Thursday, December 01, 2011

Did I Really Say, "I Can't Find My Candy Cane Cookie Cutter!"?

I did.

There was a time in my life when, had you even hinted I'd one day own a candy cane cookie cutter, I would have snapped, "Is your brain made of candy canes? This is me."

But me is a mom, and moms metamorphose into all manner of things they pledged they'd never be. Like bakers of gingerbread for homemade houses.

Two years ago, I made homemade gingerbread houses for the first time ever in my entirely long life. (I think I have Magical Mrs. M. to thank for this new tradition though I use the concept of "thanks" loosely.) I got Gingerbread Back, remember? That year, I used paper templates like these and cut the pieces out by hand, thereby mangling them upon transfer to the cookie sheet until they mutated into something like this:

Then I got smart  and bought this cookie cutter set and at the same time, due to some perfect alignment of the planets, discovered parchment paper. (Previously, I must've labored under some delusion that parchment paper was something only the Alton Browns of the universe could afford. Or perhaps it was willful ignorance. Who knew it was parked next to the foil?) Thank you cookie cutter people, and thank you parchment paper, and thank you red wine (note to self: have Atticus pick up wine on the way home tonight.)

Moving on to 2011:  I can honestly say this is actually getting easy ... or, um, -er, anyway. Easier. Time consuming, yes, but no longer excruciating. (I'm sorry, beloved daughters-o-mine, it's true -- the first year was excruciating. Excruciating but fun? Yeah, that works.)

Last week we baked two houses and froze the pieces, and this week we baked one more, along with a couple of pans of gingerbread men (but no candy canes ... I cannot find my candy cane cookie cutter. There. I said it again.)

Ramona originally agreed to to do a graham cracker house, along with several of the other younger kids in our homeschool group. But then she asked if she could do a gingerbread church to add to our gingerbread village, and how could I say no to a church? It seemed like something I'd have to go to confession for. ("So then, Father, I told her no to the church, and she started to cry ... ")

So we baked a church. And more gingerbread men. And a noticeable lack of gingerbread candy canes. (But if anyone mutters so much as a word I'm going to resign my post.)

Other helpful links I should mention:

Here's a great photo-filled how-to for constructing graham cracker houses. (Scroll down for photos of completed projects ... I love the four-year-old's house. Perfectly cute and gloppy.)

Royal icing (aka sweet cement) recipe.

Alton Brown (nothing to do with gingerbread houses, just long-standing obsession with admiration for the man with whom I share a scorn for unitaskers.)


Charlotte (Waltzing Matilda) said...

I think we will be going the graham cracker route this year. And FYI... melted white chocolate is just as good as royal icing when it comes to glueing edible things together. It sets up just as fast and holds just as tight until demolition commences. :)

dog health pedia said...

very nice post

Karen Edmisten said...

Charlotte, the melted white chocolate is a great idea! I hadn't thought of that.

Lenetta said...

I have taken to buying a kit on clearance after Christmas and saving it for next year. I figure if it's gross, then that's motivation to avoid the crazy sugar high. :)