thank you, cazza, will do
thank you, cazza, will do
Hello to all you beautiful gals and dapper guys! I'm a long time reader, first time poster and was hoping to get some advice from you talented and wonderful people.
Every year for Christmas, I set myself some humongous baking task to give away. This year is gingerbread houses. Oh yes, in plural! I'm making three houses this year and scenery to boot. It is the first time I have ever made a gingerbread house so I'm learning as I'm playing. I think I have everything in order so I can just slip, slop, slap and voila, three pretty houses constructed, decorated and ready to be given on Christmas Day.
I have already designed the houses (three different designs), made cardboard structures of the designs and cut the templates. I also have printed up templates for royal icing transfers to be started this week and have started the fondant (with Tylose) figures. The four different doughs are mixed and have been sitting in the freezer waiting to be baked this week. I also have bags of chocolate and lollies at the ready.
I knew I would run into some problems as I live in Queensland, Australia as high humidity and heat are the joys of Christmas. So, I made a "test shack" a week ago to test the dough, see how things should progress and to try out a few suggestions I found in this post and around the internet. This is where I need some advice.
I used burnt sugar to join the walls and roof of my test shack which worked somewhat well. It set quickly but a wee bit tacky and it is still tacky a week after making. I don't think it was at the correct stage when I used it. I am planning on reinforcing the joins with a light smearing of royal icing. Is this the best method considering high humidity?
I am also having problems with my biscuits being too soft. Two of my doughs are a light colour and I don't want to burn them. I added extra flour and tried cooking the biscuits for longer at a slightly lower temperature but they had brown edges and were still soft up until today. Even today, they are soft on the outside but have a bit of a snap to them. Should I just keep them at the higher temperature and bake for longer than recommended? Does anyone have some tips?
I want to start the final process of melting windows, attaching transfers and lollies, piping decorations and construction of the houses on the 22nd of December, as I want them to be fresh as possible for nibbling. Is this feasible if I have all other aspects ready to go?
Sorry this post is so long and I thank you in advance for any help you can give.
i learned from "frankies attic", an old and unforutunately expired website, that using honey instead of molasses in the dough reduces the damage and unpredictability that humidity induces into walls and structure--
i understand you already have your doughs ready to go--and i don't know if you used molasses but i've used that principle for most all my gingerbread and i've never had an issue--
as far as gluing with cooked sugar in a humid environment--not your best choice-- royal icing without any of the cooked sugar would be better--if you can get gum arabic to add to your royal it will strengthen it--i'd use royal--
for windows--crushed melted butterscotch candy disks are the least reactive to the environment--
again i learned these precious gingerbread facts from franky's attic--
these peeps are the experts http://www.gingerbreadexchange.com/
Thank you so much for replying K8!
I used Golden Syrup in the recipes and apparently that is good for humidity (cross fingers). I've started baking some of the pieces tonight and Ill' see how they are when they've cooled.
Thank you for the advice about the burnt sugar, I was worried about that. I can get my hands on some gum arabic and give that a go, I was just worried about the drying time with the royal icing.
I have clear/yellow butterscotch candy that has been imported from America as I can only find the creamy ones around here.
Thank you so much for the link! I have pored over Ultimate Gingerbread and Gingerbread House Heaven for the past two months. Again, thank you! The more information, the better.
awesome on the golden syrup--i've never used it--i would love to see pictures if that is possible--no pressure--hope all goes very well and you are very welcome--
i think if you are careful to be efficient with applying the royal you hopefully will have good results--at least better than with burnt sugar--and melted chocolate is another possibility but--not in the heat--
i tell yah what i like to do for really large buildings and this might be of benefit in the extreme conditions you are in--i set the walls down into the bottom board--by that i mean i cut a floor for the building out of a couple cardboards so it's three eighths to a half inch deep-- glue & place the walls against that then place more thick cardboard around the outside perimeter of the building so that it has that little bit more stability--just a thought for you--and you might need to extend the pattern to allow for the extra sunken/hidden bit--
happy gingerbreadin' to you ♥
Ahhhh, the Christmas and New Year rush is all done and I can finally sit down to reply and show photos!
Since you asked K8, I took a photo of the three types of dough I used for the houses. I used Win's Edible Gingerbread House recipe on page 22 of this thread, just changed the spices and used butter instead of shortening and Golden Syrup instead of Molasses. My family also don't like a spicy gingerbread so the spices were different for each one.
The first one is normal gingerbread, the second one had no ginger in it and the bottom one had no spices at all (it was nice and had a delicious golden syrup flavour to it).
And here they are baked and partially decorated.
Due to the heat and humidity, I did not put the roofs on until I gave them, which was a good thing because they only stood for about two hours before starting to collapse.
The royal icing held up really well, so thank you for that advice K8.
I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year!
oh no they didn't fall! omg--honey does not react to humidity--i use honey to substitute for a lot or all of the molasses--maybe try subbing honey out for the golden syrup? i so want yours to last longer than two hours--my little trees are 8" tall and definitely not as gravity defying as a house but i've shipped them all over the country and they will stand for weeks--and the houses i've done in the past--massive creations stand for months--i did the rialto bridge partially and it stood no problem-o
no no no no no--switch to honey for walls & roofs at least--don't let that work go down the tubes!
and i love your stuff --thanks for posting!!
i love the figure modeling and your teeny tiny piping is perfect
oh i just scrolled up and see that we had the honey discussion before--well now we know!
This may not be the time of yr to ask this but I am already gearing up for it..... I have been asked to do a GB workshop for a homeschool community. I would provide a already assembled house's and provide the frosting & candy along with helping along the way. Ages 4-10. My question is I'm not sure what to charge. Any suggestion?
did i promise pictures? all i did was my usual 8" 3-d trees and maybe a sleigh or two last year which i have posted before -- i can't find what i said -- what did i promise?
but funny you should bring this up -- gingerbread is in the oklahoma state sugar art event this year sept/oct -- which i know oklahoma, u.s.a. is a bit of a journey for you cazza but i was trying to get motivated to finally finish my rialto bridge -- i get it so far then since there's no end game -- no one to present it to i poop out -- i have zillions of ideas to fill the 'shops' with that line the bridge but ... i'm also completely unmotivated to compete-- i would maybe like to show it if i got going... ... .... just any minute ... there's a museum that has a gingerbread display every year ... thought maybe i'd gift it to an italian restaurant ... ....
what pictures ?
here's a tree waiting to get shipped -- makes a cute centerpiece --
the recipient just slips the two pieces together --
below are some snowflake cookies and an airplane cookie tossed in for good measure ;)
The pictures were of the tree that you showed above. You said you were making a whole tree farm. I must admit I was hoping you would assemble them all, just for the hell of it, so we could see a picture of them all.
I keep thinking about gingerbread but never get around to it. I really MUST add it to my to do list.