one of the best things the boy brought into our marriage is a candy thermometer.
last december, ian suggested we make gingerbread houses one night. i thought – great! i’ll get graham crackers and icing and candy at the store and we’ll make some kind of lame looking “houses.” nooooot what ian had in mind. you see, in his family growing up, gingerbread houses were made completely from scratch. including special “snow” icing that creates perfect icicles from the roof and stained glass windows made from sugar and corn syrup.
i fell even more in love with the boy as i watched him use patterns his mom provided to strategically cut around our rolled out homemade gingerbread batter, carefully monitor the candy thermometer in boiling sugar, check for the firmness of peaks in the whipped “snow” and expertly drape it over the roof. the whole process took a lot of time and a lot of dish washing, but i absolutely loved the whole process and decided we are definitely doing it every christmastime!
this year it was even more of a labour of love because it necessitated a trip to the american food store on the other side of london (for the karo corn syrup and crisco shortening), but we had such a fun time on sunday baking, boiling, draping and decorating. and i still can’t get over the fact that you can make stained glass windows from sugar and corn syrup!
next year i’ll try to remember to take photos of all the steps and publish the whole recipe here, but for today here are just a few shots of our creation…
it all started like this:
and became this after we added the windows and glued it together with sugar:
and then we decorated with british candies:
and then made the snow (stiffly beaten egg whites combined with sugar heated to the “softball” stage):
and added some finishing touches! next year i want to make the yard a bit more elaborate!
can you tell by all these photos that i was pretty proud of our little cozy cottage?!
last night i bought some little electric tea lights to put inside the house so the windows glowed…
notice anything a little off about the roof of the house?…
…we tried sticking a spoon in the house to keep the roof from completely caving in, but here’s what we found when we woke up in the morning…:
and when i came home from an errand a little later on this morning…
so sad! we must have cooked the gingerbread too perfectly (gooey and moist!) – combine that with the humidity here in london compared to where this recipe has been made in the past … next year we are planning to burn it pretty bad so it’s nice and hard – haha! we’ll keep the house around for a while yet, just to enjoy all but the roof :) and then comes the boy’s favourite part – eating all the candy off!
it’s so fun to combine the family traditions we had growing up, and start new ones of our own as well. we are both pretty giddy about christmastime and our little flat that now smells so good and feels so cheery (even though the ornaments haven’t made it on the tree yet!).