Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gingerbread house



Oh the warm smell of spices is the hallmark of the holiday season and is the one thing we all love, don't we? GInger is definitely one spice that I love to include in my cooking/baking expeditions during this time of the year. So I was naturally happy to see that this month we were doing the gingerbread house for this month's challenge, well it was a fleeting moment anyway until I realized that it was yet another kitchen mishap. Consider this my 10th new recipe and the 3rd in Nupur's marathon.


The December 2009 Daring Baker's 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.
I used Y's recipe


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



Method

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until blended. Add the spices. 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, which I did have to do. Chill 2 hours or overnight.  (Here is where my problem started)









Cut patterns for the house on cardboard/poster board
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.



Cut required shapes and transfer these to the baking sheet. Save the scraps and reroll them if necessary.










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












Royal Icing:








1 large egg white
3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract

Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren't using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.


Problem: 
Something happened and I do not have a clue as to why- the dough was extremely dry. It was stiff  and powdery. Somehow we (the wise guy and me) got the dough together and left it in the refrigerator. But the next day when I took it out to roll and cut shapes out everything fell apart, there was enough moisture release from the dough. I still managed to roll it out, cut some vague patterns and even bake it. But when I tried to put together the house, it started to break apart as it obvious from the picture, well so is my frustration! I tried to decorate it but it was too much, so all I did was put the pieces together- somehow it all stayed for a few seconds for me to get a picture....



9 comments:

  1. Wow! I applaud your efforts.Great that you got a picture.

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  2. Thats ok. Take it easy. Should appreciate your courage to go on with it, inspite of all odds. Kudos to u.

    Chitchat
    http://chitchatcrossroads.blogspot.com/

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  3. Oh my! This is quite daring, indeed! I am totally inspired to try my hand at constructing a ginger-bread house now!

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  4. Thank you Ms.Chitchat and Sheetal, I really appreciate your encouraging comments.

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  5. Years ago I did one of these with my daughter -- I remember how difficult it was. You did a great job! :)

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  6. Oh, thank you Linda, you are too nice!

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  7. Oh dear, sorry to hear you had problems with the dough being a bit unmanageable. It's great that you persevered though. Maybe the next challenge will be more to your liking :)

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