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Raising the candied roof at gingerbread parties

POULSBO — When surrounded by an endless variety of candy and gobs of icing as white as snow, it’s hard to resist snacking while creating a holiday gingerbread house.

But somehow, participants of Farm Kitchen’s fourth annual gingerbread house parties walk out with edible homes covered in their favorite candies this year.

Each Saturday this month, families and friends are invited to put on their baker’s hats and decorate a pre-made gingerbread house, with candy and icing provided at Farm Kitchen. Houses are made by staff on-site with real gingerbread and edible icing prior to the parties.

The Dec. 6 event found kids of all ages, from 3 to adult, adding their own personal touches and flavors to the large homes.

“We come every year,” said Kate McDill of Bainbridge Island. “This is our fourth year. It’s part of our Christmas tradition.”

Naomi Smith was still working on her project long after McDill finished. Smith was mastering the art of creating icing icicles on the edge of her home’s roof. Everyone was impressed by the detail and how the icing stuck.

“I learned four years ago,” Smith said humbly.

Eleven-year-old Jessie Gates of Indianola created a house last year and brought her 14-year-old sister Katie this year to participate.

“I came this time because she said it was really fun,” Katie said.

Katie detailed her house with great precision, using three pastry bags of icing to adhere the candy decorations, including gummy bears, gum drops, mints, candy canes and Mike and Ike.

“I like these because you can be creative with them,” Katie said as she picked up a small, green hard piece of candy.

“She did up in the eaves, I’ve never seen that, that’s incredible,” said Farm Kitchen Head Chef Hollis Faye about the icing lining the roof eaves on Katie’s house.

Jessie, on the other hand, used about seven or eight pastry bags for a real snow-like effect.

“It’s really fun,” Jessie said. “It’s also a really good decoration.”

After the houses are decorated, the creators have a chance to add a final touch — powdered sugar as snow.

“Let it snow, let it snow,” Katie sang as she lightly sifted the white powder over her home.

Farm Kitchen Marketing Director Anne Thatcher was watching with amazement all the creativity that was pouring onto these houses. Thatcher said the amount of participants is about the same as last year, but that the business is hosting more private parties.

“A lot of people who come with their friends and families bring their office or neighbors (for a private party),” Thatcher said. “We’re about making it an experience and making it a tradition.”

Thatcher estimates the kitchen staff will build about 200 gingerbread homes by the time the season is over.

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