These days we have oodles of outlets to show our creativity, humor and cleverness, particularly with the online tools at our fingertips. As much as I like manipulated photos, videos, Instagrams, Snapchats and the like, I get a particular kick out of the old-fashioned media. Gingerbread houses come to mind this time of year. When I read the December edition of Southern Living over Thanksgiving weekend, I ran across this stunner, a replica of the Southern Living 2013 Idea House.
I wondered if a few of my favorite gingerbread structures were coming on the market this season. Here is The Gracious Posse guide to visiting, buying and baking the confectionary charmers.
In RVA, the grandaddy of all gingerbread structures resides at The Jefferson Hotel.
Feast your eyes. I yearn for the digital day when fragrance can be delivered via the Internet because I wish you could smell the heady aroma of sugar: just like a cup of hot chocolate and warm cookies in your hands. Take in the sleigh’s detail.
When my son was in Lower School at St. Christopher’s, the Winter Wonderland festival held a gingerbread house competition. Families outdid themselves with hilarious and stately houses alike. How I do wish I had photos of those! The competition is still alive, and below are some of the entrants.
Do you think activities like these spark children to grow up and become professional bakers?
Years ago a friend delivered a lavish gingerbread house constructed locally by the The Mixing Bowl Bakery. I crossed my fingers the recession hadn’t set back the bakery’s gingerbread housing market, and, to my delight, they’re still building houses. They come in two sizes: small ($50) and large ($65). Lucky for me there was one of each at the bakery when I visited.
Now, are you thinking, “I’d like to try my hand at making a gingerbread house”? dNz still makes one by herself to be reminded of the fun she had with her daughters when they made one together. She even replicates their child-like touch.
To get started you can purchase a kit, like these from Amazon.com.
Do you fancy an adorable train kit?
Perhaps a traditional model suits you best.
Or, you can make your own from scratch. My daughters and I made a few when they were younger using this recipe from Epicurious.com. I made my own simple templates.
If you are not up to the design task, look to a Gingerbread House Mold for help.
Maybe the house is too much; try this Wilton Pre-baked Gingerbread Tree Kit.
Here’s a good idea for a GNO – a gingerbread house decorating party! The host contractor provides the candies and “cement”; guest subcontractors bring their prefabbed house parts. Start your permit planning for next year. Maybe we’ll have a Gracious Posse Tour of Gingerbread Homes. HOHOHO!
p.s. Just before press time alert reader, kMg scooped me on a Richmond Times-Dispatch article in Sunday’s paper regarding a fundraiser in Salem, Virginia. $1 per vote cast for the best gingerbread house entrant in the contest helped raise money for the Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce’s foundation and its scholarship program. Sounds like Habitat Housing for the gingerbread set. Click on the photo below to read more.