The Great Gingerbread House Disaster

So, I have this kind of character flaw (endearing trait?) that involves undertaking helpful and exhaustive research to assist me in my bold endeavors…but not until after I have already jumped right in and made a mess that needs fixing. 

And so it goes for my maiden attempt at gingerbread house making.

First, in my (sort of) defense, I must say that I do not hail from a gingerbread house tradition. Indeed, there were really no baking traditions of any kind in my upbringing. So, I never actually saw anyone make a gingerbread house before. And so, in my head, it seemed pretty straightforward:   make some gingerbread cookie dough, shape into the pieces to make a house, bake it, and put it together and decorate it…or, maybe decorate it and put it together?  No matter, it will be a snap (pun very much intended!)!

And here we are, my children decorating their respective house pieces

[I can't get the picture to load, but imagine a picture of cute kids loading icing and colored candies galore on a slab of house-shaped cookie]

As you can see, we opted for decorating first, as it seemed awkward, especially for my 7-year-old, to stick the frosting and candies on with the house put together. 

That was a perfectly good plan, except that then you have to assemble the pieces without touching or knocking off the decorations.  This becomes complicated when the house sides don’t balance on their own and your daughter chooses that moment to HAVE to go outside to perform some aspect of her ongoing science assignment on viewing the moon. 

Eventually, we all put our hands into the effort of holding sides up and adding frosting mortar and supporting glassware to prop up walls, but not without some casualties.

[Imagine another picture here showing a precariously assembled house base, with several frosting-glued cracks, and held up by an arrangement of glasses--but with artful candy-and-icing design yet intact.]

Sadly, the final result was something along the lines of ‘Gingerbread House After Tornado’ (see photo, above)

This did not really bother Jonah, however, as his intention all along was to feast on the profusion of cookie and frosting and multiple varieties of candy!  And even though the excess of it all kind of grosses me out, I am so happy to have been able to offer my children a cherished memory of this holiday tradition—totally gluten-free.

Oh, and that research?  I have now looked it up, and learned what I did wrong (not surprisingly, it’s mostly about waiting between steps--that pesky patience lesson rears its head again!).  And now I’m ready for next year, when amnesia will have erased the frustration memories, and it will seem like a fun and sweet idea to make a gingerbread house!