December 26, 2009

Daring Bakers: Gingerbread House

When I read the challenge for Daring Bakers this month, I immediately felt that lump rise in my throat. Gingerbread house? Are you kidding me? (No offense to Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemon Pi - it’s a wonderfully festive idea!) It just seemed insurmountable. I’d never made a gingerbread house. And this baby had to be gluten-free.

Over the next few days, after I had time to digest the challenge and do a little research, I felt ready to tackle it. I looked around and found this pattern. Seemed simple enough to handle. And after researching gluten-free gingerbread, I decided on this recipe. I did choose regular butter instead of the margarine, I used more rice flour instead of the millet flour (I didn’t have millet flour on hand), and I opted to refrigerate the dough for several hours before rolling it out. I was so glad I did, because even rolling it out while chilled proved to be a test of patience. The dough was quite sticky and seemed to absorb a lot of rice flour – I kept dusting my board and rolling pin over and over, only to roll it out and have my cut pieces stick. When they didn’t stick, they came off of the board misshapen and I’d have to start over. It took me a while, but I did successfully roll and cut out two houses’ worth. Thankfully I had extras.

Once baked, they did warp a bit. No issues – I got out my knife and made cuts to make them fit. Easy peasy, or so I thought. I broke some pieces – and ended up with just enough pieces for one house. But they still didn’t fit together perfectly.

All in all, the house was a success – even if the sides didn’t fit together. (I’m so thankful for royal icing - it’ll stick any of those big gaps together!) I chose gluten-free candies (Dots, M&Ms, Sixlets, Hot Tamales, and Nerds) to decorate, and used Glutino pretzels for the roof. I wasn’t perfectly happy with it – but it was finished. The following day, my parents stopped by and I tried to show it off gain some sympathetic approval, and my husband mentioned to them that he’d never heard so many curse words come from the kitchen as when I was working on that house. Whoops. Guess my secret’s out!

What would I do differently next time? I might find a different recipe for the dough – but I have also since seen that there are molds for gingerbread houses. I think if I was to make one again, I’d definitely find some of these. Maybe that’s cheating, not sure! I just know it was quite an undertaking for me to finish this house!

All in all, I’m glad I participated in this challenge. Going beyond my comfort zone – that’s what it’s all about, right?

29 Responses to “Daring Bakers: Gingerbread House”

  1. I’m sorry it wasn’t a smooth event, but it looks wonderful! Congrats on your first challenge (I hope you love the next one even more!).

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  3. Looks very pretty!

  4. It’s adorable!! I know that the patterns are a bit daunting but I think that’s part of the fun. It really is all about going beyond our comfort zones – it feels good, doesn’t it? Congrats!!!!

  5. Sounds like quite an adventure! Bravo for doing this – I built a Gingerbread Train the other day with Brian and had many instances of cursing even though it was a Premade KIT!!! Looks adorable and now you have the experience to build another one next year!

  6. How cute, and very impressive for gluten-free! Nice work on the challenge. :)

    Happy holidays!

  7. You did an excellent job! I know it wasn’t the easiest challenge, but that’s where the word “challenge” comes from. ;) I just want to skip up that sugary walkway!

  8. I’m impressed with your house! The idea of making a gingerbread house (with or without gluten) intimidates me, but maybe one year I’ll give it a shot.

  9. I completely freaked out when I saw this challenge and decided, nah, lol!! You did AWESOME and incredible that you got through it! Looks so cute, my kids would love it!!

  10. Beautiful and very very clever….so adorable…and I wish I had some little ones around again :) brought back nice memories! thanks

  11. You did a lovely job! I love the pretzel roof! kathyvegas

  12. Great job…loved the cross and the snowman..
    http://forkbootsandapalette.wordpress.com

  13. Alta–You did a lovely job! It’s fun to see all the different materials that folks use to accomplish the same results. :-)

    Shirley

  14. Looks great. Maybe next year I’ll probably try and make one. But then I’ll have to try and not eat the cookies first.

  15. That looks fantastic. You were still able to build a gingerbread house that is gluten-free. My hats off to you. :D

  16. MERRY CHRISTMAS, Alta! Congrats… you did a great job on this. Looks perfect! I think I should give it a try too some other time! However, hope you’ve a wonderful time on this festive season. Cheers.
    Best wishes, Kristy

  17. I would never guess this was your first! That is a crazy hard challenge, imo.

  18. After months of getting all my Daring Bakers challenges done, I have sort of fallen off the wagon completely. Really wish I had made the gingerbread house now, yours looks amazing!

  19. that is such a great gingerbread house, I love the decorations! so adorable

  20. Awesome, awesome, awesome!!

    Merry Christmas! :o)

  21. Gorgeous house and congratulations on your first challenge, especially since you had to make it gluten-free as well! I love the decorations, especially on the roof. It looks fab. :)

  22. Alta, Your gingerbread house is lovely! My kids begged me to make one with them this year but I just didn’t get to it. I suppose I could still do it in January!

    Happy Holidays! -Ali :)

  23. wow that house came out beautiful!

  24. I’m following some many blogs and most of them did this month challenge. This seems a lot of labour. Yours is superb. I’ll do this next Christmas with my friends.

  25. I love your brave snowman, standing out in the sun :D

    Great path too! And don’t worry about the swearing, I think it is part of being a daring baker ;)

  26. So cute!!! I love it!

  27. just like a small version of the house in hansel and gretel..but its look yummy.

  28. very nice blog :D

  29. Pingback: Gingerbread Men Recipe — The Culinary Life

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