If nobody showed off, we wouldn’t have pro athletes, artists, or stunt people. The whole point of Instagram is to show off, whether it be your hot bod, hot bowl of ramen, or in my case, the demonic balls of fluff that are my cats.
There is one month of the year when cookie architects get the most attention: this one. December.
When I’m not juggling greasy bike parts, I’m mashing my oily meathooks into gingerbread dough. I design buildings nobody can inhabit, just ingest. And I am good at it.
Without further ado, I shall show off, starting with last year’s saccharine behemoth:
Any bigger and your teeth would dissolve just by looking at it. This project required 14 cups of flour, 3½ sticks of butter and 3 tablespoons of ground ginger. A kilogram of icing sugar was needed to plaster the 50 (!) pieces together.
As you can see, there were so many pieces that they needed to be laid on the floor. This project happened during my housing transition. I had already moved nearly everything into Yann’s place (now “our place”), so I had all the space to work with and no cat hair to contaminate the building within the building. The downside of tackling a massive baking undertaking like this was the rushed decorating job that took place after the house was finally assembled.
When Yann saw all the pieces on the floor, he wasn’t confident I’d be able to get the job done. Further confidence was lost when I informed him of my plans to have a floating front tower supported by stick candy. But this wasn’t my first gingerbread house.
This one, constructed in 2011, was my first:
I followed the instructions exactly as they were written. (No Allreciping it. eg. “This recipe is amazing but instead of using sugar, I used sawdust, and I substituted the cinnamon for cloves because my son hates cinnamon. He high-fived me and told me he loved me more than his dad.”)
To make it less self-involved, I got my then-boyfriend to help with the decorating. My idea of teamwork was to split the work down the middle literally. We bought $50 worth of edible decorations, the gourmet jellybeans making up the bulk of the cost. I think the right side of the roof alone was worth about $10. Going overboard with the icing sugar made the gingerbread part of the house rock-hard thus totally inedible.
2012 wasn’t a better year.
That year I didn’t use the Simply Recipes template: I dreamed up the design for this nearly windowless candy prison.
2013 took the “Less is More” approach:
Look, Santa is wearing sunglasses! The addition of Choco Claus was to distract from my obvious inexperience with the piping bag.
2014 was my Walking Dead phase. Clearly, I could not construct St. Sarah’s Church without zombie-proofing the entrance with After Eight stick spikes. The rear of the church had a stained glass window made of melted Lifesavers. A bit of cheating was done here as I used a piece of wire to hold the sour straw cross together.
To commemorate my first Christmas in Montréal, and the 39th anniversary of the 1976 Summer Olympics, I baked a cookie edition of Stade Olympique.
The elongated dome was made by forming an oval piece of dough over two upside-down bowls and then removing the bowls before baking.
When I showed my friends in Montréal my accomplishment, they questioned whether the dome collapsed. I responded, “No, it’s surprisingly sturdy.” I was unaware of how the roof of the actual stadium had caved in… more than once. Hohoho!
(Here’s a photo of the side my ex decorated. I think he did a nicer job!)
2016: new year, new boyfriend. Of course, I had to impose this tradition on Yann. The design we decided on was the Maitland home from Beetlejuice before it got the Delia Deetz treatment.
Cola balls may make great-looking rooftop trimming, but they aren’t great for eating.
I’d like to continue the tradition this Christmas. There’s no way I’d be able to make this year’s creation bigger than then Addams Family mansion, not with two fluffy beasts roaming the place, but there’s still room for improvement.
I do need ideas though. I’m not great at coming up with them, just executing them.