Usually, right around Christmas time, I decide to do some kind of homemade project. I did two this year, but this second one is probably something of a more difficult undertaking. The last time I made a gingerbread house, I used a kit and it came out predictably well. This year, however, I decided to make one completely from scratch. Here's the story.
When I first decided to build a gingerbread house, I knew right away that I didn't want to build a typical gingerbread house. I toyed with the idea of building a gingerbread castle, but the more I looked at other people's castles the more I began to think that such an undertaking might be very, VERY complicated (a word which here means entirely too hard, stressful and frustrating for me). Then, after a while, I got to thinking about the original gingerbread house, featured in the Grimm brothers' verison of Hansel and Gretel and I wondered how easy it would be to make a model of that house. Then, once I had a concept in mind I moved to the next step. Planning.
The planning phase of building any house usually involves a floor-plan and blueprints and my gingerbread house wasn't much different. I bought a foldable foam-core base and a piece of posterboard and began to try to figure out what my house should look like. To be technically acurate, it would need a little room in back with the witch's next meal in it. Anyway, I doodled around until I had a template. Then, I cut it out and taped it together to see if it would fit. Let me tell you, right off, here, if you are following this hoping to get some tips on cookie house building. If you choose to make your own pattern, allow at least 1/4 inch of wiggle room if some of your pieces have to fit together.
Anyway, now that I had my plan and my pattern, I went onto the internet in search of a good, first-rate recipe (which I will not be posting here because I don't know whether it was my fault or the recipes. Either way, I wasn't happy with the way the cookies turned out). Put it together and baked it. That was last night. Silly girl. You know better than to stay up until three in the morning baking cookies. Yeah, I know. So anyway, I think I may have rolled out some of the cookies too much because most of them shrunk a little.
Once I had the cookies ready, I needed icing for assembly glue and candies for decoration. I also needed something edible to make the people out of. Here's a list of the treats that made it onto this house.
- Red Hots
- Werther's original candies (they make great window panes)
- Cakemate green sugar (for grass)
- Mini-meltaway mints (the kind they sell right around Christmas time for no reason that I readily understand)
- Spice drops
- Miniature candy canes
- Round starlite mints
- Rold Gold Pretzel twists
- Ready-made commercial fondant (to be molded into the Witch and 3 kids)
Once again, the icing recipe didn't come out exactly the way I wanted it to, so no recipe here either. The upside, though, is that it did its job and stuck things together properly.
As you can see by the pictures, even though the ingredients were (in my opinionated opinion) substandard, the finished product actually turned out pretty good. My family are certainly looking forward to eating it when the time comes.
Edit: The ants got to it before we did. Ugh!