Temporary insanity. That would be my excuse for such a long silence in middle of the most food-centric time of the year, if I didn’t have one screw loose in the first place. As it is, I have no excuse, other than palate fatigue after sampling a few too many Christmas cookies, and the general exhaustion that follows so many baking marathons. I had such grand plans for the holidays, so many more posts to make, but instead of pushing myself to the brink of collapse to make all those anxiety-provoking deadlines, I gave myself the gift of letting go. Just a few days of silence, a couple extra hours of sleep; small things that make such a huge difference.
Although this month’s Daring Baker challenge almost slipped through my fingers entirely, I summoned up the last of my energy to pull something, anything, together.
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.
Initially plotting one giant, elaborate Victorian house, complete with sugar windows and a wrap-around porch, just figuring out the basic foundation had me sweating bullets. I’m no architect, and it became abundantly clear that I would need to scale way back. Way, way back, down to the tiniest structure possible.
Much nicer for creating a little scene and giving everyone their own house to enjoy, it was a relief to make a few tiny gingerbread house nuggets instead. Shaping the dough like modeling clay, it was just a matter of making a very long rope, flattening the sides and cutting it into rectangles, then forming long triangles and pressing them on top. Bake until lightly brown, cool, and stick into some snowy white frosting atop of a cupcake. To ensure a pure, glistening white base, I made a marshmallow frosting to crown my cinnamon cupcakes, completing the scene with some chopped walnut stepping stones and a small pinch of coarse white sugar and dragees for sparkle. Plus,a practically microscopic dragee snowman that felt absolutely necessary to complete the scene, adorned with chocolate features.
Not my most extravagant or exciting effort, but just enough to feel a touch of the holiday spirit, even in my state of extreme weariness. Here’s hoping that everyone out there can take it easy now, and have a sweet winter holiday!