Word of the Week
Epicure (ep-eh-cure): A person who enjoys good food or drinks. The word comes from the Greek philosopher, Epicurus, who believed it was important to enjoy the good things in life.
'Tis the season to be baking. . .and decorating! What better way to do both than to build your very own gingerbread house? Sunday, December 12th is Gingerbread House Day! Now you have official weekend plans. You're welcome!
There's a lot more history behind gingerbread than you might think. Here are a few interesting facts that needed to be shared!
Gingerbread is usually made with a combination of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, and anise. It is sweetened with any combination of brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup, or honey.
An Armenian Monk, Gregory of Nicopolis, brought gingerbread to Europe in 992 and taught priests and Christians how to make it.
In the 17th century, baking gingerbread was a special profession. Only professional bakers were permitted to bake gingerbread. . .but anyone could bake it on Christmas and Easter.
Gingerbread houses originated in Germany during the 16th century. They were decorated with foil and gold leaf, and they quickly became associated with Christmas.
The fairy tale Hansel and Gretal written by the Brothers Grimm in 1812 brought a new interest (and a lot more candies) to the gingerbread house!
Another famous ginger cookie story is The Gingerbread Man, released in 1875.
The Guinness World Records crowned the largest gingerbread house award in 2015. The house was built in Bryan, Texas, and is about half the size of a tennis court! Wow!
Not too far from my part of the globe, there is a very exciting National Gingerbread House Competition held in Asheville, NC at the Omni Grove Park Inn. This year marks the 29th competition. I was fortunate enough to go a few years ago. . .and it was truly incredible. I can promise you, the gingerbread house activity I have planned for you is a much simpler version. But it's all about being creative and having a good time! Let's go for it!
I'll be honest. With all the craziness and other baking I've been up to, I thought it might be nice to simplify our creations. This week, we will be creating our very own house out of graham crackers! Simple and yummy. Here's how. . .
Graham Cracker Gingerbread House
- Graham crackers (4 per house)
- Sandwich sized Ziplock bags
- Candy to decorate
- Surface to build on (plate, tray, cutting board, etc.)
- 1 pound of powdered sugar (3-4 cups)
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
Mix the frosting ingredients together to form peaks. Pour the frosting into a Ziplock bag. Cut a small tip of the corner of the bag.
Break two whole crackers in half to make four squares.
Place the remaining two crackers on a hard surface and cut the corners off with a knife. Don't worry about perfect edges. The frosting will cover any imperfections.
Glue the house together (see picture) using the frosting.
Decorate until you're happy with your house!
Have so much fun! Until next week. . .