Hi! Welcome to my blog! For some reason, this nondescript entry has become one of my most popular posts of all time. I have no idea why. It’s not entirely typical of this blog. So if you think this is weird and random, click here to get to the REAL excitement. If you’re here for gingerbread-baking tips, which the blog is NOT about, well, read on. :-)
(oh, and check out my baking blog here)
It’s gingerbread time again! This is an extremely goyish thing, I know… and yet, and yet. Being at Pioneer Village last weekend, surrounded by the waft of gingery aromas in all the houses… well, we may be Jews, but we’re also Canadian, and gingerbread is a Canadian thing – NOT an Xmas thing. Especially if it’s still November while you’re doing it!
I chose an interesting pattern online, for a haunted house, but that’s okay… I like the jaunty angle of the walls, but otherwise, it looked simple enough.
(it says to print the squares to one inch – I enlarged it but mine still came out smaller… I was okay with that because it was big ENOUGH)
We mixed up my classic reliable gingerbread recipe. Naomi helped!
We took an evening walk to my mother’s house to pick up some hard candies. All she had was Ricola cough drops and some sugar-free ones. I wasn’t sure if the sugar-free ones would melt properly and/or be disgusting, but I took them anyway.
Rolled it out with a wine bottle instead of the rolling pin because I used butter and I want to keep the rolling pin pareve.
Traced and cut out the pieces (I did most of it – Naomi was dragging the knife and her pieces kept tearing, plus her “straight” lines were wonky)!
Crushed up the Ricola and sugar-free candies to place in the windows – always my favourite part of making the house AND of the finished house.
I cut out one window in the shape of a letter “N” for Naomi Rivka, and then realized it makes it look like the word NO. Scary!
Baked the pieces in two batches, and we used a l’chaim cup to cut the extra dough into “coins”. Here they all are!!! At this point, I read the kids a story, and put them to bed.
No way I’m doing burnt sugar with kids running around!
Fastest way to ruin a frying pan!
No pics of this step because I was working so quickly: glue, glue, glue, glue.
Smart-person tip from a pro! This year, I actually remembered to bring up a bunch of food tins from the basement ahead of time to prop up the pieces as they dry. With burnt-sugar, it only takes a few seconds, but in those few seconds, you will wish you had seventeen hands! Thank you, evaporated milk!!!
The gingy house looked very nice before I added the vestibule. We even made a lovely window on the house’s front panel; I forgot that it wouldn’t be visible… we ought to have done one on the vestibule instead. (doh!)
The vestibule didn’t fit properly: I had to trim the roof so it would fit snugly, and then I did too much and had to trim the walls a bit also.
And, of course, it looks kind of gross with all the sugar goobered everywhere. (you can see the colour change in the sugar between the first pieces I glued and the last ones. The main roof went on last, and it has the darkest sugar.
That chimney is weird. I should have put it a bit lower down… or maybe left it off entirely. But really, these photos are quite forgiving – it’s a bit ugly, but I’m not worried!
The true test of a gingy-house is how it lights up. This one didn’t score so well on that front, I’m afraid. Pop in two tea lights and… underwhelming.
Peering into the dark, scary vestibule…!
Oh, yeah… and here’s the original (taken from this site), just for comparison!
Nice!!! Ours is not TOO far off. And keep in mind that ours still needs to be decorated. It’ll be fabulous, I promise!
Gingies of the past:
- Past gingerbread houses: 2008, naked and decorated… can’t find last year’s but I know I made one.
- Gingerbread hamentaschen – quite yummy; they’d be good with pumpkin filling, and we gave them out for Purim with chocolate filling…
- Gingery teddy bears!
Postscript: here’s what it looked like with the decorations!