This post sponsored by Krusteaz. Thoughts, awkward humor and ideas are mine.
Recipe up front!
2 ½ cups Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake mix
¾ cups Brown Sugar
2 TBSP oil
2 TBSP Molasses (optional)
1 TBSP Ginger
1 TBSP Cinnamon
1 Tsp Vanilla
½ Tsp allspice
1 ½ Cups Cold Water
Mix all ingredients. Let sit for 2 minutes. Pour into heated and oiled waffle iron, cook until browned.
Let cool and construct gingerbread house. Top with fresh fruit and whipped cream.
I grew up building gingerbread houses with my cousins. We weren’t very fancy when we did it. It was always with graham crackers, chalky candy from the bulk section, and the cheapest frosting available. The part that always bothered me was that I’d spend all this time on a gingerbread house covered in candy only to not eat it. What’s the point?!
When this dawned on me, I had my first genius idea. My cousins and I realized that when the adults weren’t looking, you could sneak as much candy as you could into the main house. Ours would be filled to the brim. This strategy, like all children’s strategies, was eventually found out and our days of squirrel-like candy savings came to an end.
Oh, Christmas candy stash, we hardly knew ye.
But I have now had my second genius idea.
Eat the Gingerbread House
I’m an impulsive person and my impulses, heart, head, and innards all agree—we should be eating these gingerbread houses. But gone are the days of untasty, stiff, and Necco-ridden gingerbread houses—meet the waffle gingerbread house.
We have discovered a method of quick home-building that also ends in a satisfied stomach and a quelled sweet tooth. Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake mix makes it simple to whip up a bunch of easy-to-construct interlocking and delicious structures.
The point of these structures isn’t permanence. The goal is to:
This is also my method at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Let’s start with the recipe process!
Gingerbread Waffle Batter
Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix just needs a few extra ingredients to build a structure that would make even the most experienced elf jealous. You need these waffles to be a bit more firm and to get the depth of flavor you expect from gingerbread.
To get the waffles firm enough for structure assembly, make sure to add extra sugar and extra Krusteaz mix to the batter so they bake a bit more rigidly. The extra sugar will help them caramelize when they hit the heat and the mix will help the liquid in the batter evaporate off faster. If it’s still not exactly where you want it, cook the waffles just a smidge longer than you normally would.
Remember, these are to play with, so they don’t need to be perfect.
These waffles aren’t meant to be crispy forever, so construction should start precisely three minutes after removal from the waffle iron! Sure, you can be a few seconds off—if absolutely necessary.
Depth of Flavor
When you take a look at my recipe for the batter, your reaction is probably going to be that it’s a lot of spices. I experimented over and over with this balance and I can say confidently not to worry. Cooking in the waffle iron mellows out the spices dramatically. If you want yours to have even more punch—get even more aggressive with your spices.
I also made sure to include molasses in my recipe. Molasses has such an incredible depth and maturity to it, but I know that not everyone has it lying around their kitchen. This recipe is just fine without it so don’t worry about it! I just happened to have some molasses from another recipe I attempted like 6 years ago. Did I check the expiration date? Of course not! Yay!
As you finish baking each waffle, have an assistant cut out every other square on two of the edges. This took me a while to figure out, but you learn a thing or two when your grandma only has Lincoln Logs for you to play with when you visit her house. These gaps allow you to interlock the waffles and keep them from collapsing.
Plus, everyone will admire your gorgeously intricate dovetailed corners—ah, true workmanship!
I also made an a-frame house and it was surprisingly sturdy! Highly recommend, besides, a-frames are ridiculously cute. If you go the route of a square home, I recommend putting a small square dish in the center of everyone’s plate that they can use as an interior support.
Next comes the whipped cream! Now this is going to go against your gingerbread house training, but whipped cream won’t work in holding the structure together like icing. Think of it as an accent. Like in all your favorite annually-released cable Christmas movies, you’ve got to cover those eaves, edges, and everything else with some snow.
And just like those mediocre Christmas movies, lots of festive snow can cover up the blemishes of small budgets and low production value from even your worst participant.
I know this isn’t what you’re used to, but let’s be honest, you aren’t going to miss that flavorless and rock hard icing you could easily chip a tooth on. Avoid the dental bill. Use whipped cream!
Now take a bunch of yummy berries and bring life to your cute waffle house. You can really get a lot of interesting textures, shapes, and colors here. Blueberries, strawberries, pomegranate seeds, or kiwis! Replace those bulk candy purchases with some vitamin-packed, naturally sweet fruit.
It’s really fun to see what your participants can come up with! It’s even more fun to judge them.
It’s fun to judge things. Judge Judy does it. Your aunt does it at Thanksgiving dinner. You even do it while receiving your holiday greeting cards. Why not do more judging?!
Now that everyone has their structures ready to go. Have everyone slide in their vote on a piece of paper. There can only be one winner.
Okay, that’s how I wanted to do it, but to be fair to my kids, we have to do something more like:
- Most delicious looking
- Most mysterious
- Most structurally unsound
- Most likely to house a reindeer
That way everyone can win—even when you know that your own is the best.
At this point in the competition, the houses may be questioning the foundation they were built on and possibly also their own existence. Best to put things out of their misery when they get to this stage.
You must eat them all.
Rip into your gingerbread house like your favorite Hannukah latkes! Tear into your waffle gingerbread houses like a present on Christmas morning! Eat every last bit as you rewrite the awful stale gingerbread house tradition inherited from your parents with your own. It feels good to do it your way.
And I’ve got to say, my gingerbread house was delicious.
I hope yours are too!