Friday, December 12, 2003

This Old Gingerbread House...

Well.... Bob Villa is probably shaking his head somewhere and Martha Stewart would NOT be proud... but the thought was nice!

Tomorrow we are getting together with our best friends - two families with whom we have watched our children grow, shared tears, laughter and milestones.. and who are the closest things to “adopted cousins” that my children know. We are all going to a pancake breakfast with Santa to start the day, the over to Sue’s house for a morning of Christmas crafts and lunch, then over to our house for a Christmas cookie baking extravaganza and a chili supper. Since I have a WONDERFUL recipe for Gingerbread people, I gleefully announced that we should each make houses for our families.

Nick and I have poured over house plan books since we were in University and not even dating yet. He builds Lego like a champ and probably would have been an architect if the call to teaching hadn’t been stronger. Not that we were planning anything fancy like dormer windows or Victorian porches.... just a nice basic house to decorate once we baked all the pieces. So earlier this week we made cardboard templates and then last night I dug out all my ingredients and made a triple batch of dough. Oh the house smelled heavenly!!

I carefully rolled out the dough and followed all the directions in my detailed article about putting the pieces in the freezer for a few minutes to stiffen them before baking etc.... but the first pieces came out HUGE!! Nick and I had forgotten to allow for the dough to expand. We didn’t want mansions!! We carefully adjusted the pieces by scaling them down an inch on all sides and started rolling out more dough. I was counting things in my head as I glanced at my watch...2 fronts + 2 sides + 2 roof pieces per house x 3 families.... oh my!

The new side pieces cooked up much smaller, though they certainly lost their nice sharp angled edges and I began to worry that they’d take a LOT of icing to hold the joints together. Then the two roof pieces came out of the oven to cool “on the greased baking sheet on a wire rack” as instructed... but for some reason, they chose to bond completely to the cookie sheet and shattered when we tried to lift them off. Things began to unravel quickly after that, and Nick headed off to bed, but I was far too stubborn to admit being bested by a mere lump of dough!! Did you know that gingerbread stuck to cookie sheets disolves rapidly to mush when placed in hot, soapy water? At least I didn’t have to scour my cookie sheets to re-use them!

I started moving pieces around from freezer in the basement to other cookie sheets so that I was only baking on the one that seemed not to stick... 4 fronts and 2 sides were safe and sound on the wire racks when the two roof pieces burned and stuck to the cookie sheet just as the clock struck midnight.

The gingerbread had won. I saved the rest of my delicious dough in the fridge to turn into the Gingerbread people that DO work out... put the pieces in a tupperware container to save for a fun dessert idea (break off bits of former roof or house front and use to make a “sandwich” around Candy Cane ice cream!) tomorrow... then went to bed.

This morning I bought 3 kits from our local supermarket... it was the thought that counted....right??

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