There's nothing quite like the smell of gingerbread cookies baking, the scent of Christmas candles burning, and the festive atmosphere of a busy kitchen during the holiday season.
For many, many years my Mother and I would reserve 3-4 days in the weeks before Christmas for our annual cookie marathons. We would spend two days baking cookies and then one day packaging the cookies for our friends, loved ones, and several senior centers and nursing homes.
Every year we would select the cookies we would be baking from our list. For the most part we kept making ones that we knew were really good. Once in awhile we would add a new cookie, but it had to be exceptional to bump another cookie off the list. Sometimes we added fudge and chocolate candies that we'd made. We knew that our cookies were good - how could they not be with many, many years of experience honing our skills? As our list continued to grow we even had people asking to be put on our list. So, of course, we added them and the list continued to grow and grow.
During this period we really took over the kitchen, the dining room, the family room and the sunroom. Let's face it during our cookie marathons we basically took over the house. There were tables everywhere for cooling the cookies or cookies on cookie sheets waiting to go into the oven or tables for the bags of finished cookies. Everywhere you looked there were cookies, but the smell was irresistible.
Of course, the rest of the house had already been decorated with Christmas decorations. We'd have the Christmas music playing in the background and the moods were bright and cheery. After three days of cooking we were always tired, but that never dampened our joy or the festive atmosphere.
One year I thought it might be fun to build a gingerbread house so I bought a kit. Unfortunately we didn't have the time to fit it into our cookie marathon schedule so it went unmade. But, I always wanted to make one.
So I started collecting pictures of gingerbread houses that I loved on Pinterest like the gingerbread White House replica, shown in the picture at the top of this post, made by pastry chef Bill Yosses in 2009.
Every time I visit my Gingerbread Houses Pinterest board I fall in love with all the houses there. Each time I think I've settled on a favorite I scroll down and see another. I just can't decide.
I would still love to make a gingerbread house. If I do make one maybe some of the ones on my Pinterest board will provide me with inspiration. I'd have to make a simple one as some of the elaborate ones definitely require a great deal of skill and really are food works of art.
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