From the storied fairy tale of “Hansel and Gretel” to the modern-day versions made small and large, gingerbread houses have been part of European and American culture for centuries.
On Nov. 30, the wor-ld’s largest gingerbread house, according to the Guinness World Re-cords, was made right here in Te-xas. The Te-xas A&M Traditions Club in Bryan and the St. Joseph Health System have partnered to build the world’s largest gingerbread house in order to raise funds for St. Joseph Level 2 Trauma Center.
Guinness verified the record when the house measured 39,201 square feet. To make the gingerbread, the chef and his volunteers used 1,800 pounds of butter, 2,925 pounds brown sugar, 7,200 eggs, 225 gallons of molasses, 7,200 pounds all-purpose flour, 1,080 ounces ground ginger, 720 ounces ground cinnamon and 360 ounces baking soda. For the icing they used 417 quarts of egg whites, 4,165 pounds of powdered sugar, and 125 ounces cream of tartar. To decorate the house, 2,500 pounds of assorted candy was used. Someone actually figured that, in total, the house equals nearly 36 million calories.
The house is open for viewing and Santa visits until Dec. 14. For more information visitwww.traditionsclub .
com or call 979-779-1007.
While the large scale houses are full of amazing detail, the kind we make at home with homemade gingerbread, gum drops, candy and frosting hold sentimental importance.
Riley Martine is a senior at Palestine High School and building gingerbread houses are a tradition she looks forward to every year. Her mother, LeeAnn, tried buying her the gingerbread house kits, but Riley was always more imaginative and would design a house that was completely different.
This year she built four different houses and had them ready for display by Thanksgiving. During construction the dining room table becomes a mess of frosting, candy, peanuts, gingerbread and sprinkles. When I came to photograph the completed houses, the fourth house was still under construction. The table — or should I say Riley’s design center — looked like the baking aisle of the grocery store exploded all over it.
But according to her father, the real mess comes on New Year’s Eve when the family takes the houses outside and blows them up with firecrackers.
This year, because she is a senior and the gingerbread house tradition might come to an end, her mother plans to preserve the houses. That’s good news because her houses this year have some very creative designs. She might even have some interest in pursuing architecture. It was the curved house that caught my attention and reminded me of something out of a Dr. Seuss cartoon.
Making homemade holiday treats is a great family tradition. Next week I will feature recipes for some favorites, such as brittle, bark, cookies and candy. If you have a favorite recipe for a holiday cookie or treat please send it to email@example.com. I can’t wait to hear about some of your favorite holiday baking experiences and share all the great recipes.