Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Christmas Cookies in Blue



Friday, December 7, 2012

Building a Gingerbread House




After designing and baking your gingerbread house, it is time to assemble and decorate. Here are a few tips for assembly, followed by suggestions for decoration. Ultimately, it is your creation, so you can keep it simple or make your house as elaborate as you desire.


Supplies

  • Gingerbread pieces
  • ½” foam core
  • ¼” foam core for small houses
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Xacto Knife
  • Royal Icing **
  • at least 4 unopened cans to use as weights to stabilize while drying
  • small embroidery scissors
  • gelatine sheets


Lay out your gingerbread pieces out flat with house corners touching on a sheet of paper.

Move two facing sides inside the corner by exactly the width of your gingerbread. If your baked pieces are ¼” thick, then move two sides inward by ¼” each side.


With a pencil, trace the inside space. Straighten lines and shore up the corners to be a perfect right angle (90 degrees,) then cut the pattern for your foundation.


Lay the pattern over ¼- ½” foam core. Trace the pattern and cut the foamcore. If you are adding additions to your house, cut the addition to your pattern. The additions will be built on separate foundations and secured together later.


Run a bead of royal icing around the edge of the foam corn and set up two corner walls, securing with royal icing.


At this point, it is easier to secure your windows. Using embroidery scissors, just cut a square of gelatine sheets and secure with royal icing.


 You can also use poured sugar windows made ahead of time, then glue in with royal icing. It is easier to affix the windows while flat, but you can also secure them inside before you place your roof, if you like.

Set cans against the two walls to secure.

Repeat the process with the two remaining walls.
Pipe an extra line around each corner and allow to set for a few minutes until secure.
Pipe a line of royal icing around the top edge of your walls.


Place the roof. Depending on how large your house is and how heavy the roof, it may be necessary to secure with reinforcement (extra cans).
Pipe royal icing at the seam where roof meets on top.
Allow to set until dry.
Steeples and Chimneys can be constructed at this point, securing with royal icing.
Allow to dry before attaching to roof.


*If you have additions on your house, construct separately and allow to dry, then attach to the rest of your structure. At that point, you can add the roof.

Let the house completely dry before moving to the next step…the fun part! Decorating the house!



When the icing securing the roof has completely hardened, your house can be decorated with Fondant, Pretzels, Cereals, Candies ( gum drops, mints, pastilles, skittles, hard candies ect) Shredded wheat, Pastas, bitesized crackers, lentils or beans.
 Just use your royal icing to secure the decorations.
When dry the icing will act as a glue and hold the decoration firmly in place. For my houses, I cut fondant strips and overlaid them on the exterior.


For one house's roof, I textured a rectangle of fondant to make a shingled roof,


 but pastilles can be used to make a wonderful shingled roof or the house siding too.

For a fast and easy shingled roof, just pipe scallops directly onto your gingerbread roof!

 You can also spread a layer of "snow" made of royal icing.


There are no rules now. Anything goes as long as it is edible.
 Wilton makes a product called Sparkle Gel.
I used it to make icicles, but you can also pipe icicles using royal icing.
Just be creative and have loads of fun. That's what it is all about!

**Royal Icing Recipe

6 Tbsp meringue powder
12 Tbsp water
2 lbs powered sugar
Mix all ingredient until moist, them beat at a low speed for 7 minutes. Keep icing covered with a moist cloth when not in use to prevent hardening.



On the final gingerbread tutorial, a few ideas for accessorizing your landscape, and adding life to your edible abode!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Gingerbread House Baking Tips

This is the first in a series of three Gingerbread House Tutorials.
Here are a few baking tips for your Gingerbread, along with a few patterns for your convenience.



Gingerbread House Recipe
  • 1/3 cup soft shortening
  • 1cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1-1/2 cups dark molasses
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 7 cups flour
  • 2 tsps. Baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix shortening, brown sugar, and molasses thoroughly.
 Stir in water, Blend all dry ingredients; stir in. Chill dough.

A few tips for rolling out gingerbread:
Once your dough is chilled, it is easier to manage.
Cut dough in half.
Cut parchment to fit an 10X15” jellyroll pan.
 Spray pan and paper with a light coat of nonstick spray.
Form dough into a rectangle, then roll out on a floured silicone mat.
Roll with equal pressure from the center of the dough to the ends.
Flip the rolled dough onto the paper lined jellyroll pan;
Make a 10X15 solid cookie by rolling the dough to 1/8” thickness. 



Place your pattern on the dough and score with a pizza cutter.
Keep your cutter clean while working.

After tracing pattern pieces, leave all dough in place
 to prevent dough from spreading or changing shape while baking.




For the porch pillars, just roll out dough into two 1/2" diameter logs.


Using a toothpick, score a light indention or two on the logs to create a bit of interest.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake gingerbread  7-8 minute just until edges begin to brown slightly.
Remove from oven and and lightly roll hot gingerbread to flatten our any humps from baking.

Re-score on scored lines while gingerbread is still  quite warm

Work quickly and carefully.
If the dough cools too much the pieces will crack, however dough can easily be cut while hot.

Nest carefully place the parchment paper with the scored gingerbread onto a baking rack to cool completely.

When cooled, remove from the parchment paper and allow the bread to set for a 24 hour period to harden. 
Allow to harden at least one day before attempting to piece house together.

 ***
 Below are a few patterns just to get you started.
Cut your patterns from cardboard or foam core and assemble with tape beforehand, especially if you are adding
elements to your structure, such as a porch, vestibule, gables or any other addition you want to create.

This step makes it easier to envision your assembly when constructing with gingerbread and sugar and well worth the extra time.
If you label your cardboard pieces, you will find it much easier to identify how your pattern should be placed.

Be creative and have fun!

PATTERNS











 Gingerbread recipe shared from ICES, New Mexico chapter.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Happy Halloween

Whoo Hoo! Halloween is officially here!!!
Yippee! I would be doing handsprings if I had the body of a 12 year old!
But since that isn't the case, I am celebrating Halloween with an


Edible Punkin Patch!


First You will want to start off by making a batch of Rice Krispies Treats.
Now you can just use the original recipe or try my take on a Butter Pecan Krispies Bar
that I drizzled with Butterscotch Glaze to resemble Hay Bales.
Recipe is Here on this blog
Once you have your "hay bales" made, reserve some of the butterscotch glaze in a piping bag
for your Scarecrows and Indian corn.


Marzipan Scarecrows


Ingredients






Roll out a red and blue ball the size of a large gumball
and a white and gold ball the size of a small gumball.
Keep covered in an airtight container as you work.


Roll out the blue into a cord about 3- 3-1/2" long
Cut in half to make legs- and make an indention on one end of each leg.
Place on the edge of a clean styrofoam surface. I let this one dry out too much
while taking pics. But for a scarecrow, I liked the tear in the knee of the pant, so
I didn't redo it. If your marzipan dries too quickly, knead in a very small amount
of vegetable shortening to restore.
Flatten the red ball and create a T shaped piece (as shown above)
Using the back side of a knife, make indentions for the "shirt".


Divide the gold ball in half. Press one half with your finger to make a
straw hat brim.
Flatten the other gold ball slightly for the top of the hat. Brush the bottom of the
hat with a brush dampened with water and secure to the brim.


Take the white ball and make into a square. With Edible pens, draw
a face on one side


Using the butterscotch glaze ( You could also use buttercream if you choose)
pipe "straw" on the bottom of trousers. Pipe "straw " on the arms of the red shirt.
Secure the shirt to the trousers with piped "straw" and the head to the shirt in the same
manner.  Pipe more straw around the head and place the hat on top.
You can make these ahead of time and place on your "hay bales"
Or build them on the "hay bale" as you go.


Indian Corn




Candy Corn
Butterscotch Glaze or Gold Buttercream


For the Indian corn, Pipe the glaze in a V shape over candy corn as shown above.


Then continue to pipe lines around the outside of the V to create the corn shucks.


Punkin Patch Sign


Popsicle stick
small amount of white gumpaste
gum glue ( 1/4 tsp Tylose mixed with hot water )


Snap off about 3/4" on one end of Popsicle stick
Roll out gumpaste very thin and cut into a 1x2" rectangle
Cut another smaller strip of gumpaste about 1/2x1"
Brush the stick with a bit of gum glue and place face down on gumpaste
Brush the small strip of gumpaste with gum glue and place over
popsicle stick and gumpaste, as shown above.
Allow to dry completely face down.


When dry, write your wording with an edible marker.




Find a pretty plate and stack the Rice Krispies Hay bales.
Place your scarecrows, securing if needed with a bit of butterscotch glaze.
Continue to embellish with Indian corn, Mellowcreme Pumpkins


So Cute and a great way to start off the holidays.
Happy Autumn !!


Tutorial and Photography by Jacque Benson 2010 all rights reserved
This material may not be reproduced without permission from the author.

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It sifts from leaden sieves,
It powders all the wood,
It fills with alabaster wool
The wrinkles of the road.

It makes an even face
Of mountain and of plain, —
Unbroken forehead from the east
Unto the east again.

It reaches to the fence,
It wraps it, rail by rail,
Till it is lost in fleeces;
It flings a crystal veil

On stump and stack and stem, —
The summer's empty room,
Acres of seams where harvests were,
Recordless, but for them.

It ruffles wrists of posts,
As ankles of a queen, —
Then stills its artisans like ghosts,
Denying they have been.

~Emily Dickinson