upping the ante: gingerbread house 2013

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…

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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.

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 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.

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 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. ;)

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And the nearly-final product looks pretty good.  Apparently good enough to eat.

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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.