The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

I can’t explain how awesome it feels to actually feel good about a challenge! This month was so hectic for us, but I couldn’t wait to bake and assemble this house! It took two tries to get the dough right, but in the end it was worth the extra effort.

We used Anna’s recipe, which came from Good Housekeeping. The first time we made it, it came out very dry — so dry that we couldn’t even roll it out — and cracked apart. We ended up tossing it and starting from scratch (18 cups of flour later), making a few changes based on the comments from other Daring Bakers’ (thanks guys!).

Dry Gingerbread Dough

The new batch of dough came out much better. We chilled it, rolled it out, cut out the pieces using a haunted Halloween template and baked it off. They came out perfect. They were a good texture — not too hard, not too soft. Some of the pieces expanded during baking, but nothing we couldn’t work with during assembly.

Gingerbread Pieces, Pre-Baking

After a day of baking, we left the pieces overnight and assembled and decorated the next day. Even though it was stressful putting the house together (I was terrified it was going to fall apart!), it was such a blast! We’re totally doing this every year from now on!

The House Coming Together

The House, Pre-Decorated

Without Billy’s help, I probably would have failed miserably at this. Maybe in a prior lifetime he was a contractor or something, but he rocked at putting this thing together and piping the royal icing! It was a total blast building and decorating the house from start to finish, and I think it will be a family tradition from now on. Plus, I think for our first ever shot at a gingerbread house we did a pretty good job!

Our House!

Decoration Detail

Decoration Detail (Again)

Recipe Link: Spicy Gingerbread