December's challenge appealed to my inner three year old. Make a gingerbread house! The only gingerbread house I can remember making is the kind in which a first grade teacher helps you glue graham crackers to a milk carton. Making a real gingerbread house is more difficult in that um, you use gingerbread instead of graham crackers and can't use empty pints of milk as a support system. Tricksy!
Blurb-o-ze-month: 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 decided to go with a gingerbread log cabin in tribute to my home state of Alaskan. Gingerbread Sarah Palin and gingerbread Russia not included.
I used the Good Housekeeping gingerbread recipe which worked really well -- all I had to do was add a little more water than called for because that sucker would not roll out. I'd recommend halving the recipe unless you're making some sort of gingerbread fortress because it makes a ton. I halved the recipe and had more than enough for one house.
The 'glue' in gingerbread houses is usually royal icing or hot caramel and I went the royal icing route. Trying to glue the house together with boiling sugar water sounded like a Fear Factor challenge and I'd like to keep the use of my hands. Make massive amounts of royal icing, you'll need it. And try not swear as much as I did while trying to glue on the roof. See why caramel would've been a bad idea?
BJ came over while I was finishing up the house and he thought I had been driven to insanity by finals. I was making a cabin? Out of gingerbread? On purpose? And then I made a snowman out of icing as a finishing touch and BJ suggested I be institutionalized. But BJ works in a restaurant in which the 'shrimp nest' in a popular item so let's save our judgment, shall we? If BJ had his way I would've made a gingerbread army base filled with gingerbread soldiers and candy cyborg zombies.
Yeah, this took forever and the gingerbread house tastes like ginger scented stale cardboard. And royal icing tastes like sweetened rocks. But I like baking and holiday decorating so why not? It was worth covering the kitchen and living room with powdered sugar and hardened icing. The cabin is currently sitting in my apartment back at school, where BJ is watering our plants while we're on vacation. I predict if he gets drunk enough he'll eat it. Or smash it. Or smash it and then eat it, it's a toss up really.