Thursday, December 24, 2009

Do You Think This Will Pass Inspection?

I was excited when I saw the Daring Baker Challenge for December...Gingerbread houses!!! The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes. My mom got me cookie cutters last year that are for a house. So, Sarah came over one night and we set to make a gingerbread house from scratch. Dough...success! It was easy to make (though I did NOT refrigerate it) and smelled and looked just like it should. Toppings...I bought some great stuff. Icing...check, Sarah even brought extra sugar just in case. House...ummmm....just check out the disaster that ensued:

It all started out as a bad hair day. You see, Candy and Jack were selling their house. As Candy waited on the inspector, she went back to the days the house was being built. The walls were so pretty. They looked just like gingerbread! But there were cracks and weaknesses that they didn't know about. Even the decorators were excited about this house. Oh, how Candy loved her house. She decorated it for Christmas with all her favorite decorations. She even spiffied up the tree outside. Then, just as the inspector arrived...disaster struck! Something she never thought possible in MS...an avalanche! Or a bomb...no matter what it was awful!!! Cracks (not from the wonderful Yazoo clay) appeared. The roof came tumbling down! Candy quickly brought in the best builders she knew. Could they save the house? Could it pass inspection? The repairs just wouldn't stay! Maybe someone would like a skylight! Then Jack arrived home and greeted Candy with a frosty look. What have you done? WHAT happened to the house? It's crumbling. You'd think the house had just been stuck together! And Candy and Jack just gazed at their home as it was dismantled and taken away. So, as you can see...my gingerbread house didn't QUITE work and Jack and Candy ended up homeless! It was a very fun night though. Sarah and I laughed the whole time, squealed as things fell apart, and had so much fun making up stories about what had happened. Her husband didn't find it quite as funny but what does that matter!? :-) I used this Scandinavian recipe which was really good...and tasted good. Missed the part about "making" our own templates! Ooops...hopefully, I'll still be counted in the official participation. Thanks for a great challenge!

1 cup butter, room temperature [226g]
1 cup brown sugar, well packed [220g]
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups all-purpose flour [875g]

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

2. Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.

3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.

4. [I rolled out the dough on a floured bench, roughly 1/8 inch thick (which allows for fact that the dough puffs a little when baked), cut required shapes and transferred these to the baking sheet. Any scraps I saved and rerolled at the end.]

5. Preheat the oven to 375'F (190'C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.


21 comments:

kate said...

You are hilarious! That was awesome. Have a WONDERFUL blessed Christmas!!

Katrina said...

Great post and way too funny! Way to make the best of it. And we have our Christmas eve tradition tonight of doing gingerbread houses with the boys. Should be interesting!

Katrina said...

Oh, Merry Christmas!

Catalina said...

Haaaaa! Great story!
That is so cute!
It's too bad your house didn't stay together, but you totally made it waaaaay better and funnier!

Wolf said...

ROTFL

My poor house has cracks too.}:P And enough royal icing plastered on the undersides of the cracked roof pieces to build another 2 houses!

Karen @ Citrus and Candy said...

I love your gingerbread men! Hilarious post. Merry Xmas!

Curried Cupcakes said...

Hilarious post! I love how you made the best of a sad situation. I like the template you used for your house.

Jill said...

Loved the story along with the pictures! Good job--it was very cute, even though it didn't stay up as long as you'd hoped. :)
Merry Christmas!!

jancd said...

We do gingerbread houses with our three grandchildren. I told my husband next year we are going to put the houses together with gorilla glue first, then let the kids decorate them after they are dried and sturdy. Won't eat them, but the will stay together. This year we had trouble with the icing being too thick or too thin. We finally got the houses to stay together, but after some touchy moments. ha ha

Abby said...

So cute! I'd love to try gingerbread houses someday. Next year, maybe? Is it too soon to talk about Christmas 2010? Ha.

I hope you had a wonderful, blessed holiday!

Jo said...

Oh dear, poor Candy and Jack. But what a super cute story .. I loved it! It surely makes up for the fallen house. In all you did a fab job. Happy holidays.

Y said...

Oops! Hehehe.. oh, Candy and Jack look shocked! Dismayed! Displaced! :D

All Our Fingers in the Pie said...

Love the For Sale sign! I found this challenge a learning curve. I wish I had taken pictures, like you did, of my house when it all fell apart over night.

culinography said...

This is such a cute post! We had cracks and issues with ours, too!

Cate O'Malley said...

Love the story, and especially the gingerbread people's expression - too cute!

Erika W. said...

LOL! I hope Candy and Jack find a better realtor next time. ;)

Maryanna said...

What a great story. At least you had some yummy cookies to eat. :)

Lisa Michelle said...

I am in tears reading your post and looking at the photos. The For Sale sign is hilarious, and the sad gingerfaced gal is a riot! Love that you made what you think was a disaster (I would call it a GB 'fixer-upper' LOL) into kick booty humor!

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it.

Jaime said...

haha - at least you had fun with this! great job tackling the challenge

Kate said...

I giggled all the way through this post, as it reminds me so much of the one and only attempt my Mum and I had at making a gingerbread house. We have a go at making something new every Christmas and if it goes well, it tends to become one of our traditions. We only got as far as putting one half of the roof on. And that was after the walls had collapsed in on themselves at least twice. And the irony is, I don't even like gingerbread. I just love the way that gingerbread houses look. Sadly, all we had to show for an entire afternoon of getting really quite cross was a pile of gingerbread bricks. That, and a pretty unreasonable resentment towards any smug so-and-so who made gingerbread houses look easy. :)

Needless to say, gingerbread houses did not become one of our traditions. Last year, we made cookie mixes in jars (much easier) and the oldest "new thing" that I remember becoming traditional are our chocolates. We always used to buy all our Christmas chocolates, until we decided to have a crack at making our own. Now we make just as many as we buy and give them as gifts.

I'm thinking about making cookies this year. A lot of people do that as a matter of course, but I can't say I've done much in the way of cookies.