Monday, December 23, 2013

Ginger-fail house. Yes!

How to begin this post?  How about . . . 
I believe in planning for failure.
or this . . . 
Two years ago, K-daughter and I made a gingerbread house together.  
Wherever this story begins, K-daughter has asked that making a gingerbread house be "our tradition", and so ever since that first Christmas together, it has been.  We use a lovely cast-iron mold that I got as a gift long ago.  But every year, we scratch our heads wondering whether we're supposed to use the gingerbread cake recipe or the gingerbread cookie recipe.  And that quandary comes even before the intricacies of assembling a structure that uses only icing to glue the walls and roof together.  

This year, when the sticky-note advent calendar declared it was Gingerbread Day, I decided to not only learn from my mistakes, but also (here's the difference) to remember what the mistakes would be.  I diligently wrote in my favorite recipe book that we were using a doubled version of the cake recipe this year.

 . . . And . . . it was a disaster.  As my husband said, it looked like an IED hit the house.  

None of the pieces came out of the mold easily, and even the few that came out in one piece didn't look very "house"ish.  Sigh.  I guess we used to use the cookie recipe.  Now I'll know.

We decided to cook the remaining cake batter in a plain old bread pan.  We thought we might make a gingerbread apartment.  Or a gingerbread hut.  But then, K-daughter got creative.
See the drawbridge coming out of the front?  She was so delighted with the castle that emerged that she took pictures and sent them to her friends as we worked.
What a palace!  If you look carefully, you can see a candle in a window turret.
As for the ginger-fail pieces, we broke them up into cookie-sized bits, decorated them, and sent them off with the boys to their church youth group party.
This ought to be enough sugar to keep a whole roomful of teenagers wired all evening!
K-daughter and I decided we actually prefer the loaf-pan method to our mold-and-assemble method, and that next year we're going to make several loaves so each kid can decorate his or her own building/castle/car/rocket ship.

We also decided to keep the mold anyway, for K-daughter's future household.  She said, "I don't want my family to be all about the gift stuff.  I want it to be about traditions."  So we put the mold in a special place just for her and whoever someday joins her.  Make me proud, kiddo!

Huzzah for creative kids!


  1. That is awesome. I love the middle tower!

  2. Yes, what N&M said. I was thinking to myself, "no! no! I know the answer is cookies!" Glad to see I was mistaken!

  3. I absolutely love making the holiday about traditions and not presents. My husband and I talk a lot about that in regards to our future kids. We really want them to value experiences and to be open and active. It also helps that we have a small apartment without a bigger one in sight, so we won't have room for lots of stuff.