This is Throckmorton, who will be assisting today. I brought him in because he's done the gingerbread research that I am, frankly, too lazy to do. He also enjoys measuring and drawing straight lines
Here, T. Is planning the windows. See him try to hide his index finger? Not making the carpenter joke again. Which reminds me- you may wonder what's become of Hadley and Hildegard?
See why I don't like measuring? All these lines have to be straight! Straight lines don't figure in to tasty treats very often. Think Oreos. But, back to H and H. They have jobs, for heavens sake.
Hildegard is the publisher of Vanity Fair. Here, she is having words with a certain badly coifed editor. Something about ad pages.
She laughs, because she can.
Hadley is JPMorgan's outside counsel. Her client thinks the government is picking on him with non-stop investigations and enormous fines. She listens patiently.
He thinks the government actions are hurting his stock price. Hadley thinks he's a drama queen.
Put all the ingredients in the bowl of the mixer and, well, mix. You can be pretty casual about the gingerbread part of this adventure, because you are not going to eat it. And things can go wrong..
And the g-bread will still do it's job. For instance, in the 2nd batch, I forgot the baking soda. Know what happened? Not much. It wasn't as dark as the first batch and probably not as crumbly.
But it's just here for building! So pat it down and refrigerate. Later, Throckmorton will taste it, then do that tongue slapping thing, followed by Oreos.
You might wonder why bother with gingerbread when you could easily bake mud into these shapes. Because of the smell! Your house will smell like Christmas from the moment you open those spices.
Molasses also contributes a lovely fragrance. I'm wondering, though. If you sold the product by which all other slow things were measured, would you put it in a bottle with a tiny opening? Yeah, no.
Back to the counter! Throckmorton has those steel bars out again. Aren't you glad you have them? So, get rolling, and measuring...
Throckmorton has very important and professional devices for measuring. Sadly, neither told him that I didn't make enough dough.
Here, he uses the "bench scraper" as cutting tool. Where, you ask, are the big knives? Patience.
These are the steps of our house. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until "firm", says the recipe. It's pretty firm going in the oven so that's kind of vague. Take them out right before they burn.
Recipe says to trim rough edges, so get that big knife! Your mother will definitely let you do this.
Now for some fun! Isomalt is the "food" product that is going to melt into clear windows. It comes from a candy store, and says, right there, reduced calorie sweetener, but let's just not eat any.
Add water and stir. But really, don't eat this stuff. The only ingredient is "isomalt"? I'm pretty open minded about dare-I-say, junk food, but I wouldn't eat anything that begins with "iso".
This is a good time to talk about safety. This is not safe! You should not do this part. One of your parents should do this while you watch from a distance, like from space. It's so hot.
When the chemicals have dissolved, stop stirring and let it boil to desired temp. It's a good idea to put the thermometer on when the pan isn't already hot and full of boiling goo, but it's up to you.
I'm showing you this because pros always tell you to wash down the crystals that form on the sides with a wet brush. But, there are no crystals! This is boiling plastic. Now, if it were sugar...
The plans are under the silpat so we can pour directly onto the pattern. We forgot to tape it down, but do that too. A lot of people bake on silpats but it smells like baking chemicals. Use paper.
Forgetting the never-eat-it part, Isomalt is a fabulous product. Once it hits the right temp, you can pour it for a long time. Nothing like sugar!
Throckmorton gets rid of bubbles by dragging them to the sides. This was the first set of windows, so we're figuring things out as we go. We didn't have a Snapguide like you. But this is fun.
While it was still hot, we put the bars down to form the edges.
It remains workable so long we had time to do both sets this way.
The big knife was used to make the short side cuts and to make impressions on the windows.
The best part of isomalt is this- you can reheat just until it melts and pour again! This time, we used bars as forms. Better idea.
A little trip outside got them to cool off completely.
I took a thousand pics of these. I didn't know the shiny side of the silpats had a pattern. Otherwise, ours would've been perfectly clear. Next time.
Here we go! More measuring and straight lines! Did I mention Throckmorton is an engineer? They love this stuff. And math. This is going to be the base for the house.
We're going to need royal icing as glue. T. separates eggs. Eggs are easier to separate when they're cold, so go to the fridge and get a bunch. You'll only use 1 egg white but you need to practice.
Whip that egg white with 1lb. Powdered sugar and water until it looks like this. Use a funnel if you have all day. I got bored and poured it directly into the bottle.
So nice. This stuff is so sticky you could probably glue a basketball to a wall, but do not try that at home! Also, a pastry bag works for this job, but you'll get covered in goo.
Did I mention the hacksaw? T. loves saws and is so happy I'm letting him use it in the kitchen. He is cutting candy canes to use as supports. No matter what, that dust will get on your floor.
Throckmorton left the wrappers on so there would be less dust. If you are paying attention, you know there is dust. And it's on the floor.
Here they are, glued together. Put them on waxed paper to dry.
Mies held his house up with steel, but we only have candy canes. Here Throckmorton glues some cardboard together hold the floor off the base.
Here it goes. We're wondering why we didn't use sugar cookie dough because this is so dark. Then we remember- gingerbread house! Duh.
We need to hold the roof up too. We have Elmer's but the engineer is using icing. I told you.
Throckmorton scoffed but I insisted that we decorate. You'll love it! Get the glass!
This is the best part. To put the glass together, Throckmorton propped the pieces up just so. All the glasses will hold it together once we figure out the next step. We need glue...
Oh right. We had a piece of isomalt that we played with while it was still warm. Danger. Danger. You aren't allowed to do that. Here it is, ready to melt back into glue.
Use a cute little off-set spatula- what? You don't have one? Okay, a sharp knife will do. Apply the melted goo- no not you- your mother, to the corners. Let it sit 5-10 minutes.
Is that beautiful or what?
I sure don't want to be the one to pick it up. Which is why I always use assistants .
Put a bit of icing/glue on the bottom of the glass. Carefully. You don't want to be the one who goofs it up now.
A little more glue on the top of the glass and Throckmorton can put on the roof.
Wait, why doesn't the roof meet the glass? We ( and by we I mean Throckmorton) used many different measuring devices! I blame the gingerbread. That glass is perfect.
Maybe you won't notice the gap if Throckmorton puts a candy cane right there? That art is cool, am I right?
Now, for the steps. I'm not sure why the house isn't sitting on those carefully drawn straight lines. And Throckmorton isn't answering his phone.
Finis! We love it , as is, but we have gotten a few comments like " what about landscaping?" Or "what are you going to put under the house?" Or "I can see the lines". So?
We worked on it for about 20 hours- it got dark!- and we think it's your turn. Really, what have you done to help? Think of something!
- 1/2c Butter
- 1/2c Brown sugar
- 1/4c Molasses
- 1.0Tbsp Cinnamon
- 1.0Tbsp Ginger
- 1/2tsp Ground cloves
- 1.0tsp Baking soda
- 2.0c Flour
- 2.0Tbsp Water
- You know I forgot something.
Gates Mills, Ohio