Gingerbread Train (A Story, NOT a Recipe!) & Peanut Butter Balls

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I tend to look at things, like the picture on a box, and assume that it will turn out just the same as the picture shows. I tend to be blissfully ignorant to the fact that things do not always turn out just so……

The box should read ~ “Your Gingerbread Whatever will NOT end up looking like the one of the box, but, OH, you WILL have fun making it!”

To set the scene. I have been wanting to make a gingerbread house for years. Why I never did? Not sure. This year, however ~ I was going TO DO IT. There my mom and I stood in front of a ginger bread “do it yourself” display. We, because we are deliriously ignorant, went for the train (with upteenmillion sides) as opposed to the house (with 4, count ’em, 4 sides). I, ever so giddily, put it in the cart ~ unknown as to the adventures that were undoubtedly coming.

Now, days later, we begin. Not even 2 seconds in. CRASH. Yep, crash…… There went a rather large, important piece. “Oh of course! And why wouldn’t that happen?!”  Was uttered by someone (or should I say, practically shouted by someone?)…no names dropped here…..tears flowed. Hugs given. Moving on……..

What to do with the 10’s of thousands of little gross  candies given?? Oh, yes, a cup. Good idea. How many times did this cup tip you wonder?

There is my mom. Tettering 2 kids on her lap, cause she cannot say “no”. There I am. Busy with EVERYthing under the sun (other than gingerbreading…. clearing I am avoiding the whole messy practically stressful thing…..sorry mom.) There are kids. With blue mouths, “did you eat any candy” we say, “no” they say…..uhhh huhhh.

After much debate on what to put where……we have a train that resembles a train. (Can we please have directions that are clearer? I am a girl. I like directions. Explicit directions that do not get you confused and send you around the block and right back PAST the place were you JUST left your husband and he is  WATCHING you drive by like a complete
dip ….oh, sorry ~ back to gingerbreading…….)

Suddenly, the train falls. (For the 3rd…maybe 4th time.) I put my camara down and swoop in to “fix” it. It is about that time that we look at each other, really, with sheer enjoyment cause the kids are having a hoot of a time. I think we then wonder why we both thought this thing would be a breeze. Extra candy goes in “mounds of snow” ~ good idea mom. Then there is more picture-taking, so we can remember these moments.

Now comes another debate. Who keeps the thing? (Though I am just kindly trying to send it her way…..maybe she was trying to do the same to me?)  That lovely train answered that for us, by tipping over.  No “frosting glue” can help it anymore. The kids all get a train wall to eat, and well…..here is the rest of it, ready to enjoy for another day!  AT LEAST we caught it is all its beauty in a photo or 10.

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Have you ever made a gingerbread anything? Will you ever do it again? I have a gingerbread house just sitting in the pantry ready to go, will it be easier???

So here we are, about a week later. Ready to give it ago….again.

Somehow I have forgotten the chaos of that other said day. I ONCE again think that the picture will turn just the same as the box.  That the frosting bag will behave and that the candy will stay put…….

Well. SUCCESS. Did you know it IS important to glue the walls together then walk away for 15 minutes so they have time to set up?!?!?!? (Mom, HOW did we miss that one??!?) Did you know that the imperfections make these things/moments so special? It was a family effort ~ a new tradition has unfolded. Candy still got dumped, frosting still leaked, smiles were STILL there. What fun.

Now on our counter is this gingerbread house. Though a few/most pieces of candy have been snatched…..that is another fun part of gingerbreading, SNEAKING candy!

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IF you COULD only pick one Christmas Cookie to make this holiday season, what would YOU choose to make???

The recipe below is my answer to that question, cannot wait to hear yours!

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I grew up eating Peanut Butter Balls one way, my husband grew up eating Peanut Butter Balls a different way. Both ways are good, but I wanted to mesh it into one recipe ~ that will be the recipe MY kids will request from me some day!  (Here is for hoping they DO request a recipe or two of mine……right now their only requests are Frozen Pizza *humph* and Candy. MAYBE some day they will say, “mom, can you make those cookies, you know the ones with the _____ and ____ with ____ sprinkled on top!” OR maybe they will say “can you make brussels sprouts tonight?” ~ oh,  have I gone tooo far?)

Peanut Butter Balls 
2 sticks softened butter
2 c. peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 lb. powdered sugar (+ 1/2 c. or so if more is needed)
1 sleeve of graham crackers crushed
1 1/2 – 2 (12 oz. pkgs.) of semi-sweet chocolate
1 TB. shortening

Beat the butter, peanut butter and vanilla till smooth. Add the powdered sugar, beat till smooth. Add the crushed graham crackers, mixing till well combined. (May need to add a touch more powdered sugar if it seems like it needs it.) Chill (it will set a bit more as it chills). Till nice and cold. Roll into balls. I make sorta large ones with my Pampered Chef Cookie Scoop, but make the size you like. Freeze. When frozen (it is just easier to dip when they are frozen) then melt your chocolate and shortening in a double boiler, when it is nice and smooth and melted, you can dip your balls in.  Place on waxed paper to cool. My preference is to eat these out of the fridge, though they are also good at room temp. Enjoy!!!

This recipe is a mesh from Mom and Mom’s recipes!

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About Bobbi

I am a wife to my wonderful husband. I am a mom to 5 wonderful/busy/crazy/noisey/happy snappy boys. My hobby is cooking and baking, I love to read recipes and organize the recipes I have. I enjoy making food for people and sharing recipes. My husband is not picky and will eat almost anything, my kids are not quite as easy, they can be picky eaters, which has lead me to try to make more “favorite family foods”. I am hoping that through this blog some of my friends and family, or anyone for that matter, will share their favorite recipes too!!! Feel free to email me at favoritefamilyfoods@hotmail.com if you have any questions, suggestions or recipes you would like to share. I look forward to hearing from you! Bobbi

6 responses »

  1. Wow Bobbi! That picture is really cute! I laughed out loud reading your rendition of the whole event. Quite accurate:) And it sure was a precious memory! We will just stick to the good ‘ole house next year:)

  2. This is hilarious. We did these the last couple of years, and we had issues with our frosting holding everything together too. You are right, WAIT to decorate until the frosting has set up. Even so, I finally gave up and used my hot glue gun to hold everything together! I know, it’s not edible, but no one ever eats the gingerbread anyway, they just eat the candies off the gingerbread 🙂

    • GLAD to know this has happened you as well!! I might just steal your hot glue gun idea……My kids did eat the gingerbread……not sure they enjoyed it…….oh wait, they can see it in a Ziplock bag in the pantry and HAVEN’T asked for it again ~ I guess there is my answer!!! (We had to finally beat the house down cause it was a very sorry looking candy free gingerbread house….)

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