How’s your year going? Yeah. I hear ya. I don’t think I’ve been the only one in a braindead, uncreative funk. What, with a pandemic to worry about and all. BUT – December 2020! It’s frigging Christmas again! So here we are, keeping to ourselves, with provincial health protocols banning social gatherings of any kind, inside or outside – and we’ve got a gingerbread house or three to bake, build and decorate. It was a weekend long project – but what else is there to do!? It’s kind of the best time to upgrade your ginge-b making skills!
I’ve been wanting to try the whole “melted Jolly Rancher candies as stained glass windows” effect for years. Last year I bought the candies, made the dough … but was so pooped out by the holiday season the dang houses never got made, let alone the cool candy windows. The Jolly Ranchers ended up being little power pellets on our long, solitary daily walks through the Spring Covid months. Teddy’s tongue would be blue or green or purple, but at least we got to see cherry blossoms and get fresh air, hehe.
Is that a gingerbread house door with a gumdrop doorknob just lying there strewn in some sugary snow? It sure is. BUT LOOK AT THOSE WINDOWS! It’s as simple as can be – before you bake your house, punch out windows in your gingerbread house panels. After you’ve done your initial baking of your gingerbread house pieces, drop a few candies into each window hole and bake at 375 degrees for around three to six minutes – the candy melts, fills the hole and … WINDOW PARTY! Let cool completely before assembling your house.
Now onto Rich’s amazing little Hospital on Fire gingerbread house! He did a LOT of windows, which I recommend, because the effect is shiny and cool. (Did I mention Jolly Rancher windows? Haha). One tip: make sure you have a big enough entrance way (door, archway) somewhere on your house to easily insert those little battery powered flickering tealight candles. Or, jam a bunch of fairy lights into the gingerbread house holes like I did for these photos.
Okay, on to Teddy’s ADORABLE gingerbread house! He had the idea to make a sugar moat around the house with gummy fish floating in the water (leftover Halloween candy, yay!). We turned to the internet to teach us how to turn regular old white sugar blue – super duper easy. Dump a few cups of white sugar into a zip top plastic bag. Squeeze a drop or two of blue gel food colouring into the bag, seal it up – then gently knead the colouring into the sugar. Took about two minutes to turn blue.
We have a very exciting plan for these houses. We are going to… eat them. Throw on a Christmas movie, each sit with our houses in our laps… chomp chomp. I’m an idiot for not adding any caramel M&M’s or much candy to my house. No, I won’t eat my plastic horse. I asked Teddy how many days it would take him to eat his house. He said three. I don’t think I’ll be able to get through too much of mine, but – CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE.
I got the delightful gingerbread recipe AND templates from my awesome friend Erin Gardner from her book Procrastibaking! The book is absolutely jammed with so many delicious easy recipes, and it’s kinda the perfect book to bake through during these stay-at-home-and-gain-pandemic-weight times. She loves crunchy sweet and salty peanutty caramelly things like me, and I’ve dog-eared the whole darn book. Isn’t her gingerbread house ADORABLE!? Honestly, staring at my ginge house is bringing me some quiet joy. Like, yesterday I just tripped out on the house, staring at it dreamily, imagining I was in some Bavarian Christmas Fantasy on a brisk but pleasant evening.
I’m not sure if I’ll get around to posting anything else before 2020 is over but my other Christmas plan is to make a pretty rippin’ Buche De Noël – found this recipe that looks like a blast! If I happen to photograph my buche I’ll post it. Otherwise, I am wishing you all health, happiness and peace through this holiday season, and into 2021. xo Lyndsay