Hope you’re enjoying the holidays and good cheer. We’ve certainly had a wonderful time filled with family bonding and of course feasting.
Christmas lights (not our own)
It’s been lots of fun, and so was this month’s Daring Bakers’ Gingerbread House challenge.
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.
I used Y’s recipe from The Great Scandinavian Baking book by Beatrice Ojakangas because all the ingredients were on hand. I followed the challenge recipe with a couple of minor tweaks. After trawling the DB forums, it turned out that many bakers had issues with the dough being too dry. So I followed the recipe -weighing everything, except the flour, which was measured by guesstimation and level cups. Also, the challenge method called for adding the flour and hot water in together. Instead of this, I added the hot water to the creamed butter and sugar, stirred until everything was melted, then added the flour – a technique that my usual go-to gingerbread recipe recommends. The dough turned out fine and quite sturdy to work with. Flavourwise, it wasn’t as sweet as my usual gingerbread although still nice and “spicy”. The finished “house” ended up covered in so much royal icing anyway it was a good thing the dough wasn’t very sweet.
So here’s the finished house – it’s a slightly skewed gingerbread version of the Sydney Opera House (definitely not to scale).
I’ll let the pictures tell you the rest of the story :
The “sails” were baked on aluminium foil “moulds” held together by bamboo skewers.
The first attempt at creating the base ended up like this:
So I baked lots of “support” beams which ended up a bit skewed but they worked great once I doubled them up and added a fruit fizzer (lolly) to get the right height. I had to "borrow" a few of the lollies from MC junior's lolly stash, which ended up in a very thorough inquisition the next day. Finally managed to convince her she must have eaten the lollies then forgot about doing it!
Liberal application of royal icing and a few lollies later…
This is a reference to this event.
Once my gingerbread house was done and dusted, it was the kids’ turn. Technically they made speculaa houses because I’d used up all the gingerbread dough. The little 3 year old
After the grandparents had suitably admired them on Christmas Day, the kids partook in the most fun part of the whole activity.
Enjoy the hols!