug out of the back of our cupboard. It didn't come with this kit at all. Even a pastry chef couldn't save it. So please, this holiday season, don't buy Dancing Deer. Buy that cheap-ass kit you get from Walmart. It comes with sprinkles and your kids might actually enjoy it. 

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