The Christmas season is upon us. Fall may be my favorite season but Christmas is my favorite holiday. For my family Christmas has always been a month long of traditions and events. The events may change from year to year, but the traditions stand fast. Several years ago, when my oldest nephew was four, we started a new tradition of putting together gingerbread houses. I wasn’t sure how my nephews would enjoy doing them, but apparently, they love it because every year they ask my sister-in-law when are we going to do Aunt Rachel houses…aww.
This is a fun tradition started by our ancestors many years ago in Germany. Many of the German Christmas desserts were made out of gingerbread. Gingerbread houses can be found as far back as the 1600s in Germany. These brightly decorated and candy covered houses really came into popularity in the early 1800s.
The first time I did a gingerbread house it was just my sister-in-law and myself. My oldest nephew was just a baby at the time. I was excited I had never made one before. I wanted the whole experience and embrace the German side of my heritage. I made the gingerbread and gathered candy…lots of candy, made icing and cut out the pieces for the house and baked them. Then we went to put them together…wait we had nothing to put it on…oops. We scrounged up something, but I will never forget the foundation for the houses after that.
This is a good reminder as to what our foundation is. We all need to be grounded but how is our foundation? Are we like unto the foolish man who built his house upon the sand? Or like the wiseman who built his house upon the rock? Which would you rather be grounded on when the rain begins to fall?
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.Matthew 7:24-27
And the as the children’s song goes so build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ. Is your life built on the Lord are you born again and following the Lord? This is the season we celebrate the birth of Jesus who came to this world to save us lowly sinners from sin and deprivation of the soul. My friend please do not let this season go by without calling out to the Lord and make him the foundation of your life.
For those of us who are saved let us not forget who our foundation. Jesus is our sure foundation. We can rejoice through this Christmas season and be thankful that we have hope in the Lord. There are those all around us who do not have this hope we can share the joyous message with the world. People are generally more open this time of the year find little ways to send the gospel to those you know. Let us all also keep our houses strong by staying in God’s Word so that we are able to stand firm when the winds and troubles blow. We serve a great Savior; we can truly say How great our joy!
From my family to yours this joyous season!
1 ½ Cups Heavy or Whipping Cream
2 ½ Cups Packed brown sugar
1 ¼ Cup Molasses
1 Tablespoon Ginger
2 Tablespoons Baking Soda
9 Cups Flour
Whip Cream. Add Sugar, Molasses, Ginger and Baking Soda. Stir for 10 Minutes Add Flour and work with hands until smooth.
The dough should remain tough and leathery you may need to chill. Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick on a floured surface.
Make patterns. You can use your imagination. Anything from a ski chalet to an Irish cottage. I just draw them on a piece of paper. Place the patterns over the dough and trace with a sharp knife. The scraps can be re-rolled. Prepare cookie sheets either a greased and floured pan or with parchment paper (this is the easiest way to get the pieces off). Brush pieces with water before baking. Bake at 300 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes or until firm to the touch. Before the pieces cool completely place the patterns over the pieces and trim if necessary. This recipe makes a lot of dough. You can make multiple houses or freeze the dough.
16 oz. Confectioners’ Sugar
3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1/3 Cup warm water
Beat together on medium speed for about 5 minutes. The mixture will be stiff so that a knife can be drawn through it leaving a clean path. Use food colorings or food-colored pastes for different colors of your choice.
The foundation can be anything from a cardboard cake base to a Styrofoam rectangle. I have used both. Stand up the front and side walls on your foundation. Use the icing to join them together inside and out. Build onto that with your other walls making sure to pipe the icing on both the inside and outside of the joined crack. Once the four walls are up secure onto the foundation by piping around the entire house both inside and out. Wait and let the icing dry before putting the roof on. Ice the top of the house on one side and attach half of the roof and then do the same on the other side. Pipe icing into where the roof forms a peak. The best part is decorating, and remember there really is no right or wrong in decorating a gingerbread house. Just have fun with it.
Rachel was born and raised in a Christian home. She was saved at a young age for which she is thankful. She has lived in Pennsylvania her whole life. She worked in a bakery for 16 years before moving on in another direction. She has enjoyed cooking and baking over the years especially those foods rich in history. She is passionate about history and the stories of those who had so little yet were able to provide meals for their families. She appreciates the ingenuity behind the recipes written by those ladies who have pioneered the trail of food preparation before us. Food is an essential part of life and there is nothing sweeter to her than sitting together and sharing a meal together with family and friends.
You are the best! A great girl, Auntie, and baker.
I love being friends with 2 generations of Jacobs ladies
Merry Christmas…love you