Friday, December 24, 2010

Project Gingerbread: Character Will Be Built

So the kids wanted to build a gingerbread house. OK, great - fun holiday activity and keeps them busy for a few hours. However, when looking for a gingerbread house kit, all I found was this, which, with a well-placed recommendation by Giada de Laurentiis, placed the hook firmly in the cheek of this Food Network aficionado. It was also substantially discounted at the grocery store. (Clue Number One.)

I will admit it looks a bit daunting; for one thing, you have to make the gingerbread dough, roll it out and cut out the walls etc. Knowing this, I took a moment to review the instructions last night. Among the hidden delights nnot mentioned on the outside of the package:

1) It assumes you own a Silpat, which I don't, although frankly they look pretty useful and I may end up getting one. Fortunately, I had bought a roll of wax paper for use on the layout, so I will trust in that to get the job done.

2) The instruction sheet proudly proclaims at the top, "No need for Royal Icing!" I probably don't have to tell you what Step 9 instructs you to make, although it helpfully includes Royal Icing mix in the package.

3) One step requires adding eleven teaspoons of water to the mix. That would probably have taken the most time of all, had I not had my mother on hand to translate that into tablespoons (3 2/3).

All other adults have mysteriously found other things to do today while I assist the children with this. Nothing like a vocabulary lesson for the holidays.

I may liveblog this depending on how early I start drinking. Wish me luck, and Happy Holidays!

Update 4:30 PM: Structural gingerbread construction complete, resulting in a favorable sun-yardarm relative position. To the bottle opener!


Mattie said...

Good luck, Dave! I remember watching some Martha Stewart thing one year in which she made a gingerbread house. It was large and used gold leaf for decor. She at least had the good grace to admit that it was not possible for one person to assemble by themselves (not even Martha Stewart).

Happy, Merry!

jjv said...

Lets hope this thing take less time to complete than, I don't know,a railroad model project?

J. said...

Every year our daughter asks if we can build a gingerbread house, and every year I say "maybe" and cross my fingers that I can dodge that bullet for another year. Why? There is NOTHING easy about making/building a gingerbread house. I know. (Royal icing? More like Royal-pain-in-the-you-know-where icing. Simple to make; impossible to clean.)

Though on a scale of Christmas difficulty it's only slightly more difficult than getting one's cat to wear a Santa hat. :-)

Dave S. said...

Mattie, it's a good #@&^% thing.

JJV, I myself have observed that if I were building an actual railroad I would have been fired long ago.

J, one of our prized Christmas decorations is a photo of Gracie (RIP) wearing a Santa hat and looking none too thrilled about it.

Anonymous said...

I just saw a story on a gingerbread Serenity (a spaceship from the tv show Firefly, for those who are insufficiently nerdy).

That should be your next project.


MLR said...

I attempted a gingerbread house only ONCE. I did not have a kit; I used a cookbook. While the sides of the house were perfectly square going into the oven, they did not emerge with 90 degree angles, and thus, no matter how much "glue" I used (confectioner's sugar mixed with egg white) the thing would not hold together. Do the kits provide some means of keeping the thing square?