Baking for Hobbits: Alternative Office Holiday Parties

Don’t you get tired of gingerbread men and egg nog? Sugar cookies and snowmen?

I decided that this month I’d treat my coworkers to a different kind of celebration. A more fantastic, dorkier way of enjoying the holidays.

I decided to do some Hobbity Holiday baking.

Of course thinking about it and doing it are different things, and if there’s one thing I want you to learn from my blog, it’s that things go wrong, cake disasters happen, but your coworkers won’t really care because, hey, you’re giving them free sugar.

The whole idea started when I was looking at these Hobbit Holes you can buy to use as sheds or playhouses or whatever. They’re cute and simple and I had this thought that decorating a cake Hobbit house would be way more fun than doing a regular old gingerbread house.

I have this Betty Crocker dome cake pan that I got as a gift at least eight years ago but have never used, and that seemed like a simple way to make the shape of the house.

But what to serve with it for our Hobbity second breakfast?

Elven Lembas Bread seemed like it would be pretty integral, and I always imagined it looking a little like shortbread, which is one of my never-fail recipes. I use the version from the Tartine cookbook (a birthday gift from my coworkers a few years ago). It’s quick to mix up, all goes in one pan so it’s fast to bake, and comes out golden and buttery.

Legolas would approve

Legolas would approve

I thought one more cookie would be good to round it out, and flipping through the rest of the Tartine book I came across Almond Rochers. “Rochers” is French for “boulders” and I figured I could rename them Orc Boulders. They’re a meringue cookie with toasted almond slivers, which I just happened to have.

These smelled completely awesome when they came out of the oven.

These smelled completely awesome when they came out of the oven.

My first try at the Almond Rochers went pretty well. The meringue mixed up quickly, the almonds didn’t flatten it and I was able to pipe them onto my baking sheet so they were nice and poofy.

So poofy! So bouldery!

So poofy! So bouldery!

They came out of the oven looking big and bouldery, but then as they cooled they started to sink.

Oh, poo.

Oh, poo.

Within 15 minutes I went from Orc Boulders to Orc Piles of Poo.

They still tasted yummy and toasty, but didn’t look like I wanted them to. I should have trusted my instincts and left them in the oven with the heat off to firm up, like I do with my Pavlova, but since it was a new recipe I stuck to the times in the book.

I tried them two more times but couldn’t even get the meringue to firm up. I wasted plenty of eggs and made myself a bit grouchy in the process. In the end I abandoned the Rochers and decided to go another route for my boulders: the donut shop I pass on my way to work.

Not homemade, but Hobbitses aren't finicky.

Not homemade, but Hobbitses aren’t finicky.

For my Hobbit houses, the domed pan worked really well. I used a box mix and it baked up just fine:

Beyond Thunderdome and into the Crocker Dome!

Beyond Thunderdome and into the Crocker Dome!

Once the two parts are cool you remove the inside and frost it:

hobbit-cake-frosted

Then you put the middle in:

hobbit-cake-in-pan

I cut that extra round part off the top and decided to use it as a little hill in front of the houses, which was nice.

I got as far as cutting the done in half and then realized something. I had no freaking idea how to decorate a Hobbit house.

Now what?

Now what?

Do I use green dye and shredded coconut for a grass roof? Flake bars as wood beams? Do I gingerbread house it with gum drops and candy canes? I didn’t know, and after an hour and three failed attempts at the Almond Rochers, I was feeling a little less patient about it. I really need to be less ambitious about these things, at least until I can make all these recipes in my sleep.

I threw on some green icing grass, made from buttercream frosting I had leftover in the fridge. Then I tried a Ritz cracker as the door. The texture was right, but the size was off. Candies as windows? Not bad, until they started melting. Clearly this project was under the evil influence of Saruman.

Luckily, through the magic of blog photography, I decided that if I stuck some Legos in front of it (I’m always happy to have a reason to buy Legos) and kept the houses fuzzy in the backtround, they would look super cute and Hobbity.

Welcome to the Shire!

Welcome to the Shire!

Once I got to the office I laid everything out on a simple brown tablecloth and I used some old wicker trays because they seemed like the kind of thing the elves would use to carry foods on in the forest.

hobbit-christmas-table

I wanted one more thing to round out the table though, so I searched our vending machines and came up with beef jerky/Dragon Meat.

hobbit-dragon-meat

Sorry, Smaug.

I’m tricksy like that.

So did it turned our just like I imagined it? Not really. It was fun though and my coworkers all had a good chuckle out of it. And it all works toward my larger goal of turning my coworkers into fat little hobbitses.

The one thing I think I should have added: One Jell-o Ring to Rule Them All

Now it’s your turn. I challenge you to create Hobbit houses of your own. Send me links to your photos and show me what I should do next time.

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Categories: Office Holiday Parties, Theme Parties | Tags: , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Baking for Hobbits: Alternative Office Holiday Parties

  1. That’s absolutely brilliant 🙂 I don’t think I have the skills to attempt a hobbit house, but I would love to give the Elvin Lembas Bread a go.
    I have been going on about The Hobbit for about a year now in the office, so I owe it to my colleagues to give them a Hobbit feast!

    • Do it, do it, do it! Have a Hobbity New Year party and make everyone wear pointy ears or furry slippers 🙂

  2. The Hobbit houses look really adorable! Maybe some pretzel sticks could be used as logs on the sides and front. Kinda like the landscaping around the Hobbit Holes (I really liked those, too. Now I want one!) but I think you did a fantastic job! I don’t have an oven (long story) or a dome baking dish so I think I’ll have to pass on your challenge.

    • Good ideas. I’m thinking that by the time the second film comes out I’ll be ready to do this bigger and better.

  3. I really wish I worked at your office! These all look incredible, Lisa.

    • Thank you! It’s fun to try new things, even if they don’t always turn out as fantastical as I imagine they will.

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