Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The House that Gingerbread Built

When I began the process of making my very first gingerbread house a few nights ago, I felt a little bit more like Lucy Ricardo than Julia Child. When my molasses mixture began the expansion the recipe cautioned me about, it was like lava slowly warning me that danger was imminent and all I could try to do was save myself. I held the pot in one hand and pivoted back and forth in the middle of my kitchen trying to quickly decide where I should put it. I thought, "It's too hot to put on the counter...but if I put it back on the stove, it'll take me days to clean the burners...maybe I can put something on the counter to protect it...but AGH! I need to act fast, it's still rising..." Finally I set it on a cutting board on the counter. It took me a solid ten minutes of scrubbing to clean the molasses-ridden blob that landed on the floor during my indecision.

From there, fortunately, things improved. Over the course of two evenings, I was able to shape the dough (using a hastily scotch-taped cardboard model as a guide), bake it and glue it together with frosting made of confectioners sugar, meringue powder and water.

I decided to eschew my health-consciousness for a day of delightful sensory overload. The scents alone were enough to make the project worthwhile: cinnamon, cloves, chocolate...mmmmmm. The kids loved mashing the candies into the icing and made individual piles of candies they would eat when they were done decorating. Spicy gum drops were a new flavor for them, but one that was wholeheartedly welcomed. Since most of the candies wound up on the masterpiece, their binge of leftovers wasn't even that bad.

Now we have a centerpiece for our Christmas Day dessert table! (And a few torturous days ahead of resisting temptation....)

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to say I read your article on babble and loved it. It's the same way I teach my students. I try to encourage learning for the sake of learning, not for extrinsic rewards. Bravo to you.

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