Saturday, December 13, 2008

Creating a Gingerbread House: Days Two and Three

Thursday was day number two in the gingerbread house making process. Early in the day, before my baby’s nap, we squeezed in a trip to the supermarket to pick up ginger and parchment paper. I’ve never used parchment paper before. Mom never did. And it just seems that if my Mom was able to create the most delicious baked treats without parchment paper, I shouldn’t have need for it either.

At home, while the baby was sleeping, S. and I counted out almost SEVEN cups of flour using the spoon and sweep method. I scooped and S. leveled with the straight-edged handle of a frosting spreader. Leveling seven cups of flour with three-and-a-half-year-old style takes a very long time.

As I mentioned Wednesday, I had two choices of recipes, the very complicated one theat printed out onto six pages and the shorter Good Housekeeping one. Having decided on the shorter one, I reached into the fridge to pull out three sticks unsalted butter. Only one stick left. Well, bundling up both kids and myself in hats and mittens and big marshmallow puff jackets that make buckling carseats impossible, just to go to the store, was simply not an option. So I took another look at the long recipe.

Luckily, the long recipe had the same amount of flour S. and I had already tediously measured. So we continued to measure ingredients and mix using the Bon Appetit recipe. S. did a fantastic job using my mortar and pestle to crush cardamom seeds. Anything a three-and-a-half-year-old can smash is a good thing. The spice smelled heady and rich.

We got the dough mixed up and while it chilled, we measured and cut the house patterns out of paper. There were A LOT of measurements in the recipe so I did a quick sketch of each pattern and then measured, drew and cut. S. decided the house needed a garage, a garage door and a deck. So she drew and then cut some random shapes with her kids’ scissors.

Well, the parchment paper worked like a dream! Per the directions in the recipe, I rolled the dough out between two pieces of the paper and then laid the pattern on the top layer of parchment. Using a paring knife, I cut through the top layer of parchment paper around the pattern. After removing the top layer of parchment paper and the dough scraps, I simply slid the bottom layer of paper with the dough cut-out onto a baking sheet. I got two sides of the house baked Thursday.

Yesterday, we finished the other two sides of the house and the roof, in between calls to the doctor, a trip to the doctor (where we waited for an hour to see the pediatrician for five minutes and receive a diagnosis of ear infection for S.) But gingerbread baking and planning was a fantastic way to distract a hurting little girl.

And today is decorating day! Now, if I can only find S.’s Halloween candy. I stashed it somewhere in anticipation of this day of decorating the gingerbread house.

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