I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, December 12, 2016

Adventures in Gingerbread Land

Hi! Nope, sorry, not a fun Kringle Market post [maybe later in the week]---but instead a tale about my gingerbread house experience. Ho ho ho. [sorry.]
For many years my children and I made a gingerbread house together. Over the years we made little cottages, surf shacks, ski lodges, and a lighthouse. We had windows made of candy glass, with lights inside. But in recent years, as my kids got older, their Decembers were too busy, usually filled with exciting ski weekends and other projects. And no gingerbread house. I admit I was very sad about that.
So this year when I saw the kits at Michael's Crafts, I decided I would make my own gingerbread house.

"It will be wonderful," I told myself. "No childish teasing and bickering. No little sticky hands in  the royal icing, no garish gumdrops and candy canes!" My gingerbread house would be a work of art, all brown crispy cooky walls and white spun sugar icing. My house would be in the Swedish style, sophisticated yet adorable. Neutral, natural. I had stars in my eyes, Christmas glow in my heart.


Last week I opened the box.
I carefully drew my design on each section.

I fired up the hot glue gun and stuck the little house together.

And in the box I found a big tube of white royal icing. Yes I used it, despite years of perfecting my own recipe that has 100% success rate.
Omigosh, what a mistake! The store-bought icing was too thick to nicely flow from the pastry tip, too dry to stick on the walls---but too wet not to sag and droop.

I was out of coarse decorating sugar so I ''covered'' my flaws with white Martha Stewart glitter! Glitter fixes everything. Right? And if Martha made it...well.

Probably you can tell from the hot glue gun part that this is not an edible gingerbread house. Really, no one wants to actually eat a stale confection that has been sitting on the table for a month, gathering pug fur and dust. So glitter and hot glue are fine. (If you have your heart set on gingerbread, make a batch of little Gingerbread Boys to actually eat.)

I almost tossed it out. Then I dressed it up with  pine twigs. Is it a FAIL? I haven't decided yet. My audience here has been politely very silent.

I did find an interesting tutorial, from the White House pastry chef, of all people. Seems I should have decorated the walls and roof flat [no dripping!], waited a day for the icing to dry firm, and then put it together. Huh. Never tried that. Next time!


And here's a link to a beautiful blog, where the designer creates her own perfect village. HERE
Someday I'm going to make a gingerbread Noah's Ark. But next year I think I'll just try another little cottage.


Do you have  special family tradition for the holidays? Something you do or did with the kids or grandkids? My favorite--not a craft--was taking the kids ice skating at Rockefeller Center on the day their school let out/ half day---for the hols. Magic. Once it even snowed.



gone to the beach...

note: all the pretty houses and Rockefeller Center are from Pinterest and/ or Google images.