Sunday, December 10, 2006
Mommy's Cookie House
I've never made a gingerbread house before. I looked on the internet for ideas. I checked my various baking books. I looked in catalogues for decorating ideas. Here's what I found out. Most people buy a kit, or a ready-made gingerbread house. Most people like to decorate their house with lots of candy. Many gingerbread houses are ugly. Gingerbread houses are expensive. Royal icing is the glue that keeps a gingerbread house together- use lots of it. Many people make their own design for gingerbread houses.
So- I got out my gingerbread recipe. I figured out that what makes a good gingerbread cookie, doesn't neceassarily work for a gingerbread house. A cookie should be moist and lovely. A house needs to be cardboard-like. I decided I would bake my pieces longer, so they would dry out. I had a recipe for royal icing, that would keep a real house together. I really didn't like the candy houses, though. I wanted my house to be more organic, and earthy. Forgive me for sounding like a hippy. I wanted it to smell delicious, and it does. I got to work. It took me about an hour to come up with the design, and make a cardboard cut out. I made and baked the gingerbread parts to the house. They expanded. And the dimensions changed. Hmmmm. How do people deal with that? Royal Icing! I used lots of it. And I added some well hidden cinnamon sticks to fill the very large gaps. I used star anise, cloves, pink peppercorns, rosemary, and allspice for the decorations. The roof is lined with pecan shingles. I think it's cute. Abbie calls it Mommy's Cookie House- no touch. Although she has nibbled the threshold, and ate the doormat completely before I could glue it to the house. But I have one more question. Now what do I do with it?
I had a bit of a problem with the longevity of Mommy's Cookie house. It colapsed shortly after I made it-3-4 days. We had a lot of rain, and my gingerbread was too moist. I was told at my favorite cake supply store to not use butter-but replace it with shortening, and also decrease the baking temperature but bake it longer. Hmmm. Next year.