Thanksgiving Gingerbread Houses

I admire those who enter gingerbread competitions. And I’m not talking about the at-home with-the-family competitions; the professional competitions where they spend more money creating candy houses than I probably will on my first car. This is a newly acquired admiration for me. After spending over 20 hours in the kitchen over the last four or five days making gingerbread houses to decorate with my family for thanksgiving, I’m a bit incredulous how people pull those things off.

Making nine gingerbread houses was a heck of a lot of work. Much more work than I thought it would be. But even though my back and arm muscles got sore from rolling out 20+ pounds of dough, and I was up till 11:30 on several nights cleaning up the mess that was our kitchen, I wouldn’t change any of those details.

The idea to have a gingerbread house party/competition originated with my lamentation to Mom that I had never ever made a gingerbread house. Before I knew it, our kitchen floor was covered in pounds of flour, molasses, and powdered sugar. I thought I’d share some of the 405 pictures I took of our amazing ordeal with gingerbread.

The first batch

We made the dough on Sunday and packaged it into 15 patties to chill overnight.

The form of a house

Monday morning, it was time to make the templates for our houses. I did this lovely task while listening to an audio lecture on Friedrich Nietzsche.

Rolling it out

Then the rolling started. The dough was so thick and it took so much pressure to roll it out, my arms ached for a day afterward.

Golden houses

We soon got it down to a science and cranked out over 54 pieces of gingerbread on Monday.

After waiting for the pieces to set overnight, it was time to glue the sides together.

This actually went a little easier than I thought it would, but I still didn’t quite finish in one sitting. The rest had to wait until after my violin lesson and cavity-filling.

This is a picture of the sides of my house. My siblings claim that I cheated since I added extra detailing to my house during construction. I told them that if they had put the gingerbread houses together, then they would have been able to add windows too. I’m still glad I added “glass” windows to my house (made from crushed up Jolly Ranchers and cough drops).

All I really remember of this process is talking to my best friend on the phone, laughing at myself because my novocaine-filled-mouth made it impossible for me to talk properly. I tried to express my feeling that I sounded dorky, but it ended up “dawky” (*cough* *rabbit-trail* *cough*).

Moving on.

My windows turned out beautifully, which made me happy. Watching Dr. Who while sipping broth and snapping green beans also made me happy. Minus the green bean part (*cough*).

Wednesday was the day for our Thanksgiving get-together. I got the roofs on early so that they could harden before being loaded with sugar filled substances.

Then it was time to make more icing. (Actually, in spite of emptying three large bags of powdered sugar, I made about half as much icing as we ended up needing. But that’s what life is for–learning!)

Our kitchen was a wreck for the fourth time in three days.

But pretty icing resulted (my hands were also dyed pink and black for a while).

Gingerbread Men

Finally, the fun really began. The actual “competition” was a huge success and amazing fun. Everyone got really into it (the boys had all sorts of equipment out–think dremel tools and heat guns) and our two hours of construction flew by.

Our basement went from looking like this:

To covered in this:

The houses turned out beautifully too.

Mine--the "winning" book store

Stephen's and Emily's

Mom and Dad's

All in all, it was a success and I learned muchly in the process. But I would like a break from the kitchen for a couple of days.

{In case you would like to see more pictures, you can visit my picasa gallery:https://picasaweb.google.com/108895072307166078865/ThanksgivingGingerbreadHouses}

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