Gingerbread House Adventures – Part I

Friend Maureen convinced me in a less hectic-Holiday time (i.e. 2 weeks ago) to compete in a Gingerbread House Building Competition amongst all of the Wineries.  For the entire Sonoma Valley.  With the confection structures to be publicly displayed at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn.  I thought, “sure! why not? Blue ribbon all the way!”  (The Type A in me dies hard.)

With Thanksgiving behind us and several days of rain ahead, toddler Anni and I set forth today to gather ingredients to build a one-of-a kind, never to be beat, amazing, fantastic Gingerbread House.  We’re not sure yet if ‘it’ will be of this old Farmhouse or the 1900s redwood Barn.  But either way, we set out naively armed with my fancy grocery list pen (yes, I’m a nerd) and a web-recipe thoughtfully shared by Taylor, Maureen’s colleague at the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Association.

I thought, “how hard can this be?” But the lovely bakery ladies at Oliver’s Market kindly shared that today, I am an idiot.  And once I got home and looked at my motley assortment of store bought decorative details, I am now inclined to agree with them:

our Gingerbread Farmhouse 'decorations'

Mint M&Ms, a presto-kit for template in case we get stuck, green and red jelly goos surely made in China (I thought for florals and vegetation), pasty white chocolate ‘shards’, and Skittles.  Clearly, the Annadel Estate Winery entry will be intended for Santa’s cross-dressing elves.

The only thing I am fairly hopeful about is the Almond Roca (a total score on Anni’s part) which I plan to wrestle away from her and crush it into ‘gravel’ for the drive.

Apparently, a four year old’s craft-time project at Nordstrom is not for the adult faint of heart.  To build one from scratch, detailed renderings must be sketched out on parchment paper.  Once the Gingerbread dough is assembled and rolled out, the walls, roof, and other architectural elements must be cut with razor sharp precision from the dough not once, but twice.  Then there is the whole matter of the white sugary, pastry ‘glue’.  Too thin, the house will collapse.  Too thick and it will look like maxi-pads are binding your whole house together.  And that is not appetizing.

Back to Pinterest and web browsing, I go.  Wish us luck and I will keep you all posted on our adventures Gingerbreading.

 

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