Christmas in July with Gingerbread and Marzipan

Gingerbread has been a highlight of Christmas for as long as I can remember. My great-grandmother decorated the piano top with her creations, and even made the local newspaper. She taught my mom how to make gingerbread houses, and my mom has made them with me and my sister throughout our lives. My first gingerbread house was Pluto’s Doghouse, and my favorite was the Hogwarts Express.

Gluten Free Gingerbread House and Marzipan
Might not have been the most helpful here 🙂

Now, before my celiac diagnosis I only knew how to bake gingerbread and chocolate chip cookies. I didn’t want to lose either of those traditions. So last year, when I was 11 months into my celiac lifestyle, I made my first gluten free gingerbread house!

No gluten, milk, eggs, safflower, tapioca, rosemary, cinnamon, or annatto. :)
Christmas 2013: No gluten, milk, eggs, safflower, tapioca, rosemary, cinnamon, or annatto. Check out a video here!

While completely edible, we never eat our gingerbread houses! They stay out for up to two months (Thanksgiving – January), so the candy would be quite stale!

To meet my celiac and allergy needs I changed  just a few ingredients from my great-grandmother’s original gingerbread recipe, such as the flour and cinnamon. In fact, my frosting contains pectin, instead of meringue. But my sister’s friend and I were the only two to eat this VERY tart treat. I’ve researched a few better testing recipes to try out this Christmas! 🎅

While I was perfectly happy with this house, I still have A LOT of gingerbread skills to develop. The one I chose to focus on while celebrating Christmas in July was marzipan. I’ve never had a homemade piece of marzipan on my gingerbread house before, so here’s my first creation!

Christmas in July with Gingerbread and Marzipan
A sneak peak in case you don’t read all the way to the end!

Now, I didn’t have a mixer, rolling pan, or anything you would traditionally expect while making my marzipan. I used my hands and made a MESS with the powdered sugar, but had a blast at the same time.

My First Batch of Marzipan

Allergens: Contains almonds. Celiac friendly, and free of the rest of the Big 8.

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of whole almonds almonds (≈ 4 cups)
  • ⅓ cup of water
  • ¼ cup of honey
  • 3¼ cup of sugar
  • 4 tbsp. corn syrup
  • More powdered sugar than I could count (more than six cups, less than 8)
  • Food coloring (optional)

Procedure

  1. Blanch the bag of almonds (≈ 4 cups).GF, DF, EF Marzipan
  2. Grind the almonds in the food processor. This is most efficiently done in batches, but place all the batches in the food processor when done.

    GF & Vegan Marzipan
    The Proud Food Processor
  3. Boil  the honey, sugar, and  water in a pan. Slowly add the sugar mixture to the ground almonds (IN THE FOOD PROCESSOR), and mix until smooth.
  4. Place in the refrigerator overnight to form “almond paste.”GF, Vegan Marzipan
  5. Add corn syrup and powdered sugar to your “almond paste.” Mix until smooth. Keep adding powdered sugar until your marzipan is of the desired consistency. GF, Vegan Marzipan
  6. Add a food dye to make color marzipan. (I used gel food coloring). Seal and refrigerate until you’re ready to use.GF, Vegan Marzipan
  7. Shape to your heart’s content. Best to keep the marzipan wrapped in saran wrap until you’re ready to use it, so it doesn’t dry out. GF, Vegan Marzipan

Tips and Tricks

  • While not finely polished, this recipe is still standing strong in my kitchen. 🙂GF, Vegan Marzipan
  • If you want the recipe for this gluten free gingerbread, check out my previous post, Gingerbread Magic.
  • Want to host a gingerbread house party?! My post, Gingerbread Decorating Party, will teach you how to make it allergy friendly for all your guests.

Finally, for my friends joining me from Fiesta Friday #24, I made you each a homemade card this week! (Doodles are one of my favorite ways to relax on the weekend). Hope you’re enjoying a little bit of Christmas in July!  

Christmas in July with Gingerbread and Marzipan

46 thoughts on “Christmas in July with Gingerbread and Marzipan

    1. Thanks, Lori! This recipe is really easy to make gluten free (minus all the candies) because you need the gingerbread to be strong, so you’re not worrying about the perfect balance of flours. Although, the dough is pretty tasty! 🙂

  1. I can see from your gingerbread, marzipan creations and your card you are a real artist. Decorations are not my forte, but I do so admire cooks who can be so creative. Thanks for bringing your talents along to Fiesta Friday – and merry Christmas in July!

    1. I have a cinnamon allergy, so I use cloves and allspice usually to get a similar taste. (I have 7 allergies and celiac disease. They’re all listed on my About Me Page 🙂 ).

      Plain spices are super easy to find gluten free; you don’t tend to get into trouble unless you’re buying a spice mix. I generally read the company policy, and I have a few favorite brands.

  2. Inspirational. I have always shied aware from cake decoration as I have two left hands. Usually I get “rolled eyes” and a hurricane level sigh from Rachel when I try it. Will give it another go as this looks “easy”

    Mac

    1. Thank you! I definitely went simple on my shapes. Molding marzipan (or clay) for that matter, is not my thing. If you give it a try, you could also use almond paste, so that you don’t have to grind all the almonds out yourself. Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

    1. I absolutely agree! My favorite part of the season. One year our family made each reindeer a stable. I had Vixen (black and red themed) and Comet (Valentine’s themed). While they weren’t “Christmas themed,” it still put me in the Christmas spirit!

  3. Kaila – you are so talented. Not only in converting traditional recipes to GF but also in creating – just look at that amazing house with such detail and those marzipan decorations are just adorable too. The card is very sweet – thank you for bringing and sharing all this creativity with us to the party – Happy Fiesta Friday!

    1. Awh, thank you so much Selma! I’m not the craftiest person, but I always put a ton of time into my gingerbread house. 😀 Happy Fiesta Friday to you as well!

    1. Thank you so much! I was definitely looking up figures that had simple shapes, and snowmen were the best!! Merry Christmas in July to you as well. 😀

  4. My family made gingerbread houses for 20 years before kids started going to college and having other plans over the holidays, you know boyfriends, vacations… I also made a gingerbread snowman out of fondant – very easy to use! Check out my gingerbread posts 🙂

    1. Very cool! I’m on year 23! But not counting the one’s before Pluto’s doghouse, I’m on year 21! I don’t think we could count the number my mom has made, she made them through college, early professional life, and with us. 🙂

      You’ve made some cool gingerbread houses. I love the upside pretzel fences on your gingerbread house too! Maybe fondant will be for 2015? 😀

  5. Okay, at first, I thought I was taken to the wrong post. I saw Christmas stuff, scrolled down and the snowmen caught my eye. Love the little snow guy. I thought, what is this? Christmas in July, heh, heh? Then, I scrolled back up and saw your title. Laughed again. I am particularly fond of snowmen. They are the only ornaments to don our tree. I wrote a post about it, I think? Anyways, love this little taste of marzipan, gingerbread and frost. Toasting you with eggnog.

    1. Christmas in July originally refers to the fact that it’s winter in the other hemisphere during the summer! I decided to use it as a test trial for marzipan this year. I’m always too busy making gingerbread to experiment during Christmas, but now that I know how to (kind of) make marzipan, I’ll definitely try again next year.

      I’ll look for the ornaments post. When I was one or two, my parents made gingerbread ornaments for a mini Christmas tree in my room. Unfortunately, our golden retriever ate them all! Can’t wait to see what you make up this upcoming holiday season. 🙂

    2. She did alright! It was 22 years ago now! And, fun fact (according to Wikipedia that is), “Since 2009, Christmas in July has been celebrated in August in some Australian communities to accommodate internationally diverse timings and calendars.”

      1. Fascinating; if you were a kid with dual citizenship and divorced parents (one on the US and one in Australia), you could celebrate Christmas 2x a year.

        Glad your dog was okay; she is still around… somewhere (I like to think anyway).

  6. This looks great. Marzipan has been off the family menu for ages because I thought it had egg (white) in it. Apparently I was deluded. thank you so much for sharing this. Happy FF.

    1. You weren’t mistaken at all! I actually have celiac disease and a bunch of food allergies (including egg). I make all my recipes to be free of my allergens, and color code the big 8 allergies (wheat, egg, milk, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, fish, and soy) on my recipe tab. This recipe contains alma’s. So marzipan does typically contain egg whites (well some varieties). Happy FF!

    1. Thanks! Gingerbread is a family tradition, so we weren’t going to let celiac disease get in the way of that! And, thanks for the nice comments about the marzipan… they’re almost in season again! 🙂

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