It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and I’m knee-deep in the current crop of gingerbread houses. The past 30 years have seen the same flurry of flour, sugar, and spice. With luck the next 30 will too.
Remember Charlie Brown’s sister Sally? She wanted a New Philosophy — a short phrase or exclamation to demonstrate her outlook and disposition. Our November philosophy: knee-deep. Knee-deep in gingerbread, knee-deep in candy, knee-deep in icing.
As a decorating style, it doesn’t quite have the zippy ring of Coastal Casual or Scandinavian Modern, but Knee-Deep We Are.
Competing for time is the gingerbread inspiration jumping out of Pinterest, Flickr, FB, and Instagram. Amazing, really, that I can see a gingerbread house baked in Moscow before the sun itself has travelled that far. Emails whiz back and forth from a baker in Nice, France about constructing a gingerbread house robust enough to withstand the humidity and commotion of the front shop window.
Flickr was my first love (and addiction). I posted all of my gingerbread house photos under the username sassybeautimus. Unfortunately, I watermarked too late, and my un-watermarked photos pepper the internet.
I can’t complain. Mostly my gingerbread houses have been reposted for inspiration; only a very few were stolen and misused. And the Flickr photos led a publisher straight to my Inbox! What luck!
So enjoy some photos of past gingerbread houses. I want to put them out into the ether stamped with my Gingerbread Journal watermark.
… and to buy myself a little time to clear the knee-deep gingerbread detritus before I unleash the camera again!
I de-sandwiched the cookies for the roof of this house. Scrape off the filling too, and you’ll have a lighter roof with shingles that lie flat. See how the bottom row of cookies hang over the edge of the roof? Ice the backs of these with royal icing to make them stronger.
The candle and spruce brach piping pattern is one of my favorites.
This particular gingerbread house however, demonstrates a color rule that still stumps me. The roof sports soft pastels. I plastered the base with candies in bright, saturated hues. See how they overwhelm and detract from the house?
There’s another Gingerbread Rule at work here too. Use decoy candy. If children have access to a gingerbread house, things disappear. Placing oodles of decoy candy on the base prevents those little nippers from pinching sweets off the house itself.
Giving a gingerbread house as a gift? Bag up a small variety of left over candies and present it with the house. Trust me, it’s like homeowners insurance for anyone living in Candyland.
I cut and stamped the giant snowflake (bottom, center, in the snow) from pastillage with this cutter. Even easier, many stores have molded sugar snowflakes available in the cake decorating or holiday baking sections this year.
The Pez candy on the roof is a long story, and a long assembly. Bags of Pez packages went on a post-Halloween sale at 90% off. How could I pass that up? But the hours it took to use them all ……….
Marshmallow ropes make quick roof decorations. The colors match perfectly with the large confetti sprinkles pushed into icing dots along the roof beams. Dollar Tree has marshmallow ropes this year, but they’re in pale red, green, and white.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday,