Daniel and I have an awesome holiday tradition of building a different gingerbread creation every year. Basically the only rule is that there can’t be any repeats of a theme, so half the fun is coming up with what we are going to build.
Our previous years’ creations:
- 2003: A classic house. It was just Daniel and me putting it together and we had NO idea what we were doing, so the house was gigantic, the gingerbread extremely thick, and it wound up being a huge chore to eat up! It was our first Christmas together: we started dating a few months beforehand and Daniel came to visit me right after Christmas for a few days before heading back up to UCSB.
- 2004-2005: Sadly, we did not make gingerbreads during these two years.
- 2006: A dinosaur. This guy was pretty cool, though the gingerbread was a little clove-heavy.
- 2007: Pirate shipwreck, complete with Teddy Graham carnage, and a treasure trove of gummy root beer bottles, Gushers, and Nerds. This was the first year that our friends and family got involved in the decorating, and they’ve been excited to participate each year since. Picture in the gallery below.
- 2008: Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster Gingerbread Man: A huge gingerbread man, appropriately assembled in pieces because it was so large it wouldn’t fit all on one cookie sheet.
- 2009: Gingerbread of Amontillado: One of my favorites. A stop-motion animation we created as we helped the Montresor gingerbread man assemble gingerbread bricks into a wall that immured the poor Fortunato gingerbread man.
- 2010: Meta-Gingerbread: We made a gingerbread oven with a jolly-rancher glass viewing window that had tiny gingerbread men inside. Look out, one’s trying to escape! Picture in the gallery below.
Which brings us to 2011 (which, due to my laziness, is “last year” already, even though it was only two weeks ago). We made gingerbread turtles!
The recipe we used was the very tasty Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I have learned to roll out this and all the other gingerbread doughs much thinner than I think I need to (like a heavy 1/8″), in order for the pieces not to bake up so horribly thick that they’re a chore to eat.
We draped circles of dough over six small Pyrex ramekins and two Corelle cereal bowls, forming the excess dough into protrusions that could be later formed into heads, legs, tails, etc. Pro tip: in addition to greasing the bowls, we should have first covered them in foil, since the dough stuck fast and we couldn’t remove the gingerbread from the bowls.
Despite this one setback, decorating the turtles was tons of fun. Bryan and Tania joined us one day to decorate some tiny turtles, and then Daniel and Donna did round 2 on Christmas day. Please enjoy these photos of the finished turtles!