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?