Considering how much I enjoy baking, and how much I love Christmas, it’s quite strange that I’ve never baked a gingerbread house before.
I know. Weird, huh?! It’s just never something my family did when I was growing up…
This year, I decided to get in on the Ginger action that fellow food blogger Movita Beaucoup is hosting over on her blog.
Based on the badass-edness of past years entries, I could tell that I had my work cut out for me… But figured, hell, why not give it a whirl?! So, I decided to build a ginger birdhouse! Cute idea, n’est-ce pas!?
Here’s how it turned out:
Nothing fancy, really… I kept the design pretty simple because, well, this was my first gingerbread house, and I was pretty concerned about the logistical issues I would face building a ginger McMansion on my first trip to the rodeo.
But, quite frankly, my lil’ ol’ birdhouse doesn’t stand a sweet chance against some of the competitors in this year’s competition (this onehas freaking BUSHES and a wraparound porch). Still, I think mine has an understated, elegant simplicity… (ha, who am I kidding?!)
Nevertheless, in case any of you folks out there want to create a similar ginger structure, here’s how I went about it:
- I whipped up a batch of gingerbread dough, from scratch, by hand (take note, dear Santa: This is why I want a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer; my right arm muscle is now significantly larger than the left):
- While my dough was chilling, I gave my aching arm muscles a break and created my cardboard templates:
- Then, I rolled out my dough and cut out the walls and roof tiles with a paring knife:
- Once my pieces were cut out, I baked them on parchment (to keep them from sticking to the pan, and to make it easier to lift the pieces onto the pans without breaking them):
- Next came the hardest part: Sticking the whole damn thing together. I let the walls cool overnight to make sure the pieces were solid before trying to “build.” Then, I made two batches of this gingerbread “glue” (essentially icing sugar, meringue powder and water), and got to work. Setting up the walls actually wasn’t hard, but getting the roof to stay on, under the weight of the pretzel “stick” roof, was challenging, to say the least. My genius carpenter/boyfriend came up with the idea of reinforcing the roof from the inside, using “pretzel beams”:
Seemed to work! The birdhouse is still standing, four days later!
So, I know that my lil’ ol’ birdhouse certainly isn’t as impressive as some of the other entries in this year’s competition, but if you love it anyways, you really should vote for me on Movita’s blog on Thursday (there may be a gingerbread cookie or two in it for you!)