A Gingerbread House for Ants
"What is this??? A center for ants?!" --Zoolander
With nearly all business establishments closed on Christmas Day, there were few activities that could have entertained me more than making a gingerbread house from scratch. I now understand why gingerbread houses were invented in the first place. People wanted something to do on Christmas Day after opening presents in the morning. It's the perfect balance between being productive - you're building an entire house! - and indulging in your pantry's supply of confectionery. There's only one way to do this right and it does not involve buying the kit from Ikea, partially because you deserve nice furniture this Christmas and mostly because Ikea is closed in observance of the holiday.
To make the structural components of the house, I doubled the gingerbread cookie recipe from Food.com and traced the dough with Martha Stewart's Swedish gingerbread house template using an X-ACTO knife. The roof is made of two 7-inch squares, so grab a ruler and measure those without a template.
I melted dark chocolate chips and white marshmallow candy melts in place of icing. Both harden as soon as they reach room temperature and the house has not collapsed since I assembled it six hours ago! Other confectionery used include tiny marshmallows as roof shingles, festive chocolate balls as the door frame, cinnamon sticks as freshly chopped firewood, and coconut flakes as snow on the ground. Sifting powdered sugar over the entire house created a checkered effect on the rooftop due to the placement of the marshmallows. The final touch was brûléeing marshmallows in the chimney!