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One way to make me cry – create elaborate plans that fall apart. Literally.

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

Making a gingerbread house was already on my list of things to do, so I was really excited to see the December challenge. I looked through tons of images of houses to get inspiration, and while the standard seemed to be the “kit” shape, I wanted to do something different, and created a template from scratch.

First, I modeled it in Sims2.

Gingerbread House model

Then I drew it on paper, made measurements, and cut out template pieces. I also taped the template pieces together to make sure my measurements were correct.

Making the dough was easy. A lot of people on the Daring Bakers forums said the recipe provided (from Good Housekeeping) was bad and their dough was too dry. I took this into consideration and made sure to do the scoop-and-sweep method of measuring my flour, using a half-cup measure. My dough turned out perfect, and after the initial chill I didn’t need to put it back in the fridge before cutting or baking.

Gingerbread House

It cooled really hard, which made me happy considering I needed to build with it. But the next day, I suppose because I stored them in plastic bins, the pieces had softened a lot. Good for eating, not building. I set to work decorating anyway, hoping it would dry out.

Gingerbread House

Now came assembly … which was my downfall. I tried using the sugar syrup as suggested, but it dried too quickly to be able to spread it on pieces that were too long to dip into the saucepan. And then despite my planning the pieces weren’t matching up. AND the large piece I had made for a floor (so I could have a porch and stone foundation) was too soft so it was bending in many places. I stuck in some Jolly Ranchers to provide support and that worked well enough. Now… I probably should have waited longer before I moved on to the rest of the house, but I carried on and started to stick on the walls. Went fine, with some reapplication here and there. But then I went right to the roof pieces. Let’s just say that it all went in the pot from there.

Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House

After a bit of a cry and a long sleep I went ahead and decided to make the house again, this time without my little porch and stone foundation.

Gingerbread House

Hey look, I was able to complete it!

Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House

I never want to see royal icing again.

OK, maybe just until next Christmas.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

13 Comments

  1. I think you did just great! I’ve never made a gingerbread house or any sort of structure before — only cookies. I haven’t even used a kit to make them so in my eyes you are brave to try and to share your adventure with us.

  2. Awww *hugs*
    You had such a great plan!
    You house still looks great though!
    I too never, ever want to see royal icing again! Ever, ever, ever.

  3. I’m so glad you stayed with it! I love the shape of your house–it’s fantastic! Your windows look really good! 🙂
    Merry Christmas!!

  4. Wow! You put so much effort and planning into this challenge and it definitely shows. Your gingerbread house looks perfect… way to go 🙂 Keep up the amazing bakes

  5. Hahaha, I love that you planned your house out in the Sims first! That’s brilliant! I’m sorry your raised foundation didn’t work out, it looked like such a brilliant idea but your house turned out gorgeous anyway.

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