After last year's gingerbread fiasco, I was dreading breaking out the molasses this holiday season. First of all, molasses is pretty disgusting, and I can't believe that people used to use it as if it were sugar. I would rather sweeten my hotcakes with garlic than molasses, but no matter. I began the process this year by sketching what I wanted to build, and I was ambitious! A gingerbread house is so time consuming and nerve-wracking in construction that it seems a waste to build just one paltry house. So I set out to make a whole block. Of course, this was in the throes of my pneumonia, so I had to make a few attempts at the design, as I kept crawling back into bed.
Finally, thanks to Azithromycin, I was able to get at my mixer and make the dough. As always, I used Martha Stewart's recipe, which results in gingerbread so strong and durable that it will break your teeth if you try to eat it, and usually break your mixer as well. The dough took a couple of days to make - so many walls! I had forgotten that the fumes from baking gingerbread (again, vile molasses) give my husband a massive headache for two days, so in total we had two days of baking and four days of headaches. But we had the walls!
I added windows using the melted candy method, and made some lovely stained glass using Jolly Ranchers. Ordinarily, I am an advocate of using marshmallow Fluff to hold the thing together, but it took forever to dry. As it turns out, Martha's "Royal Icing Glue" when made with too much confectioner's sugar, is better. It dries really quickly and is super strong. It made the process so easy that I only threatened once that my kids better enjoy this because it was the last gingerbread house we were making.
So how did it turn out? See for yourself:
Children eating candy that is meant for the houses.
My son was recruited to hold the walls while the Fluff dried.
Walls kept falling down. You can tell by the sour expression on my face that this is when I threatened to never do this again.
Daughter helping out by eating gingerbread men.
Finished! Note the hairdryer on the floor which was used to dry the Fluff.
O little town of gingerbread...
24 Gumdrop Lane
Not sure what this building is supposed to be. A mosque?
Next door to the mosque... the First Church of The Grateful Dead?
Mike Bloomberbread lives here.