Several years ago, having never done it before except maybe once when I was about 7, I decided I needed to try making a gingerbread house for the holidays. My wife and I would basically do it all from scratch, not relying on the pre-molded baking pans or the store bought kits with die cut gingerbread cookies in a box. Instead, I’d draw up a set of plans and we’d bake out sheets of cookies for cutting and decorating.
Our very first creation was less than gorgeous, but it was fun and something we figured we could do with eventual kids. I’m not entirely sure where the idea to destroy it in front of family and friends came from, but it’s become a New Year’s Eve tradition to leave our little confectionary creation smoldering come 12:01 am January 1st.
Year one was a simple little Santa’s Workshop with candy trees and little gingerbread people. This first year, I assumed incorrectly that Mentos and Diet Coke would have enough explosive power to send cookie chunks in all directions. Instead, we had a wet mess and ended up dousing it with lighter fluid and watching it burn.
Year two, we stepped things up. I took a holiday staple, Die Hard, and constructed a replica Nakatomi Towers with the intention of dropping an M-80 in the top and watching it blow. Unfortunately, our fireworks connection fell through. Our group tried to come up with other solutions, only to fall back yet again to lighter fluid and a match.
Year three. Okay, planning ahead this time. Secured a selection of fireworks early on and chose another movie with a big explosion: Terminator 2. What resulted was a cookie Cyberdyne Industries blowing its top thanks to a few small cherry bombs and a fire fountain placed underneath. Still no sweet shrapnel, but a stunning show.
2009′s end and I do believe we did something no one else has done before. The ultimate in movie explosions. The Death Star. After finally coming up with a way to create a smooth globe/dome-like cookie structure I built an electric ignition system to set off a homemade mortar shot. Personally, I’m still smiling from the results of the explosion. Failed yet again to see cookie pieces flying in all directions, but that’s what next year is for. Besides, we got a nice mini-mushroom cloud out of the deal, and who else can say the same?