I touched yesterday on the seemingly insurmountable task of making a gingerbread house in which I have been mired all week. I'm happy to report that, with a little tweaking, I have finished the job! Here's how it went down.
I don't have cupboard space for a standing mixer, and my husband goes mental if there is stuff all over the counters, so every year I make gingerbread dough using a hand mixer. And every year, I blow it out, the dough being so thick, the mixer starts to smoke and then just conks out. But thanks to my Black and Decker Power Pro mixer, this year did not find me making a late night run to Rite Aid for a replacement. Even through the three batches of dough needed to replace all the walls that kept breaking.
The recipe I followed is from the original Martha Stewart Entertaining. I adore her, but let's face it, I am no Martha Stewart. Her recipe creates what she calls a "Gingerbread Mansion" and it is supposed to look like this:
The first problem I encountered was evident upon removing the front piece of my mansion from the oven.
And another CRACK!
I thought that, perhaps, the crack would improve once I put in the windows, which I did with the aid of a Google search for how to make gingerbread house windows. I used butterscotch, and Martha should really try it, as her method of boiling sugar and pouring it onto a sheet and then affixing the windows with royal icing is not only stupidly time consuming, but downright dangerous.
Alas, the cracks were only made worse by the addition of the glass.
So I remembered what Martha advised in the introduction to her recipe:
"Except for the exterior shaping, a memorable gingerbread house calls for last minute decisions and spontaneous invention."
I heeded Martha's advice and made what seemed only reasonable with all my cracked pieces.
A gingerbread crack house.