happy holidays from me and the daring bakers

Two years ago this month, I joined The Daring Bakers. What an amazing time I’ve had since then… every month tackling a new challenge and having a great time meeting other wonderful food bloggers along the way. This month was no exception!

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.

Considering this was my first foray into the land of gingerbread house construction, I decided to try the recipe from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book and, in a move completely out of character, got to work early in the month! It became clear pretty early on that this recipe and I were not going to get along very well… the dough was dry and crumbly — even after spending the night in the fridge — and I ended up having to add more water the next day and re-kneading the whole batch by hand. Not, by the way, my idea of a good time.

Though I didn’t have much trouble with the dough shrinking as it baked, I did have lots of issues with cracked pieces after they cooled. We spent a lot of time, and used a lot of royal icing, trying to mend the pieces back together so that we could use them.

Here’s how it all went down — mostly in pictures:

While I was busy on my side of the table …


… holding my breath and eventually meeting with success …


… my poor husband was on the other side of the table …


… using royal icing like spackle …


… trying to keep it all together …


… and reinforcing with whatever he could think of … until …


… the bittersweet end … when it all just sort of fell apart.


This is not to say my house came together without incident. It was quite a challenge starting out with almost twice as many pieces as we should have had.


But with slow determination … and with the encouragement of my husband who convinced me not to give up … we ended up with at least one (structurally flawed) gingerbread house.


Was it fun? Even in spite of the issues at every turn with the dough and baked pieces? YES.

Would I do it again? YES. But I’d use a different recipe. This one just wasn’t for me. (Visit our host’s blogs for challenge recipes if you’re interested.)


Thank you to Ana and Y for yet another fun Daring Baker adventure. I enjoyed making my first gingerbread house and I think there are definitely more in my future! To see how the rest of the gang fared, take a trip over to our blogroll and start clicking!

Happy Holidays, one and all!

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20 thoughts on “happy holidays from me and the daring bakers

  1. Jill says:

    Your houses are so cute! I love how festive and Christmas-y they look. :)
    Merry Christmas!!

  2. claire says:

    Poor husband! Looks like he had the same problems I did…no bracing could save our house! Yours looks great, though. And it was fun despite some failures!

  3. Barbara says:

    You did a super job- even if you did have problems here and there!

  4. Your house looks great! Sorry to see your husbands didn’t come together quite as easily… It was a great effort, though! I especially like how you used the candies on the roof… very cute!

  5. Rosa says:

    That is such a pretty house! perfect!

    Happy Holidays and best wishes for 2010!



  6. CHConrad says:

    That is determination! Glad you were able to make one house work. It looks fantastic!

  7. Aparna says:

    Your house looks beautiful to me. You’d never know the trouble you had patching it up if you hadn’t mentioned it.

    Success is al the more sweeter now, I guess. :)

    Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a very Happy New Year!

  8. Y says:

    Wheee! What an adorable house! I love the ‘his ‘n’ hers’ attempts, and looking at your end result, I wouldn’t have guessed you encountered any problems at all!

  9. I love how you decorated your house, it looks so perfect!! You’d never know you had difficulties with it!! Great job!

  10. I’ve always been a little bit afraid to attempt a gingerbread house. Now I know why! In the end yours looks wonderful, but if it were me, I’d have given up long before. No daring baking for me!

  11. Oh it looks cute…very beautiful one.

  12. BitterSweet says:

    Happy holidays, Michelle! Your gingerbread house is so beautiful, really professional looking. :)

  13. zorra says:

    You’re a happy girl! Great house and wonderful husband. I told my hubby also to help, he wasn’t amused. ;-)

  14. Anita says:

    I love the jubes on top of the house – very cute and festive.

  15. Michelle,
    The photo of your husband reminds me of the comment we received after completing our “Fondant the Yellow Brick Road.” A man came up to us at the Gala/competition and told me that John and I must have an unbelievable marriage to be able to work on gingerbread together for two months. Told him we’re not married, but it IS the only time of year we really do fight! You did a wonderful job on your cute house and be glad you didn’t give up. That dough was a nightmare, I agree!

  16. lisamichele says:

    LOL..My boyfriend likened royal icing to caulk. Love the photos and your GB house is gorgeous – great photos from both sides of the table :) Have a wonderful New Year!

  17. Valerie says:

    I have to say, the building of my house looked more like your husband’s than yours!

    You did a great job, and your pictures are lovely!

  18. Claire says:

    My brother helped me to build my house and I never could have done it without him – yay for teamwork!

  19. Maggie says:

    Charming house! I had quite a lot of mending to do with that recipe as well. My favorite recipe is the basic gingerbread on Martha Stewart’s site, listed under Gingerbread Snowflakes.

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