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.
Gingerbread houses are straight from the pages of Hansel & Gretel. I loved the idea of them as a child, although I am sure that I wouldn't have eaten them because I only became a gingerbread lover as a grownup. Also, I would have been terrified lest the wicked witch imprisoned me!
I had never made a gingerbread house before this challenge - in fact, my Donna Hay gingerbread house came after the Daring Bakers house, because the guy who bought the Daring Bakers house at a charity auction had an unfortunate incident where black ants got into the Daring Bakers house - so I made him a new one using a different recipe.
I used Y's Scandinavian gingerbread recipe - I kind of liked the woodgrain look it gave to the house. I obtained my template from this link, provided by Audax.
I used my learnings from making the Daring Bakers house to make the second house even better. While making the Daring Bakers house, I learned:
(a) Don't stick any candies on the house until it is constructed - they weigh down the pieces making them harder to stand, and make it difficult to get can/glasses etc flush against the walls to hold them up while the icing "glue" dries.
(b) Make sure that you leave a few hours in between putting up the walls and sticking on the roof, otherwise the whole thing goes skewiff.
The recipes given to us for Daring Bakers suggested sticking the house together with syrup, but I thought it was a safer bet to use the usual royal icing for construction.
Without further ado, here are the pieces of my house:
(I changed my mind about piping the roof tiles - it looked odd):
And here is the assembled house:
I used musk sticks, silver cachous, fruit jubes and Skittles:
Despite the slant to the walls, I kind of liked this house:
Sticking the candy cane on the back of the house BEFORE putting the house together was a mistake, as it made the back wall heavy and resilient to standing straight, and prevented me from propping it up well while it dried. I ended up taking it off and sticking it on again later:
There are some amazing gingerbread houses constructed by the Daring Bakers - do go visit them at the Daring Bakers blogroll between 23 and 27 December.
Hope you all had a merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you all!!