I love trying new recipes and writing reviews so here we are at my food blog, where my two interests of computers and culinary collide! You'll likely find an assortment of recipes, crafts, travel, and restaurant reviews! I also am striving to include special features such as Michigan travel, Michigan food, cake decorating, and more! My original goal is simply to document this for myself but if some one happens along to visit - I hope you enjoy! If you have any questions about cakes or anything else, contact me at kitchenbliss[at]gmail[dot]com.
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.
Well, I have made a gingerbread house once before (for my gingerbread house decorating party... where I made all four of the really!), but this was a "first" for me on many levels. I have never made a gingerbread house with windows or any kind of a light fixture, so that was a fun aspect to include. I also hadn't done any piping on the gingerbread pieces before assembling the walls of the house before but I also really liked that fact.
I have an old Wilton Gingerbread House/Holiday book from like 1983 thanks to my mom, and I thumbed through that to pick out my favorite project to work on. There were so many good ideas but this church was my favorite and I just had to do it. (I've always wanted to do a replica of my suburban house but that'll have to be for next time)... there were templates in the back of the book so I transferred them to parchment paper and then cut out poster board templates.
We were given two recipes to choose from but after comparing them to my tried-and-true 1980s recipe I just had to go with the one in the magazine. It seemed people were having problems with dry dough and mine is a dream to work with. Let me know if you'd like the recipe! Anyway, after rolling out the dough (chilling is not even necessary), I carved out all the pieces and baked and they all grew slightly but in the same amount so they assembled together nicely.
I waited for them to cool and worked on my electrical portion of the project. The nice man at Ace Hardware helped me set up a large battery that connected via wires to a socket and flashlight bulb which I inserted into a carved out whole of my two 16x16 cakeboards. It's not too festive looking if you look at the battery but all I have to do is make a connection with the wires and then the light is on. I should be able to use this year after year.
Next I whipped up some royal icing, also the recipe from the book - 3 tbsp meringue powder, 1 lb powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and 3.5 oz of warm water.. mix for 6 or 7 minutes until light and fluffy. This worked as a tasty and perfect glue for assembling my pieces. I used a small circle cake decorating tip to put designs around the windows of my walls. I also made some hard candy... which I subsequently forgot about and almost burned (but luckily it was a golden amber color when it was all said and done) and poured out hot sugar for my "glass shards" which would be pasted on for windows with more royal icing.
Once all of the pre-assembly details were done, it was time to put up the walls. That really didn't take long thanks to the royal icing and how quick it dries. Then the roof and the front part of the church. I also piped out a cross for the top and put on the door, but all the rest of the decorating would be saved for the next day.
The following day I had a "sugar party" which was similar to my gingerbread decorating party but we were decorating Christmas cookies and Christmas cupcakes instead.
It was very fun and I was happy to have Megan, Chris and Carol over, and they did an awesome job even though they claim to be novices.
After all the cookies and cupcakes, it was time to finish off my gingerbread church which had dried overnight. I used necco wafers for the roof and jelly bellies for the bottom border/foundation, and then silly gummy spearmint green candies for bushes. I used the rest of the frosting to make snow and eventually ran out but that was OK.
I was very pleased with my ltitle creation and I hope I will be able to donate it somewhere to some one who will enjoy it, as I have no kids and feel it is sort of a shame to let go to waste. Maybe some one on facebook will want it. :)
Thanks to Anna and Y for such a fun challenge, I just loved it. Today (the 23rd) is my birthday and it is a great way to ring in my 29th year, by displaying a gingerbread church for all to enjoy!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Kitchen Bliss!!