I finally did it after months of waffling. I signed up to join the Daring Bakers Challenge although due to my inability to follow clearly explained timelines I signed up a month earlier than I should have. Oops.

It all worked out though because when I found out what the December challenge was it fit in perfectly with a baking project that the Sis wanted to tackle.

Gingerbread House.

First off let me warn you I am not an architect and Dad refused to use his skills in this dept to help us out. I think he realized how poor my construction skills were going to be. My one and only previous attempt at a gingerbread house was back in college (many many years ago) and it was a log cabin. All the skill required was rolling gingerbread into logs to be stacked into a cabin-like shape.

I decided to go with a basic house design and hoped all would go well. The Sis and I spent way too much time checking out the bulk candy section analyzing each option for it’s gingerbread house potential.

Check out our peppermint candy fence.

The Sis carefully laid our chocolate brick walkway with ‘decorative’ chocolate rock landscaping.

I’m particularly happy with how the wafer roof shingles turned out. Each wafer was split in two and glued down with royal icing.

Our snowman attempts were not as successful as the house construction. 2 attempts were made  to shape snowmen out of the white cotton candy we found (they even had black peppercorn eyes and cinnamon stick arms) but sadly the fickle nature of cotton candy proved to be it’s downfall.

Both dissolved from the moisture in the Pac NW air. Attempt #1 looked like he was trying to limbo as he melted backwards while #2 just shrank overnight.

Each window was made with poured sugar. I wanted to see if I could get a windowpane effect so I shaped foil over a baking rack and lightly oiled it. The foil was then moved to a Silpat along with the house pieces and sugar was boiled to the hard crack stage before being poured into each opening. This is where the oil proved to be a poor decision as it clouded up each window so I lost the clear glass look I was hoping for.

Not all was lost though and if you check out one last photo you can see why I wanted so many windows.

Lights!

I cut a notch out of the back piece large enough for a Christmas light cord and when the house was assembled we laid our 35 strand of yellow lights inside. Once the house was assembled we plugged it in and got the full effect of the lights. In some ways the ‘frosted’ glass makes the lights look even better since you get the glow without seeing the individual bulbs.

Next year I’m going to start planning earlier but I definitely see another gingerbread house in my baking future.

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