Friday, December 04, 2009

Help! I Have Gingerbread Back!

Because I spent the day  hunched over the kitchen counter making and baking homemade (for the first time ever ... please pat me on my aching back) gingerbread for our first-ever homemade gingerbread houses.  Who knew it would be so time consuming?

I got six houses put together:

and after tomorrow they will be beautifully decked out for the holidays.

And for eating.

In the past, Santa has always left gingerbread house kits for the kids on Christmas morning. We then put them together sometime during the Twelve Days of Christmas.  This has always worked well because Santa shops the after-Christmas clearance sales, picks up three kits, and squirrels them away for the following year. Santa never wants the girls to eat those gingerbread houses though, because -- yuck -- how good could they be after sitting in my Santa's closet for a year?

But, last year, Santa struck out on the after Christmas clearance sales and there was nothing in the closet.  So this year, Santa got creative and domestic.  I suggested to Ramona that we try making delicious, edible ("We can really eat them?") homemade houses.  Then, I told her, we can just suggest to Santa that he skip the kits this year. She was all for it.

So today I baked. And assembled. And called my friend for frosting advice.  And asked Atticus, when he arrived home from work, if he came bearing wine. He hadn't.

"I thought you had some wine," he said.

"Not enough," I replied. And then made more royal frosting. Do you know how much of that stuff it takes to keep a roof on?

Tomorrow we'll add candy and other accoutrements and I'll soon report back on our progress. But for now I'm off to give my back a rest and enjoy a glass of something dry and red.


Jenny said...

I am impressed! I have never been brave enough to cook my own gingerbread for houses either. (I have made cookies once.) But, we still decorate during the 12 days of Christmas by assembling houses out of graham crackers.

I was SO excited last year to see Nabisco came out with Gingerbread-flavored graham crackers for the season! I've got my eyes peeled this year to see if they return.

Also, the trick to the icing is adding 1 tsp. cream of tartar to every cup of frosting. It makes it taste not as sweet, but it hardens great!

Thanks for sharing your "new" tradition!

Michelle Waters said...

Wow, that's some serious gingerbread baking. Very impressive!

Ron said...

I was in my 30's the first time I made real gingerbread houses. We have made them from scratch pretty well every year since then. Even though making them from scratch is quite a bit of work, it's loads of fun.

jama said...

Caught a whiff of your gingerbread on Facebook! Yum. I am totally impressed. I once made a cookie castle, but no gingerbread houses. I will be over soon to lick some of that icing on the roofs. :9

Jennifer said...

I can't believe you are attempting six gingerbread houses. I can only manage one every three years or so. I hope someone helped you with the dishes and that everyone appreciates all your hard work!

Karen Edmisten said...

Thanks, everyone, and yes, Jennifer, I think the work was much appreciated! Especially once the final results were viewed. My girls still haven't eaten theirs. They're just too pretty.

Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle said...

Ahh, feel better! I know the feeling, it happens to me quite often. Great job on the houses!
God bless and love,

Liz said...

How I admire you. The one time I tried making one of those puppies from scratch was a never to be forgotten disaster. Nothing went right. The pieces broke, nothing held together. In fact we abandoned the whole thing.

My hurting back came from decorating speculas cookies for St. Nicholas Day. However, this year I avoided the cramped hand I always get by using a paintbrush instead of the cake decorating bag.
One thing I decided in the midst of it was that decorating cookies was so much more fun when I had a little girl to do it with me. I've already announced that as soon as Luci's old enough she's getting invited to Grammy's house to decorate St. Nicholas cookies. I figure that 3 might just be old enough....