Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December Daring Bakers Challenge: Inedible Houses of Joy

I was happy to see that the December Daring Bakers challenge was something I wanted to do. Last month’s challenge was to make cannolis and I am so not into cannolis. Plus, you have to deep-fry the cannoli cookies, which sounded like an excellent way to give myself more third degree burns. The month before that the challenge was French macaroons, which I did want to make but in October my immune system decided to go on vacation and my energy was spent trying not to die. Last minute I tried to make them but I completely messed up the recipe and ended up with almond hockey pucks. Mmm! Let’s blame it on my fever. So I gave up on those and went to sleep instead.

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.


19 comments:

Little Miss Cupcake said...

Great job! I love your melting snowman!

tonic said...

Lovely gingerbread cabin!! The almonds on the roof make nice shingles!!

Rochelle said...

Love the sliced almonds on top, they give the roof a great feel!

Cirri said...

The almons looks great in your house great job! Merry christmas!

alaskagrrrL said...

Zombie fortress next year--deal?

Lauren said...

It looks amazing! I adore your snowman, and your decorations are darling!

teafactory said...

beautiful! i love your snowman!

bcswerit said...

Your snowman is adorable! well done your house looks amazing!

chef_d said...

your gingerbread house looks so nice and i love the effect of the almonds on the roof

Catalina said...

Cute idea with the cabin and soooo cute snowman!

Karen @ Citrus and Candy said...

That melting snowman kicks ass. So... did BJ end up smashing and eating it? :P

Pontch said...

Beautiful gingerbread house
the almonds looks so good as a roof!

Happy Holidays :)

Jill said...

That has got to be the cutest snowman ever! Love your gingerbread log cabin! :)
Merry Christmas!!

Sheltie Girl said...

Beautiful job! I love the rustic look of your house, especially with the almond sliver shingles.

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free said...

A unique variation - and totally cozy! Your melting snowman is the perfect touch. Simply adorable!

anna said...

I love your cabin!! The almond roof is genius.

Y said...

Heh, well to be fair, I think I would've liked to a gingerbread house with candy zombies too :D But the log cabin will do, because it looks pretty darn good!

silverrock said...

oooo I love your house, it's uber-cute! The almond roof, squishy snowman and the pretzel door :) Congrats on this DB challenge, can't wait to see what you bake up in the New Year!

Anzj said...

Using almond slices as roof tiles makes just perfect sense. How clever!

http://mangerie.blogspot.com/2009/12/het-kerstdessert-met-hoofdletters.html