The December 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers' everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

I, however, did not use any of those recipes. I did not use any recipes at all, in fact, as someone else did all the baking, while I simply sat on my tuckus drinking wine and waiting to swoop in for the fun part: the decorating.

See, I was planning on blowing off this challenge, as I had already spent most of the month making candy, and was frankly a little bit baked-out. But when two of my holiday hosts, April and Will, decided to take on the hard work, I was more than willing to do my part with the application of Necco roofing tiles and frosting stucco.

April's family gingerbread recipe makes a very thin and very sturdy gingerbread, perfect for construction, and melted-sugar glue creates a practically indestructible bond between the pieces. The freshly assembled house looked gorgeous on its own, but we were soon all drawn into brainstorming decorating ideas and rearranging bits of candy here and there, even running out to the pharmacy in the middle of Christmas Day to buy more Necco wafers so that the roof's colored stripes wouldn't be interrupted. We went with a classic half-timbered look, with plenty of gumdrop trim and tinted Rice Krispie treat greenery, and even a little garden out back. Unfortunately, I failed to take a photo of the house filled with candlelight, the stained-glass window illuminated from within, and the welcoming light spilling out the tiny door.

Bonus gingerbread house: here's the gingerbread pyramid that I helped my nephews and sister-in-law with over Thanksgiving. They won Most Creative at the local Ronald McDonald House charity gingerbread competition!

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