Around this time of year, the Web and magazines are full of picture-perfect gingerbread houses. The pair you’ll see below are a little rough around the edges, but I know Molly and Finn, along with a couple of Molly’s friends, still had fun working on them.
I knew the construction process was not nearly so simple as it would appear… During my college years, I visited a friend at her farm in western Illinois around Christmastime. One of our planned activities was to work together with Kim’s mom and one of her sisters on their annual gingerbread house extravaganza. I don’t think I’ve ever participated in such a frustrating building project! The dough has to be rolled to just the right thinness: too thick, and it may be too soft; too thin, and it will simply crack. And how to be sure everything lines up without using pattern pieces?? (That’s something I was sure to do this time ’round.) If the icing is too thick, it can tear off pieces of gingerbread; too thin, and it will just run and puddle around the base.
Molly’s been asking for years now to make a gingerbread house, and I put her off until I felt she could be of proper assistance. I wanted to help insofar as making the dough and cutting out shapes, but I wanted to hand off all the assembly work to those with more patience! So, we invited a couple of her friends and included Finn, of course, who was just as enthusiastic as everyone else to have his own candy creation.
Molly’s three-sided house (which Shane said is reminiscent of an Afghan’s mud hut) didn’t exactly follow the blueprint, but she’s pleased with it, anyway.