'Tis The Season
|The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.|
I don't even know how to start. First I should make it clear that the following post is not meant to offend Anna or Y, our lovely hostesses this month. They had a great idea and lots of members really enjoyed themselves.. and that's terrific!! But let's face some facts here, shall we?
The first bad omen was my thumb is still pretty useless. So kneading the dough would be out of the question (and no, I can't knead with one hand - TRUST ME I need both hands to do just about anything :P ). When this happens, I call in my favorite Sous Chef, Hubbs. That morning before work, I left out all the ingredients for Y's dough recipe - with instructions for him to make the dough.
When I got home that evening I opened the fridge to check the dough out and it was uhmm.. very very brown. Almost black. (bad omen No. 2) So I asked my Sous if he had run into any problems during the dough making. "Nope." was his reply. Okay, well I have only ever made ginger cookies in the past, never ginger "bread" so I thought maybe this is what it was suppose to look like.. maybe it'd lighten up after resting over night. I didn't have time to worry about it because we had grocery shopping to do.
Next morning... Nope that dough stayed black and turned rock hard. I took it out to come to room temp about 10 hours before I was going to roll it out - yeah yeah, I know. I wasn't thinking clearly. I had just woken up BEFORE the crack of dawn and the habit is for me to take what I'm going to need for dinner out of the freezer each morning before work. I was awake enough to realize it was Saturday and didn't need to take anything out, but not awake enough to realize that 10 hours was probably a lil too much for dough to come to room temp. But 3 hours and two cups of coffee later when I remembered I had taken it out way too early, it was still ROCK HARD. I used a chef's knife to stab it and then pull a chunk off - and I swear to the baby Jebus, the fakkin dough had age rings inside. You know, like a tree?? Like a petrified tree of gingerbread dough?? OHMYGOD.
So I brought my slab of petrified gingerbread over to my husband and presented it to him. "Are you sure nothing went wrong yesterday?" "Nope." Now something obviously went wrong - but we'll never know what. "Well f*ck" I said to myself. "I've got 3 women and 1 tween coming over in a few short hours to make gingerbread houses (plural), what the f*ck am I suppose to do now?" (bad omen no. 3)
Luckily, Recipezaar came to my rescue. I needed a dough that I could make tout de suite that didn't need refrigerating. I actually found one! And it didn't sound half bad. So I immediately
Anyhoo.. yes, I went back to bed. (omen no. 4? or is this 5?) Normally my lil weekend naps last all of 2 hours.. rarely longer. Unless, of course, I'm expecting 3 women and 1 tween over to make 4 gingerbread houses + make them dinner. No, on those occasions I end up sleeping FIVE hours - after I woke up and looked at my clock, I shot outta the bed so fakkin fast that I forgot to throw the covers off first, which got tangled with my legs.. forcing me head first into the wall beside my bed. GAH. (bad omen no. fakk it, I'M DOOMED)
So, 'kay.. do the math here kids. I took the original dough out 10 hours before I needed it. I checked it after 3 hours and realized it was petrified shite. I then slept for 5 hours. That equals 8 hours. Ten minus 8 equals HOLY FAH-REEG!! I'VE GOT 2 HOURS TO MAKE AND BAKE ENOUGH GINGERBREAD HOUSE PANELS FOR 4 HOUSES PLUS DINNER FOR 5 PEOPLE.
Okay I'll spare you the cursing and then slamming things when I found out that my Sous Chef used ALL OF THE GINGER in his petrified dough and didn't feel the need to tell me WHILE WE WERE GROCERY SHOPPING. Fast forward to 5 pm'ish when the gals arrived. I had JUST finished prepping dinner and I had managed to only make enough dough for ONE house. I figured I'd make more dough while we were eating dinner, but the gals all decided that one house would be plenty. Bless their cotton socks.
After dinner we immediately started to erect our house. Keep in mind, there were 4 adult women working on this - and at one point, Hubbs joined in. We started with a side panel and the front panel and lots of royal icing. My panels had turned out wonkey after they baked, but that's what the icing was for, right? The first two panels seemed to stay together pretty well.. and then we moved on to the 3rd panel.. so this one wasn't as cooperative as the first two. No big deal. We'll just use some of the frosted mini-wheats that were for our roof shingles to prop up the inside of the walls. We got it under control. We're women. Hear us roar.
While we did get all for sides of the house to stand straight up, when we put the roof on (already covered in shingles and 20 pounds of royal icing) it:
1- Made the walls start to cave in a wee bit.
2- Kept sliding off because they were too heavy.
So what do 4 intelligent women do in this kind of a situation? Why, they go get the blow dryer, of course! "We need to dry this icing out so the pieces parts will stay!" someone said. Yes, we made the Beavette stand there with the blow drier until the icing set up and stuck. Unfortunately, that never happened. Someone else said, "Dudes, the 14 layers of icing below the layer we're trying to dry has to dry first." And that was it for us. We'd been working on it for about 4 hours - not one decoration on it - and we gave up. We put a box over it and then stood their and discussed who was going to decorate it. They tried to put it all on me but I wouldn't have any of that shite. They started this with me, it was their rightful duty to accompany me on this gingerbread from hell journey.
June and The Beavette said they'd be back the next day to decorate.. but something came up so it was cancelled. Next day, same thing - cancelled. Finally we managed to keep Thursday open and spent 2 fun hours (no really, I had fun!) decorating the house. I got one side, June got another, and The Beavette decorated the rest. I think it turned out really cute. But I still couldn't wait for it to be out of my house. So when we were done, I packed up the remaining 90 pounds of candy for The Beavette, found a box for the house and didn't give them a choice but to take it all with them. *grin*
Many many thanks to my girls: Blimey, June, The Beavette, and Amy (we need a name for Amy!) for another fun filled night together.. can't wait for the next one - but NEVER AGAIN with the gingerbread. heheee!