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.
If you can believe it, I have never made a gingerbread house before in all my years of baking. When the December Daring Bakers challenge was announced, I hesitated for a moment. These projects always seem like too much work, especially around the holidays.
But, as a Daring Baker, I looked at the challenge in various ways. First, I would make it a Christmas day project. After all the presents are open, what's left to do? Well, this year, it was house-building.
Second, during the holidays, I always dream about being back home in New Mexico, so I figured a pueblo-style house was the next best thing.
The challenge was on.
I used the second gingerbread recipe, Y's recipe from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas. My dough turned out nice and pliable, sort of like play dough.
I placed it in a gallon-sized plastic bag, rolled it out, the placed it in the refrigerator for its overnight rest.
Architectural plans were drawn up.
The dough was cut accordingly, then baked. There was some dispute among the builders about pre-cutting the windows.
I won. And, they turned out perfectly.
For the royal icing, I used some dried pasteurized egg whites, just to be on the safe side. The final icing texture was great, and I have plenty left over to decorate the cookies that will be made from the gingerbread scraps.
Of course, there had to be a blue door with chile ristras along either side. And, don't forget the luminarias to light the night. The vigas were fun to make, too, thanks to miniature Tootsie Rolls.
The final touches were a dusting of powdered sugar and some edible white glitter.
I have to say, the house turned out better than I expected. Perhaps this will become a Christmas day tradition.
For the recipes, head on over to either Anna's or Y's blogs. For house viewing, check out the Daring Bakers' website.