Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gluten Free Cookie Swap and Gingerbread Houses

From top to bottom, left to right (GF Sugar Cookies, GF Pinoli Cookies, GF Chocolate Pudding Cookies,
GF Chocolate Peppermint Cookies, GF Coconut Macaroons, GF Vanilla Meringue)

A few years ago I hosted a Gingerbread house decorating party, like the ones my mom and her friend Sue would throw for us when we were kids.  That party was a great time, so last year I decided to throw a cookie swap instead because I didn't think I could make gingerbread houses for everyone with a busy toddler in the house.  The cookie swap was so much fun, we sat around chatting, having wine, and decorating sugar cookies.

This year I wanted to have a gluten free cookie swap, and I eventually got brave enough to produce two gluten free gingerbread houses for decorating.  The houses were intended for Ceci and her best buddy Brodie to decorate, which I knew would last about 10 minutes and then us parents got to play with all the candy.  We were able to also include the cookie swap as well, so I am left with dozens of cookies, a huge bag of candy, and a decorated gingerbread house.

Mountain of supplies to start cookie making process
I have decided I will not share or post the gingerbread recipe I used to make the houses, I was so disappointed with the result, I can't reccomend anyone else use it.  I also commited a few mistakes, so I shouldn't entirely blame the dough, but still there are easier ways.  I think next year we will go back to my strategy from 3 years ago, cardboard houses!  It's simple, sturdy and effective, just be wary of the boxes you use to create them.  You may think it's an odd suggestion, but consider, simply picking out the style of house you like, cut it out of the cardboard and hot glue it together, and you are ready to decorate.  Now to describe the gingerbread version, find a recipe, get ingredients, make dough, chill dough, roll out dough, cut out pieces, bake pieces, cool pieces, let pieces harden, reshape pieces that may have mutated during baking, make molten sugar, try not to burn yourself, race to dip pieces in molten sugar and put together, still trying not to burn yourself, try not to curse when you start breaking pieces or they don't fit together right, pray the whole thing doesn't collapse and then take a breath!  Did you get all that?  See why I'm considering revisiting the cardboard next year.  And lets face it who actually eats the house in the end, seriously, stale rock hard gingerbread?   There are a good many things I would prefer to consume before that.

That said, the houses turned out great, and so much fun to decorate, Ceci made a pretty serious attempt to decorate, I think it was only because she got to eat "Chocolate Chippies" during the process.  Sneaky little monkey!  I can't wait for next year when I can get another 2 minutes worth of decorating out of her.

For the cookie swap, abundance doesn't even begin to describe what happened!  I think the final count was 6 different types of cookies, everyone of them delicious and gluten free!  I made, coconut macaroonssugar cookies, and chocolate peppermint cookies.  Sheri brought pinoli cookies and some chocolate pudding cookies made with gf bisquick, and Marlene brought meranges.  Seriously, I'm going to be in a sugar coma when this is over.  And I'm already planning for next year, because I can't wait!