By Lehni Wickes
Hello, hello, hello, Blowhard readers! I’m back in action after a one-week hiatus. As promised in my very first Blowhard post, I have indeed been trying a new recipe every week, but, honestly, I just didn’t have anything exciting to write about last week. (Let’s be really honest, I don’t have anything that exciting to write about any week, but we are going to let that slide for now.) I did try the drunken noodles recipe that I mentioned in my post about how Saffron is horse shit. I subbed out multiple ingredients, but it did have good flavor. I screwed it up because I added too many noodles, so my Drunken Noodles weren’t very drunk. Oh well.
Anyway, for this post I had grand plans of having a new culinary/art project finished up in time to rave about. As can be expected though, I didn’t exactly finish on time. (If you’ll refer back to my post about starting a hobby, I followed all the rules pretty well on this one. Right now, I’m watching TV after my planning phase.) At this moment in time I’d say that I’m roughly ¼ of the way done. The big project? Halloween themed gingerbread house!
The last few years I have been pining to make a gingerbread house at Christmas, but for one reason or another I haven’t gotten around to it. This year we are going to be staying in Arizona for the holidays, so I have been jacked about making a bomb ass gingerbread house for a while now. When I was little we made a house every year, and one year in high school I learned some sweet tricks for them in my culinary arts class. Well, in my excitement about making a Christmas gingerbread house, I had the grand idea of making a Halloween gingerbread house. This would basically be a jack-o-lantern substitute (with windows in my house I can put a candle in for decoration too!). I have had this plan for a while now, but, as most could probably predict, not only did I procrastinate but I got started and then took a 93 hour break before picking it back up. Part of my procrastination/stalling was sheer laziness. Part was realizing how sucky my trial run Halloween gingerbread house was looking. You see, while watching the food network and feeling smug about my sweet Halloween idea, I saw an advertisement for a show that is DEDICATED to Halloween themed cakes, gingerbread houses, treats of all kinds! All of them (obviously) looked way better than my sorry ass, half-baked house. Mine, at this stage, looks like a Pinterest fail. The good news is that I have learned a few things and hopefully my Christmas gingerbread house will reap the benefits. Here is what I have learned so far:
1. Making a gingerbread house as a substitute for a jack-o-lantern not only takes longer than carving a pumpkin but it is just as messy and is generally less satisfying (keep in mind I haven’t finished my house yet so maybe I will change my mind).
2. Making a gingerbread house is much more complicated than carving a pumpkin when you are gluten intolerant because you end up having to handle flour like nuclear waste so you don’t accidentally contaminate yourself.
3. Next time, a double batch of dough is in order. Side note: if you follow a recipe for ginger bread that has an attachment for a pattern, checking out the measurements might not be a bad idea . . . I made my own pattern and have generally been winging it for this whole process. Lets just say that the recipe I used didn’t make enough dough.
4. When your recipe doesn’t make enough dough and you try to use food coloring to make the dough darker, color matching the second batch can become a problem. (Whatever, I don’t care anymore. Lesson learned for next time.)
Well, I was 100% correct. My Halloween gingerbread house is what I would consider to be a Pinterest fail. I need to make one of those memes next to a really cool one that says “Nailed it!” Overall, I’d say I kind of had fun making this . . . Halloween, I’m sure, could be really cool, but generally speaking I think there is a lot more fun Christmas candy to decorate with. Since I want my Christmas house to look bomb AF, I think I’ll grab one of the $15 gingerbread house kits from Costco and just spend all my time decorating it instead of baking it and screwing around with the patterns. As you can see (obviously) from my pictures, my cardboard pattern didn’t exactly work out that well.
That’s it for this week folks, I’m too tired and have had too much wine at this point to really elaborate much more on my gingerbread adventure. It was definitely not the coolest culinary undertaking of my day. Next week I’ll be discussing the other project that I was working on that (I think) is a lot more exciting. Until then, have a safe and rad-tastic Halloween.