*sigh*, the holidays are coming. Which means that my non-cooking friends (who I ordinarily love to help) come rushing to me at the last minute for help in making food gifts. "I need a simple but fabulous pie for my mother in law", "I need something to impress my boyfriend that's easy" or "I need cookies for the kids to decorate".
However, the one that stumps me every year is "Can you show me how to make a gingerbread house?". Most of those who ask don't really want to eat it, they really want to decorate it. I recognize that it's more a time-consuming process than anything else...like scrapbooking. When I tell them to plan to make it over at least two days , they usually stare at me in horror then I gently suggest making sugar cookies to decorate with the little ones instead.
That being said, does anyone have a reliable recipe and pattern? In sheer self-defense, I'd like to be prepared this year... I looked online last night and found everything from four-page recipes from epicurious (with no pattern or picture) to gingerbread house Websites that are more targeted to gingerbread house competitors (did I just say that? Gingerbread house competitors?). I guess Good Housekeeping has a recipe every year, but has anyone tried these? I'd hate to recommend something that I've never made myself, but am not quite sure I'm ready to commit to making one just yet. Any help out there?