My sweet obsession
This is the first in a short Christmas series of posts…
So, it’s Christmastime. I have put my cakes on hold until after the holiday season. Notice that I said “cakes,” not “baking.” In addition to the gifts that I bake, I also host a Christmas Eve Open House. Last year, I made a big display of decorated cupcakes and a fondant-clad cake disguised as a gift. Most of these confections ended up in the trash. A few cupcakes were eaten, but the cake was never even cut. I didn’t take it personally – my guests just didn’t want to be the first to disturb the display. (At least that is what I told myself)
This year, I am a little smarter. I will still bake lots of goodies for the party; only they will be a little less intimidating to eat. My display will be a gingerbread house, which will be great for the “look, but don’t eat” set. If we have a few nibblers, all the better!
I did an extensive search for “free” gingerbread house plans online before choosing my “Fairy Tale Cottage“. I saved the plans as a jpg and used MS Publisher to enlarge and print them out. I cut out the pieces and adhered them to a sheet of foam core. After cutting them from the board, I loosely assembled the cottage to look for any problems with the design. My roof pieces were a bit short, so I made a notation on each of the pattern shapes and then disassembled the house.
The plans also came with a gingerbread recipe. I didn’t know much about gingerbread (and still don’t), so I opted to take a chance with this recipe. After rolling out and carefully cutting each piece, I popped them into the oven to bake. I didn’t know what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t huge, puffy shapes of gingerbread. I didn’t know it was going to expand! I removed them from the oven and placed my pattern pieces over each shape and cut them out again. I can’t really complain – we enjoyed eating the scraps.
Once all of the pieces were cooled, I moved them to racks for storage. According to the directions, the house sides are to be decorated while laying flat. Hmmm…I would have just slapped that baby together and then tried to decorate it. Once again, I realize just how little I know about this kind of “construction.”
As I mentioned in a previous blog, I am not great with an icing bag. The instructions called for lots of this kind of embellishment, and I knew I needed an alternative. Obviously, I will have to use it for some areas of the house, but for most of the details, I am going to fall back on my tried and true fondant.
For the last couple of days, I’ve been working on the front of the house – making shutters and trying other decorations from the fondant. I want to get a feel for what is going on the cottage before we really get started. Now that it is beginning to come together, my daughter Carlie is going to assist with the rest of the project. As my older daughter will attest: she will now find out just how crazy her mother really is!
In my next post, we are going to decorate the remaining pieces and assemble the cottage. Until then, I wish you all the peace and joy that this Christmas season holds.
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