Monday, November 24, 2014

Adventures in Gingerbread

In the wilds of Kentucky, 1809
A boy was born
First name Abe, last name Lincoln...

The opening line of one of my oldest son, Elijah's, favorite books.
How do I know it by heart you ask?
I've read it approximately 900 times.
Lijee loves Abe Lincoln, and really, who doesn't?

So, when asked what he wanted to make for a local gingerbread house display, Abe's log cabin seemed an obvious choice. I thought it was a great idea. So proud of my smart, creative, interesting little boy!
Let's do it!
Let's build a log cabin out of edibles!
How hard could it be?
Spoiler's hard. Much harder than anticipated.
I didn't think so.

I've baked a lot, especially cookies, tens of thousands, so this should not be a problem.

The week of the log cabin, now infamous, at least in the minds of my family was an adventure, and this is how it went...
  1. Make Abe cookies, hats, Abe's dog and accompanying hat. This part should be easy, but not really. It involved cutting around paper templates, scaling to size and lots of broken arms and legs. On the cookies, not my children.
  2. Construct the house and cover it in pretzel "logs." Now, there really isn't any good way to cut pretzel rods to the right size, so I had to nibble hundreds of pretzels into the right size and shape. Yes, I nibbled pretzels like a little rodent. Ridiculous, you say? No my friend, I'm a mother and we do this kind of outrageousness when our children ask us to.
  3. Attach logs to house.Things have gotten real around here, so I've abandoned royal icing in favor of hot glue. This may be frowned upon in the gingerbread house making community, but I've gone rogue.
  4. Ok the time comes to attach the Abe cookies. And they're way too big for the house. President Lincoln is now a giant. Reconsider cookies and opt for a cardboard cutout of Abe.
    Look how happy he is
     that his mother spent a week on this house!
Okay. Good. Finished.
Time to drop the masterpiece off. I double check the info sheet to make sure I've got the correct drop off time, because I'm studious like that.
It was due yesterday.
This is happening. For real.
I'm super close to a mom fail on this thing.
I dial up the emergency gingerbread hot line number listed on the sheet.
I am totally committed to begging at this point.
But I don't need to, because the gingerbread hot line lady is literally the kindest person I've ever spoken to.
I can still drop it off.
All is right with the world.

Now it's time to make some gingerbread! This easy recipe produces a soft, not-to-sweet, molasses-y cake.

Elsie's Gingerbread

1 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening, such as Crisco
1 cup boiling water
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 pan.
  2. With mixer, combine molasses, brown sugar, shortening.
  3. Carefully add boiling water and mix on low speed until shortening is melted.
  4. Let mixture cool slightly and then add eggs.
  5. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and ginger. Mix on low until combined.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes.
Enjoy warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Also, a great companion for coffee the next morning!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE gingerbread! It's my requested birthday cake - I put peaches on the bottom and flip!