Includes everything you need
Christmas light-shaped candies are adorable
Cutting house pieces apart can be tricky
No candy canes
Basic colors only
I’ve baked, cut, and decorated gingerbread houses before, so I was ready for more housebuilding when the Wilton Welcome to Christmas Mini Gingerbread Village Kit arrived. I examined the contents of the box, cut apart the house pieces, and got to work building. Was it as fun as baking from scratch, or was I left wishing the gingerbread was hot from the oven? I’ll tell you all about it.
Design: Cute little houses
My inner child gave a little squeal when I opened the Wilton Welcome to Christmas Mini Gingerbread Village Kit and started taking out the pieces. The gumdrops were classic, the tiny red, white, and green balls were expected, but I kind of fell in love with the little lightbulbs that were perfect for a miniature house. The one decoration I felt was missing was a candy cane or two, but those are plentiful enough around the holidays that it should be easy to find a few spare ones to use.
I fell in love with the little lightbulbs that were perfect for a miniature house.
The kit includes gingerbread for building four different houses, from a single-elf A-frame cottage to a more luxurious home for a family of elves, and even one a three-piece roof that would provide a perfect landing pad for reindeer and a sleigh. I liked that each house was unique, but they are pretty small, so if you’re looking for a big, majestic centerpiece, this isn’t it.
Quality: Good quality for decorating and snacking
Overall, I was pleased with the quality of the kit. The cookie pieces were wrapped on cardboard for protection, and the rest of the edibles were safely packaged. The two included pastry bags were lightweight disposable plastic, but that was sufficient for decorating the four houses.
The pastry tips that came with the kit were also plastic, but strong enough for this single use and washable if someone wanted to keep them for another project. While red and white icing plus green fondant gave me the basic Christmas colors, I wouldn’t have minded a green royal icing as well, so I made some of my own when I went rogue on a second kit. And again, I felt that some candy canes or other red-and-white mint candies would have been a great addition to the kit.
Once the houses were finished, there was very little left of the kit that I wanted to keep. I tucked the plastic decorating tips away, just in case I needed them, but everything else was used up or disposable.
Setup Process: Some adult work required
Each house is baked as one piece that needs to be cut apart before assembly. The instructions suggested a sharp knife for trimming, so that’s what I used for my first cut, and I ended up with a little damage to a roof piece. The cookies are hard, which is what’s required for sturdy building and also increases the edible shelf life, but it made cutting just a little treacherous.
After my first little crack, I switched to a serrated knife and sawed through the cookies at the divisions, which worked much better. The sawing wasn’t difficult, but it should definitely be a job for adults. As I cut each house apart, I started building. It was easy to see which were roof or side pieces, but there was still some customization possible when attaching the pieces to create a slightly wider house or a larger roof overhang. I thought it was wise not to mix up the parts from different houses, although I did momentarily consider building a single condo rather than a village before I came to my senses.
The pieces are hard and made cutting just a little treacherous.
The instructions suggested that some pieces might need extra trimming for a better fit, which I found useful for roof pieces, but didn’t get too carried away. After all, corners and edges were going to be decorated with icing that would cover flaws. Besides, I understand that elves aren’t necessarily the best home-builders, and these are definitely elf-sized homes.
Assembling the houses was fairly easy, since the royal icing was the right thickness to get the pieces to stick together. If young kids are going to decorate the houses, it might be wise to let adults do the assembly well ahead of time, so the icing is completely dry and set and the houses are sturdy before little hands start playing with them.
Wilton included instructions for building and decorating (and there are also less detailed instructions online), but part of the fun is the ability to be creative. I used them as guidelines but quickly veered off to create my own village. The houses are stamped with lines for doors and windows, which is helpful for more timid decorators or those who might forget the front door.
Decorating: More icing would have been nice
While the included icing, fondant, decorations, and pastry tips were enough for the houses, I wished for just a bit more royal icing. I loved using the white icing for snow, and I also used it for construction glue. I had enough to make sure the fronts of the houses were pretty, but the sides and back didn’t get much more than basic decorating with the icing supplied in the kit.
With my second kit, I went just a little crazy. I brought out some of my own tools, whipped up green icing, and found some fun candies to add to the supplies in the kit. In the end, I had a lot of giggles with both sets, and that’s the point of the kit—to have some fun.
Flavor: Tasty but not amazing
When I first opened the box, the waft of gingerbread scent, with both ginger and cinnamon tempting me, gave me hope that the houses would actually taste good. When I accidentally broke a tiny piece off of a roof, I tasted it. While it wasn’t the best cookie I’d ever eaten, it was better than I expected from a kit that was meant more for decorating than for putting on the dessert tray. The spice flavors were obvious, with a hint of molasses. The cookies weren’t overly sweet on their own, which is great since the decorations would add more sweetness.
The flavor was better than I expected from a kit that was meant more for decorating than for putting on the dessert tray.
The gumdrops were nice, but the little balls and lights were better as decorations than a snack since they were just very hard lumps of sugar. Fondant is never all that tasty, so I wasn’t expecting much from the included green fondant. It had a light vanilla flavor, but again it was better as decoration than as a treat. I didn’t use much of it because I had a lot more fun with the royal icing, which had a slight vanilla flavor along with the expected sweetness.
I felt that the price for this kit was reasonable, considering everything you need is included. The convenience of not having to bake the cookies or make the icing is a plus, and the decorations included were cute, although I wished that the red, white, and green tiny balls could have been separated by color. The fact that this includes four houses makes it great for a family project since each family member can decorate his or her own house. For larger families, an eight-house kit is available.
Wilton Welcome to Christmas Mini Gingerbread Village Kit vs. Nordic Ware Gingerbread House Bundt Pan
I’ll fess up. I have a fondness for Bundt pans, and the Nordic Ware Gingerbread House Bundt Pan is no exception. As a competitor to the Wilton kit, the Nordic Ware pan offers the ability to create a gingerbread house completely from scratch, but with no assembly required. Just bake a cake and start decorating.
The Nordic Ware pan would be great for a soft gingerbread, but for folks who don’t like that flavor, it could just as easily be a chocolate or vanilla cake under the holiday decor. Of course, the baker would need to make his or her own icing and supply the decorations. To be honest, I like both for different reasons, aside from the craftiness. The Nordic Ware would give me a cake I’d want to eat for dessert, while the Wilton set would give me decorations that could be displayed for weeks if I didn’t plan on nibbling them.
Buy it and build it!
Run, run as fast as you can—not to catch the Gingerbread Man but to buy the Wilton Welcome to Christmas Mini Gingerbread Village Kit. While baking and building completely from scratch can be an amazing project, it’s also quite challenging; this kit makes the process much easier while still allowing for a whole lot of creativity.
- Product Name Welcome to Christmas Mini Gingerbread Village Kit
- Product Brand Wilton
- UPC 070896068316
- Price $12.67
- Material Edible gingerbread and decorations; disposable plastic decorating tips and pastry bags
- What’s Included Gingerbread cookie panels for four mini gingerbread houses, red icing, white icing, green fondant, gumdrops, candy lightbulbs, small red, white and green candy balls, two disposable plastic pastry bags, two plastic decorating tips
- Model Number 2104-6831