Icing on the Cake Merit Badge, Expert Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,602 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—7,898 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life  

For this week’s Farm Kitchen/Icing on the Cake Expert Level Merit Badge, I was inspired by my local gingerbread house auction and contest.

Okay. So it was a little bit of a stretch … from cake to gingerbread house … but I knew my fellow farmgirls were behind me. Yeah, I wasn’t making a butter cake from scratch, but all the decorating I was going to do was going to make up for it.

And how.

The great thing about gingerbread houses is how long they stay fresh, and how early you can start the decorating process. Example: I started my house two weeks before the contest and auction. I mean, it’s not like anyone is going to eat it anyway, right? It’s for gazing at in awe and admiration, not for snacking. We aren’t Hansel and Gretel, people.

Of course, should anyone want to snack upon my house, they’d be met with delicious flavors, I assure you. Licorice whips, candy buttons, peppermints, gummy bears, powdered sugar, mini marshmallows, gumdrops, sugar cubes, lollipops, red hots, jelly beans … well, this list is somewhat endless. Being a farmgirl, I really tried to limit my junk food and went with plenty of locally made candy, dye-free alternatives, and healthy options, like pretzels and shredded wheat.

I realized about three days in that gingerbread-house decorating is a lot like having a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. They become rather addicting. As in, I’ll just finish this one stained glass window and then I’ll use the bathroom, or One more tree and then I’ll eat breakfast. If you don’t have boundaries, girls, you’re gonna end up with a slight bladder infection and expired, uneaten breakfast foods. Helpful hint from me to you: Know when to walk away from the golden glow of the frosting-tinted roofs and caramel-studded window panes.

I was going to bed with not only visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, but also visions of jellied fruit slices, Skittles, shredded coconut, and cotton candy. Willie Wonka had taken over my dreams. I was getting toothaches and I hadn’t even been pinching the inventory!

I needed a break. Mr. Wonderful obligingly took away my gingerbread house for the night so I wouldn’t be tempted to ice some more, or frost something. I printed out a list of emergency numbers for him in case something happened to my sweet baby, and I tried to go to bed early. I got up the next morning and treated myself to a nice breakfast and didn’t even call to check in (though I wanted to).

Seeing my beautiful house after a little bit of an absence was just what I had needed. With renewed vigor, I placed the very last silver non-pareil atop the gingerbread roof, and together, Mr. Wonderful and I loaded it up into the car.

He drove like a geriatric snail by my request, and we made it to the auction and contest just in time.

Did I win? Did anyone buy my sweet baby?

Well, Second Runner Up isn’t too bad, and let’s just say Mr. Wonderful came with spending money.

Munch munch.

Leave a comment 2 Comments

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Gingerbread houses are always the perfect Christmas confection. They can be done in all sizes and shapes and as elaborate as you wish. I remember, when I was homeroom mother for my daughter’s kindergarten, we did graham cracker base gingerbread houses with the children so that each child had a mini gingerbread house. As you might imagine, the room was a flurry of icing and candies, and questions, and excitement. The little houses turned out so cute and the students were very proud. I wonder if any of them made it home on the bus that afternoon! They were all pretty tempting with all that icing and candy stuck on them!

  2. One of my most bittersweet Christmas memories was the first year I was away from home. My mother made me a homemade gingerbread house and mailed it . Well, you guessed it , it arrived a pile of crumbs and I was weeping. But I never told my mother, but found it hard to describe it when she asked how it looked.

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