This will be my first Bake With Me, so before I begin I’ll do a quick explanation of this new post category. Bake With Me will be a series of posts following projects that take a long time and/or are completed in many steps. Rather than posting just the finished project, I’ll be posting AS I make it… which means if I screw up, I let you know and show you the disaster. If I succeed miraculously, I’ll celebrate. You’ll experience the project as I do, for better or worse.
I’ve let one Christmas too many pass by without making a gingerbread house. No more! This year I set out to make the happiest gingerbread house of all.
So what is it, dear readers, that makes me happier than it has any right to? Bob’s Burgers. Sorry if you were expecting a more logical answer, but that show is the cat’s pajamas.
In addition to making me happy inside, the Bob’s Burgers house manages to both be a basic cube and have a ton of hard-to-execute detail. Enough to challenge me, but also not so much that I have to do a bunch of math. Perfect.
First, the recipe. The recipe I chose is absolutely edible, but also not especially tasty. This is I have no intention of eating this house; in fact I intend to spray it with acrylic once I’m finished. Once you spray something in down with a sealant it’s not exactly palatable anymore anyway, so I’m prioritizing sturdiness.
I ended up using a recipe I found on a different blog, called Haniela’s. The recipe can be found here. This recipe was absolutely perfect for my needs, though I did reduce the heat to 350F after my first two attempts ended up with the smaller pieces of my walls being burned. I’m getting ahead of myself, though.
The first step for any gingerbread project is figuring out your dimensions and making templates. In this case, a standard sheet of paper was exactly the size I wanted the front panel of the house to be, so cutting out my template was a snap. The sides were the same height, but just a tad wider. I decided the roof and details should be done in pastillage and royal icing, respectively, so the only parts that needed to be baked were the outer walls.
Once my templates were done, I made a double batch of the recipe (which ended up being more than enough) and cut out the walls and panels.
So, this is where things got stupid. As you can see in the second to last photo, the front panel has some very thin sections toward the bottom. Baking the whole panel without burning these parts was… hard. I tried various methods, and ended up burning and tossing two panels. My final method was to bake the panel at the aforementioned reduced temperature of 350F for 5 minutes, and then covering the bottom part lightly in aluminum foil for the remainder of the baking time. It worked, thankfully.
With my pieces baked, it was time to whip up some royal icing.
I used this highly scientific recipe:
A Lot of Powdered Sugar
Some Egg White
A Wee Tad of Lemon Juice
1. Pour powdered sugar in a mixer. Add a lemon juice and then add however much egg white it takes to look pretty. Whip it like crazy. The end.
With my piping bag at the ready and my pieces baked, it was time to work on some piping and make some pastillage! …Later, because we are now in the present and it’s past my bedtime. See you all in Part 2.