"Anyone that doesn't agree with leggings as pants can physically fight me.
And I'm going to win because I have a full range of motion due to the fact that I am wearing leggings as pants."

Friday, February 8, 2008

Don't Do What Donnie Don't Does- Gingerbread Houses

After completing the gingerbread hearts, I had a grand vision of a lovely little gingerbread house, complete with heart-shaped stained glass windows to add to our Winter Wonderland. Which happens to be right underneath the heart cookie garland that I am loving more and more each morning as the sun shines through it (and also happen to be photographing like a newborn- you know, a whole bunch of pictures that look exactly the same to most people, but are each unique and precious to the parents).

I even had an adorable little name picked out (for the house not the newborn garland), The House That Love Built.

Awww. Isn't that sweet? Yes, yes it is.

Since Monday, though, Casa Wendy has a new name, The House That Stubbornness Will Finish, By God.

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Here is the finished project shown from the prettiest angle I could find. I seriously considered using the hot glue gun to get this damned thing together. Looking back, I probably should have. It's not like the icing (that sat out all night) is any more edible than the glue would have been.

I also attempted to light THTSWF, BG with battery powered tea lights. It turned the heart kind of orange, but was still sort of cool.

So, here is my list of Donnie Don'ts for this particular project.
DDWDDD #1- If you blog, don't get too excited to post about a project made with materials you've never worked with. And for God Sake don't mention that you'll have it done later in the week. If you don't blog, don't plan to make the project for an important party or anything with a tight deadline. It puts all kinds of unnecessary pressure on the entire project, casting an unhelpful pall of tension that occasionally makes you say bad words.

DDWDDD#2- When mixing gingerbread dough, you need to (or at least I did) knead every single molecule of it by hand in order for it to roll out smooth instead of cracked and crumbly. It was like working with Fimo instead of Sculpey. Probably sturdier in the end, but too much of a pain in the ass for my limited supply of patience.

And speaking of patience...

DDWDDD #3- Don't be impatient when making gingerbread houses. This is because of the following...
-The walls need a long time to set up properly before adding the roof. After the entire house fell apart 3 times (I'd held it in place for 15 minutes each time) I finally gave up, iced the walls together (luckily they were fairly square and stayed put) and went to bed. They were solid in the morning. This is not like a house of cards, where adding the roof makes the walls more stable. It *is* like a house of cards in every other way, though.
-The 'snow' on the roof needs enough time to set up or you will end up with an unpretty landslide of icing. As I watched it go, I kept thinking, "It's OK, it's OK, it will look like the sun melted it a little and it's sliding a bit." But it didn't. It looked like icing sliding off gingerbread in nasty clumps.

DDWDDD #4- Don't make the full batch of icing for the gingerbread house all at once. The icing will be clumpy and separated long before you've managed to get the various parts of the house constructed. I don't know, though. This may or may not be true for you. You may be much more competent than me.

DDWDDD#5- When applying the 'construction' icing, add the icing, stick the pieces together and then pull them apart. Add more icing along the line if necessary and let the pieces sit, unattached, for 3 minutes or so, before reattaching. This gives the icing time to set up a bit, so when you do stick them together, the holding time is shorter. Which bring me to...

DDWDDD#6- Don't forget to put on some good music or an audio book before you start construction of the roof, because once you start holding the pieces together, you won't be going anywhere for awhile. If you think you've waited long enough, wait another 5 minutes. And then wait another 5. Even after that long, I still propped the thing up with a mug because I wasn't taking any chances.

During the course of this project, I did manage to solve a Martha mystery, how to get small pieces of candy for melting inside stained glass cookies without destroying a cookie sheet. And I'm really happy about that one, 'cause it's been bugging me since Christmas.

Let's see, what else. Oh, I also made fun little hearts out of melted Creme Savers. Use the cookie cutter on them right after they come out of the oven. Then let them cool completely and the edges just snap right off in a very satisfying way.

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And here's a picture of some of the cookies I made this week. Just because I like them so much.

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At one point, Jeff offered to make me a gingerbread house jig, which is something I might seriously consider if I ever forget this experience and attempt it again. I figure by next Christmas, I might be ready.

Who am I kidding? I've already thinking of a gingerbread rose window flickr group.


Related Posts-

2008 02 04 002
Valentine's Day Stained Glass Cookies

2008 02 08 029
Crushed Hard Candy

Halloween Cookie Shack

stained glass cookie 2
Stained Glass Cookies Flickr Group 


auroramae said...

love the eat my shorts and bite me!

Angeleen said...

I agree with auroramae! LOL!

Cute, delicious, AND hilarious! What more could one of a humble cookie?

Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetpea! ;)

Green Bean said...

Awesome, completely awesome. Your cookies and cottage look divine. I used to make gingerbread houses for Xmas - pre kids - and my friend and I would devote an entire weekend to the baking, assembling and decorating. Lordy, it is a lot of work. Our finished product, though, never quite came out as nice as yours. :)

Wendy said...

Oh, believe me, Green Bean, it's all about the angle of the picture. The house is only pretty from one, very specific direction.

Thanks, though.

Jennifer said...

I love gingerbread houses! We used to make them every Christmas... whole villages of them. Of course, we cheated and used graham crackers instead of gingerbread. :)

Yours looks really nice in the picture.