I've been playing with youtube lately, learning the ins and outs. It's a lot of fun and making videos is a lot like learning any craft - it takes a lot of practice.
So does making good gingerbread sculptures, apparently. I need a lot more practice.
Here is a great website that reviews many gingerbread building recipes. I picked one and, as usual, made a few changes. And then a few more changes, and then the spices were all off, so I changed that too. Lucky for me I went shopping the day before the deluge and what followed on the Left Coast.
This is by no means the "right" way to do it, but as you can see, it sort of worked.
Happy Holidays everyone!
**Gingerbread (my wonky recipe)**
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup lard
1 cup molasses
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
a few drops of warm water if needed
1. preheat oven 350F
2. Put sugar, lard, and molasses in a pot on medium. Stir until melted and blended.
3. Mix remaining dry ingredients (not the water) in a large bowl
4. Pour wet stuff into dry stuff and stir really really really well until your wrist feels like falling off.
5. If still crumbly, add a few drops of warm water and keep on stirring.
6. Roll out 1/4" thick (or desired thickness) and cut into shape.
7. Bake on trays for 10-15 min (12 was the perfect time for mine)
8. Take trays out of the oven. Let gingerbread cool and harden completely before moving.
9. Assemble in your favourite way (I use Royal Icing - see below)
3 egg whites
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pound icing sugar
1. Put in a bowl and with an electric mixer (if you don't mind your wrist falling off you *can* do this by hand), beat slowly at first.
2. Once everything is mixed together, beat on high for 8-12 min. You cannot overbeat - I've tried. If you need the icing to be structural, beat as long as possible. If not, then 8 min is enough. You want the peaks to hold up when you lift the beater out of the icing.
3. Add colour if needed - I apparently suck at this and can give you no useful advice on the right way to add colour. A whole bottle of food dye and I can only get baby blue. Maybe next year I'll figure it out.
4. Put the icing into a plastic bag or piping bag. I keep mine in a plastic bag and only cut the tip just before using it. To store, keep at room temperature. Use within a few days.