Let the Baking Commence

Ahh, finally sorta, maybe, kinda, starting to be Christmas here. Maybe. A little bit. This weekend started with gingerbread cookies (cheating with IKEA UK chilled dough, Pepparkaka Deg, now sold out at my local store). Easy. Moving on to gingerbread houses. Time-consuming!

Honestly, I have cheated the last few years. Pre-made house kits courtesy IKEA UK (not available online, but still available in store for £1.95 for IKEA Family members). As a kid, my mom would make the dough from scratch. Molasses, brown sugar, the whole bit. The kitchen would be a disaster. My dad made templates from cardboard that would be safely tucked away with the ornaments every year. I’m sure they’re still there! Lots of powdered sugar for royal icing. Royal icing hardens into sugared concrete and has been known to give the recipient the feeling of a broken tooth on occasion. Really. Combine royal icing with some of those silver dragée balls, and you will surely lose a tooth! (Kidding, but not. Seriously, don’t let little kids eat them for sure!)

dragees-silver-4mm

Royal icing is tricky anyway. Too much water, too runny. Too little, too stiff. It’s a fine balancing act to get the consistency right and keep the icing soft enough to be piped & used as “glue” for decorating purposes. Then, the trick that is often over-looked. Soup cans. Or cans of any sort. You CANNOT just “glue” your house together with icing and walk away. IT WILL COLLAPSE!

Nope. You need cans. Glue, place, then use cans to gently support the house until it dries, which can easily take a whole day or more. And how steady is your hand? Piping those seams can take a good amount of steady work and the pressure after several hours will leave most people with hand cramps.

Here are all the bits and pieces:

As you saw from the post that half-posted the other day (and my subsequent apology for not being able to catch & edit the same), I was hospitalised for three days and never had a chance to finish assembling the houses myself. My mom and dad did it so she could take them to her work before everyone left for the Christmas holiday!

But if you do try and attempt it yourself, bright, fun, creative, and colourful should be the way to go for your candies! I purchased all of mine from Sainsbury’s as they honestly had the best selection – even better than the fancy candy shop in town.

Back to regularly scheduled content now that I’m home and feeling much, much better…

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