I hope everyone had Happy Holidays and a wonderful start to the new year!
This Christmas, my most noteworthy baking creation is a gingerbread house modeled after Bob’s family’s home in McKinney, TX. Thanks to Marian from sweetopia.net, I found a fantastic glue-like icing (http://sweetopia.net/2011/12/gingerbread-house-royal-icing-video-kitchenaid-7-quart-mixer-giveaway/) that held our house together perfectly and some other gingerbread making techniques. I encourage you to check out her site for very helpful tutorials for decorating.
The adventure began when I begged Bob to make a gingerbread house with me. Little did I know, or rather, I should have realized, he would not settle for a quaint, whimsical cottage. As I found the structural gingerbread recipes online and stocked the kitchen with our necessities, Bob designed away at his desktop using the Solidworks program he learned in freshman engineering. Eight hours passed and I waited patiently to start my share.
Structural Gingerbread House Dough Recipe
- 2 cups light corn syrup (or dark corn syrup for a darker house)
- 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar (or dark brown sugar for a darker house)
- 1 1/4 cups margarine
- 9 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
We worked away until 5 am, but it was time to hit the hay. The last templates were cut in the morning.This piece was a challenge because it was larger than all of our baking sheets. Thankfully, it baked well on the parchment paper/foil combination paper.
Next comes the fun part! After Bob cut edges here and there to make all the measurements exact to his plans, it was time to start assembling the house.
It definitely took more than two steps, but Voilà…
My favorite job was decorating my trees. I learned this technique from Marian on sweetopia.net. It’s quite simple. A sugar ice cream cone and a #18 star decorating tip. It gets easier over time. I must say that my trees in the back yard were better quality! I’ll need to figure out how to make my food coloring create a darker green. I’ll probably have to buy a different selection of colors. I simply used tootsie rolls and icing to represent the landscaping in their front yard.
We made it this far before I had to catch a 7 am flight on December 22nd to Las Vegas to meet the family in Utah for Christmas! The rest of the structure was left in Bob’s hands. Luckily, his sisters were there to help. Bob baked the rest of the gingerbread templates for the roof and assembled them all on his own! Now that is dedication! Plus, he has a hard time stopping a project once he’s started…especially one this cool!
Erin finished all the shingles, and it was time for a gingerbread break. A few days later, on the 27th, I was back and Bob and I created a special Christmas day for his family and me…A Very Kerry Christmas! We ate oatmeal pancakes for breakfast and homemade chicken pot pies for dinner! Then, I was ready to help finish decorations. We paid close attention to details. We dyed white fondant to a pale yellow to make the windows appear to be showing lights from inside. I used a pasta roller to roll the fondant into thin strips to cut the windows.
The Back View…
Check out Bob’s beautiful icicles!
A Very Merry Christmas Creation with a happy ending!