The members of the Chez Melli household undertook a gingerbread house project. And let me tell you…I cannot remember the last time I was so pleased by a finished product. Curtains are nice; knitting is lovely. But ho-ly, gingerbread is where it’s at! The confirmation that our results basically ruled, was a text from my generally stoic and unimpressible brother. He used multiple exclamation points, which is just unheard of.
If you’re looking for gingerbread directions, I fully endorse the King Arthur directions. It’s an absurd length, but entirely worth it. We used these directions for both the gingerbread and royal icing. Our choice of decorations was a combo from King Arthur, our imaginations, and the intertubes.
Overall, the project took 4 days. I suspect it could be quicker, but we were trying to insure that the small person did not explode from overstimulation.
Gingerbread is easy enough. Despite being “construction gingerbread” (i.e. heavier on the flour), the dough was tasty. We mixed it up on Monday.
I’m grateful that I live with a construction genius…a man who can make templates like nobody’s business. The H-e made our house templates from some leftover cardboard, then cut out their gingerbread analogues.
The pieces baked up pretty well, if a little warped. After baking, I was skeptical that the pieces were hard enough. We ended up putting them back in the cold oven overnight, just to be sure they were hard. I expect this problem would be solved by rolling the dough thinner. Though mom pointed out that if they’re too hard, they can shatter. Luckily that wasn’t a problem.
The next and most daunting step was the assembly. Again, it’s the H-e for the win. He was able to prop up the pieces in a way that allowed me to royal ice them into submission.
After the walls dried, we added the roof. The man was marginally concerned about our warped pieces, but the icing proved to be some remarkable spackle.
That afternoon we went to the grocery to pick out *a number* of candies for decorating our masterpiece in progress. I had a mini dance party in the Meijer, as I had NO IDEA that they had a bulk candy aisle. Bulk spice drops! Bulk chewy spree! Starlight mints! And are you ready for it? NONPAREILS! I maybe went a little overboard w/ the candy purchases, but it’s not as if it will go to waste. I mean, just this morning I ate some of the left over nonpareils for breakfast.
So on Saturday afternoon we decorated, and decorated, and decorated some more. I think this guy is my favorite contribution. In a stroke of sugar-induced genius, I rolled some spice drops into Frosty. The small person was quite smitten with his mittens.
The H-e made an impossibly cool chimney (thank you very much Twizzler cherry “licorice” blocks). And the kid was unduly psyched about the gumdrop pine tree.
I’m really just giddy w/ the way this came out. I’m trying to think of a way to save it for next year, but that seems out of the question. Next year, if we start early enough, we can make a whole village! My Christmas OCD is nearly impossible to manage.