That’s what erotica writer Jane Black (check out her bittersweet and very hot story of sexual awakening on Clean Sheets this week--it's a good one!) told me when I described this year’s gingerbread house project. What makes this year’s special is a little experiment of mine, inspired by a recipe for stained glass cookies. I decided to melt some butterscotch disks and see if they might make nice windows for a gingerbread abode. And in fact, this leap of creativity paid off nicely. Note the golden glow emanating from the edible edifice—the perfect touch of tingly warmth for the long December nights.
Again I’m reminded of the refreshingly uncomplicated response this kind of creativity inspires. The compliments abound and they seem totally sincere. Maybe that’s because no one else is crazy enough to spend so much time on gingerbread houses? I mean, there are professional pastry chefs who do it for display in hotels or other public places. They’re definitely hardcore, but it’s their full time job and they get paid for it, the dominatrices of the genre. And then there are those kits of pre-baked pieces you glue together with icing and let the kids decorate. It’s a great idea, but, well, a little too soft and wimpy to turn me on.
I won’t lie to you. This little cottage looks simple and charming enough, but it took me hours to draw the pattern, bake the pieces, assemble and decorate. An absurd amount of time, really. There’s no doubt it’s like a short story. You want it to look seamless and self-contained. No sweat, doubts or swear words ever disgraced its conception. But they lurk just the same in the secret history of the smooth, finished piece. If those gingerbread walls could talk!
Anyway, I think Jane has a point, but I certainly wasn’t as hardcore this year as when I spent weeks on “Holiday Inn,” pictured above. That was definitely hardcore. But maybe this year it would be better to call me “mediumcore.” You know, vanilla, but made with fresh vanilla beans and organic cream, topped with homemade hot fudge and fresh, toasted pecans with a glace cherry on top?
What do you think? (Slack-jawed admiration of the magical wonder of my gingerbread house is shamelessly accepted).
A Note for Insane Gingerbread Architects: The windows are an easy trick to tuck in your bag. Just place two butterscotch candies together on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until melted and spreading, then smooth with a spoon, if necessary (it may not be). Lift them from the paper after about a minute with a spatula and cool on a rack. Glue them to the inside of the windows with royal icing and voila!