Last year, due to much crazy traveling, then packing the house (in four days!) and moving, we didn’t get around to making a from-scratch gingerbread house. We went the Wilton route, but I was a little disappointed. Ya know, because I’m like that.
This year, each of us picked one thing for our December bucket list. You can guess which item I added. The goal was to keep the list short so we actually got to everything. We’re one for three so far…
I was ambitious with the gingerbread pattern this year, despite the naysaying of SOMEONE who lives in this house. ;) I used the template from Kitchen Trials as a starting point,then made some modifications. I used these recipes for gingerbread and royal icing. They were both *excellent*. I halved the gingerbread recipe, which was *just* enough for the template pieces, without making the floor of the porch or the shutters. It was 11:30pm and shutters seemed excessive. Now, of course, I wish I’d made them. Next year! And glass for the windows! Anyway, if you half the recipe, you need to be careful to roll out your pieces to only 1/4″, so you have enough. If you’re concerned, just make the full batch. Then you’ll have extra to account for any mistakes.
The template has a lot of pieces, but the dough was so cooperative, that it didn’t matter much. The Huz rigged a third shelf in the oven, so I was able to bake three sheets at a time. The one thing to watch for was how the small pieces cook much more quickly than the big ones. This necessitated a lot of rack rotation (~15 minutes) and checking for doneness. The smallest pieces were done in about 15 minutes; the larger ones cooked for a full hour.
Once everything was dry, I did the assembly. Patience was key w/ this, since the icing on the joins needs to dry, lest everything collapse. I went brown icing this year, mostly b/c it was different. Don’t think I’ll bother w/ that next time.
Then came the good, and kid-friendly part — decorating. Mostly I think he’s into it b/c we employ a “some for the house, some for me” approach w/ the candy. ;)
And the nearly-final product looks pretty good. Apparently good enough to eat.
Now we just have the yard left to make, which will hopefully happen tonight. Oh, and we have to add the kid’s “contractors” (a gumdrop + an M&M head) to the roof. Clearly the kid has been paying attention to the goings-on around here.