As some of you may know, my parents host a huge gingerbread house-building party every year. It takes weeks to prepare for the event. All the gingerbread must be baked from scratch. When you’re planning on building 40 or 50 houses, that’s a lot of baking that needs to get done!
Since they began hosting the party (more than 10 years ago!), my dad has taken on the role of gingerbread baker extraordinaire. This year, with two extra parties to worry about (library parties! for the public!), upwards of 80 houses need to be baked. What that really means: 160 roof pieces, 160 wall pieces, 80 back pieces, and 80 front w/door pieces. Since lots of those houses are destined for my place of work, I figured the least I could do was to try and learn the trade to help out.
Today was my first solo attempt. I still have some things to figure out. My dad uses special rolling pin rings to keep the dough at an even thickness. My rolling pin is much smaller than my pans, so using the rings just kind of cut into the dough I was trying to roll out. I think it’s a matter of practice, really, but I ended up taking the rings off (as a result, a few pieces ended up much too thin, breaking when I tried to remove them from the pan).
Today’s single batch of dough yielded 8 end pieces, 8 walls, and 2 roofs. That’s not terribly good, but I think next time will definitely be better. Baking gingerbread houses is a lot like working with clay to produce pottery. You have to expect some amount of failure, but the payoff for success is huge. Not only that, but it allows you to work on the disciplines of patience and perseverance.
Here’s to continuing the spirit of thanksgiving (and just giving in general) throughout the whole holiday season.
Do you have any favorite holiday traditions? Let me know below!