OK I said I didn’t think I’d bake anything from the rather beautiful 80 Cakes From Around the World. I also thought I would never have the patience to make a gingerbread house. And then I found myself doing both – and with a small child to boot! My last post on German gingerbread got me hankering after those houses, and the recipe in Claire Clark’s book actually looked quite do-able. With my mum’s birthday the following weekend I thought I would give it a go.
I am definitely no perfectionist on the baking decoration front, and my house is not as beautiful as Claire’s – but Munchkin and I were both extremely proud of it, so much so that he blurted it out to his Granny on the phone before we saw her 🙂 You need a fairly big quantity of gingerbread though we were left with enough for a few little cookies too. I wasn’t very exact in measuring the pieces either (there are templates in the book but I hadn’t traced them in advance and so used the tried and tested method of measuring against my hand; not the most precisely calibrated tool). That’s why our roof has a bit of a drafty gap in the top, but then with no windows the smoke needs to go somewhere, right?
I’m proud to say that Munchkin was properly involved with every stage of this bake; it’s surprisingly tractable to the assistance of a toddler. He helped to weigh out the ingredients and stir them as they melted ingredients, helped to roll out the dough, and even assisted me with the cutting. We had to leave the pieces to cool overnight, but he quality tested a small gingerbread boy (it passed). The next day he helped to make the royal icing and decorated the roof tiles with chocolate buttons while I stuck the other pieces together and propped them up with spice jars (seems appropriate, eh?!) and drinking tumblers (I suspect that there was a fair amount of unauthorised quality controlling going on at this point too). I stuck on the other sweets but he picked them out. Finally, I put the roof tiles on a few hours later, and we delivered it to Granny the next day.
This bake was so much more fun and manageable than I had expected that it might become part of our Christmastime traditions. Both Munchkin and The Scientist (and Granny, my sister, my nephew, and Granny’s dog – without the chocolate decorations, of course) are big fans of ginger cookies so it’s a bit of a winner all round. I’m still not sure I’ll be trying many of the other recipes from the book, but this one’s staying in our repertoire!