Posted by: Rachael | February 28, 2008

a comdey of errors

Or so J13 dubbed the events of the day.
There were plenty of errors, but at the time the comedy was a little harder to find.

Two years ago we made our first ever gingerbread house.
We were suitably impressed ;-)

This year the plan was to do a different one (well, actually, the plan was to not do one at all, and at more than one point in the proceedings I was sorely tempted to revert to Plan A). It was going to be smaller. It was definitely going to have fewer lollies!! And it was going to have stained glass windows.

The errors began yesterday. The dough seemed awfuly crumbly….I didn’t recall it being so last time…..surely the fact that I made up the amounts of spices this time instead of using a packet sent all the way from Germany (thanks my German friend) wouldn’t make that big a difference…..ah well, maybe the 12 hours in the fridge would bind it together.

Bind it together? We couldn’t get it apart!!!! I couldn’t chip any off with a knife let alone roll it out to a few millimetres thick! And as it warmed up it became crumbly. Just like yesterday. I ended up rolling out bits only just big enough to cut one shape out of. I almost felt at that stage that it was going to work.

It all looked so sparkly in the oven that I raced away to grab the camera. By the time I returned the sparkles had melted and we had to wait for the second batch.

And it was then that I noticed I had forgotten to inscribe bricks on one of the sides of the house. Grrrrrr. Too late.
Never mind, the windows were going to be the masterpiece, no-one would notice the absentee bricks.
About this point some Very Helpful Person wondered aloud if we should have used baking paper. I informed them that people have been making gingerbread houses for hundreds of years without baking apper, so we didn’t need it.
Before long I was considering the fact that they didn’t make stained-glass-window-gingerbread-houses hundreds of years ago.

It was not looking hopeful and I decided I might as well record the demise of the gingerbread disaster house.

The older boys took great delight in calling these World War II windows.
Not exactly what I had in mind.

Not one to be easily discouraged, we determined to melt some more lollies and fill the windows again. AFTER placing them on baking paper (stuff, it turned out, we did not own….but we did have waxed paper). That may well have worked if we could have melted the lollies without burning them (we tried two different ways, neither of which were succesful). Not that unburning would have been enough. We also needed to find a way to stop them hardening in the three nanoseconds from melted to poured. We never managed that either. What’s more, the way we melted them seemed to shrink the poor things so it appeared we were going to need three lollies for every window instead of just one. And we only had one per window left. Emergency phone call to Father Bear at work “PLEASE BRING LOLLIES” He didn’t get the message, but it didn’t matter because we gave up long before he got home. Cellophane did the trick thankyouverymuch.

So with the stained glass stint over, it was time to assemble the seven nine pieces. Yes two of them had broken. Icing to the rescue. And for the record, I didn’t crack any yolks into the bowl, even though I was busy telling the girls who were helping at that point that I really should have been cracking each egg individually into a glass first Just In Case. Especially when I got to the sixth egg. Do as I recommend, not as I do.
Anyway, as I say, thank goodness for icing.
The more we applied, the better the house looked and the more likely it was to stay together. Even when a little person knocked it apart (error, not comedy at that point)….we just added more icing and you’d never know. There was something almost therapeutic about the even pressure applied to the squirting-nozzley-thingy. I even ended up enjoying the process. And with kids full of oohs and aahs and it’s-so-beautifuls it would have been hard not to. By the end, you could hardly even tell the chimney was burnt and the roof had fallen apart when I cut out a section for said chimney to fit into (having, of course, forgotten to do it before baking, in spite of repeated reminders to self to not forget to cut out the chimney-bit from the roof).

Ah yes, it turned out quite purty in the end.

And we didn’t even burn it down with the tealight candle in it.
But you should smell it. All we need is snow outside.

December 2007

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