If you enjoy every aspect of the holidays, including baking and decorating with the kids, you have probably made a gingerbread house or two. Hopefully, all your work became a thing of Christmas beauty, but if it eventually became a Christmas Eve snack, here’s the bad news.
Gingerbread House Recipes
If you don’t have a recipe handed down from Grandma, you can find Gingerbread House recipes and directions for construction here on Food Network, Simply Recipes, Texascooking.com, and Allrecipes.com. Each recipe varies slightly and you have unlimited choices for the finishing candy décor, but one thing is common; those cute, little colorful cottages are better left uneaten if you worry about having sexy thighs!
Calories and Other Nutritional Facts
The ingredients for a gingerbread house are similar to any cake: fattening butter, brown sugar, eggs, flour, and confectioners’ sugar, but this cute little Christmas cottage has lots of extra sugar that adds to the total calorie and carbohydrate count. In fact, the core structure is more than ¾ carbs, with most of the remainder comprised of fat.
Using the recipe on allrecipes.com and the calorie database on the Calorie Count website, I calculated the total damage the basic gingerbread house can have on your diet. Calorie Count’s final analysis of the recipe gives it a low “C” nutritional grade, and the following nutritional breakdown:
-10,868 Total Calories
-153.5 grams of fat
-91.4 grams of saturated fat
-738 mg of cholesterol
-1,568 mg of sodium
-2,356 grams of carbohydrates
-12.1 grams of fiber
-1,994.6 grams of sugars
-73.9 grams of protein
Gingerbread Finishing Touches
Of course, the bad news doesn’t end with the basic structure of the gingerbread house! Once you’ve gotten through the assembly, the fun part starts as you’ll add the icing and candy decorations.
Gingerbread House Icing: The icing for a gingerbread house “glues” decorations onto the house, therefore it contains raw egg whites in the icing. The Food Network website provides an important warning about the raw eggs used in creating gingerbread house icing. They, “suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.”
Gingerbread House Candy Decorations: Here’s just my estimate of the other goodies you might add to your gingerbread house and the calories that they would add.
4 Ice Cream Sugar Cones as trees -50 calories each = 200
20 Life savers – 10 calories each = 200
30 – ½-inch gumdrops – 13 calories each = 390
9 Hershey’s kisses – 200 calories for 9 kisses = 200
10 – 2 ½-inch Candy Canes – 11 calories each = 110
60 – Necco Wafers – 16 calories for 3 wafers = 320
½ cup Plain M&M’s – 1,023 calories for a cup = 511
14 Jelly Beans – 150 calories for 14 pieces = 150
20 Gummy Bears – 87 calories for 10 = 174
2 Teaspoons Disney Fairy Dust – 20 calories for ¼ teaspoon = 160 calories
3 Teaspoons Rainbow Sprinkles – 20 calories for 1 teaspoon or 1 gram = 60 calories
Adding all these candies in the amounts listed (which I’m sure is a conservative estimate) would add a whopping 2,400 calories of almost pure sugar to the already staggering calorie count!
Sorry to be the little elf that delivers all this bad news, and before you tag me a bah-humbug for the holidays, I hope you’ll accept this sugary information in the spirit of its intent. Making a gingerbread house for Christmas can be a fun family project and tradition, but before you decide to start dismantling it candy by candy and popping chunks into your mouth, think about what all that extra sugar and calories might mean to your family’s health.
Build the gingerbread house of your dreams with your kids this holiday season and sit it on the table in the front foyer, but don’t use it as a centerpiece on the kitchen table. And if you can’t resist a bite of gingerbread house every once in a while, you better treat those nibbles like a dessert if you want to fit into that slinky dress on New Year’s Eve!
Calorie Count Website
Texas Cooking Online