Author's note: Written for violetquill's Make the Yuletide Gay challenge.


Gingerbread

Heat oven to 350° F. Butter and lightly flour a 7x11" baking dish.

"Cheese, olives, biscuits. Figs, pomegranates, marzipan. Wine, of course." Draco ticked off the items on the list as he put them away. They'd had parties before, but this was the first they would give in their new home, and furthermore it was expected to be the holiday gathering of the year. Everyone who was anyone both from the Ministry and from Gringotts had been invited, along with friends who didn't necessarily work for either, thus satisfying all sorts of personal and quasi-professional obligations at once. Thankfully there weren't all that many humans working for Gringotts, which made the total number more or less manageable; inviting goblins was not expected.

"Did you get everything?" Harry came into the kitchen and slouched against the counter. He'd been called out late the night before to help cope with an Ashwinder infestation, and had clearly only just gotten up. His hair was even more tousled than usual and his sweat pants hung loosely from his narrow hips, threatening to slide down at any moment. He ought to have looked sloppy, but somehow he managed to appear attractively feral instead. Draco put the last packet of biscuits in the cupboard and went over to him, inhaling the nutty dry sleepy smell of Harry's skin as he pulled him close.

"I think so. Even the ingredients for that gingerbread you insist we have to have. It seems awfully lowbrow for this kind of party."

Harry shrugged and smiled. "I like gingerbread. It smells like Christmas to me, with all the spices, and it's easy to make. Don't you have a favorite Christmas sweet?"

"Not really, no." Draco didn't want to think about the time when his father had caught him stuffing himself with chocolates one Christmas and required him to continue doing so until he was sick. It hadn't put him off eating sweets at other seasons of the year, thank goodness, but not at the holidays.

"Then I'll teach you to like mine." Harry wrapped his arms around Draco's waist and leaned in, using his tongue to trace a line along Draco's jaw.

Cream 1/2 c. soft butter and 3/4 c. sugar. Add 1 egg and 1/2 c. molasses and mix well.

"In fact, I think I'll make it now. Turn on the oven, please."

"What temperature?" Draco asked.

"Er..." Harry flipped through the pages of his cookbook. "350° . Did you get all the spices and everything?"

"The powdered ginger and the molasses. We had cinnamon and cloves already and all the rest of the ingredients were ordinary things we always have around." Draco sat on one of the stools and propped his chin on his hand, watching Harry. For all that Harry claimed that he didn't really enjoy cooking, since he'd spent years having to do it at the Dursleys, when he did make something it was with evident pleasure. Perhaps the reason was that he only cooked dishes he liked. At any rate it was worth watching, the way Harry did things without any wasted motion, almost a ballet of cooking.

He did use magic to help him, setting a wooden spoon to beating butter and sugar together in a bowl until they were pale and fluffy while he measured out the other ingredients. That was something that Draco hadn't had to persuade him to do; he knew Harry had seen Molly Weasley cooking, and doubtless she made every use of magic that she could, with that horde to feed and no house-elves.

Harry pulled a baking dish out of the cupboard and rubbed it with butter, then sprinkled in flour and tapped the dish on all four sides.

"To keep the gingerbread from sticking."

Draco nodded although he hadn't needed any explanation. If he had been looking bemused it was only because he was itching to kiss the skin on Harry's wrists, where he'd pushed up his sleeves. But he knew that Harry would be annoyed at being interrupted.

Add 2 c. white flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 Tbsp. ground ginger, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. ground cloves. Beat until well blended. Stir in 1 c. boiling water and quickly pour into baking dish.

"Anything else I can do?" Draco supposed he might help a little bit. It would keep him distracted for a few minutes.

"Not really... oh, I suppose you could put the teakettle on. I'll need some boiling water in a few minutes."

Draco filled the kettle and set it to boil. As an afterthought he pulled out his favorite Dragon Pearl tea and the large teapot; since the water was going to be there anyway, making tea seemed a good plan.

"There, I think that's creamed enough." Harry added egg and molasses to his mixture and stirred vigorously, then dumped in the flour and spices and began to beat the dough. Flour flew up into his face, and he coughed. "Oh, bugger it, I should remember to start slow and I never do."

Laughing, Draco said, "It's only flour. Not as if you're mixing a potion and the ingredients might be poisonous or otherwise dangerous."

"Yeah, but..." Harry grumbled, and wiped at his face with his t-shirt sleeve, succeeding mostly in making the flour streak palely across his cheeks without actually removing very much. "Is that water boiling yet?"

"Just." Draco poured some to warm the teapot, then passed Harry the kettle while he measured out the tea.

Harry added the water, stirred, and quickly poured the batter into the baking dish, scraping out the last bits with his finger. He put the dish into the oven and turned to Draco. "Here, taste."

Draco took a lick. It tasted nicer than he'd thought it would. "Mm. Quite good, really."

"It's better when it's baked, still warm out of the oven."

Bake 35-40 min., until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or the sides shrink a little around the edges. Serve warm.

"Most things are better warm." Draco let his tongue travel across Harry's palm and down to his wrist. "How long does it have to bake, anyway?"

"Oh, a bit more than half an hour." Harry grinned. "If you're thinking what I think you're thinking, there's time."

"Splendid. And then afterward, you can prove to me that we really should serve gingerbread at our party tonight."

Harry laughed and put his arms around Draco, aligning their bodies together. Draco could feel the heat of him, warmer than the oven-warmed air of the kitchen. "We don't have to. You're right that it would go oddly with the rest of the food. You were the one I wanted to share it with."