Finale! We did it! Sort of.
Anni and I seized the day! And tackled the final stage of our Gingerbread House Castle: the Assembly and Decoration. We pulled up the “Royal Icing” recipe and measured out our ingredients: 3 & 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 2 eggs, and 1 tspn vanilla extract.
Disclaimer: The recipe actually called for only the whites of eggs but Anni loves to use her yellow toddler whisk and insisted on using the yellow yolks too. (She loves anything yellow.) At this point, with fuzzy airplane wings and four charred walls, I thought, “why not?” Well, after blending, we learned that apparently yolks from my Mom’s farm fresh eggs are pretty potent and added a sort of Cadbury Cream Egg quality to this Royal Icing: a slimy, sweetly yellow, sludge.
So we dumped in what was left of the powdered sugar. And mixed. Now it was too thick. We added more vanilla which helped but it was still rather yellow… But we were out of leftover ingredients and water seemed like a bad add. The last thing I want at sundown today was a still-half-made Gingerbread house thing sitting under a tea towel on my counter!!! *Ahem.* So we spooned it into our $4.99 pastry tube courtesy of Safeway.
With the help of my awesomely eccentric, painter friend Nicola, we laid out the ‘design’ of our Castle and decided, it was in fact going to be a “Ruins.” Four charred walls and now-crumbling airplane / heart gingerbread cookies do not a Castle make.
I squeezed the pastry glue out of the tube but being thick, it clogged the spout and enthusiastically backed up, spilled out the top, and all over my hands. Sh*t. So we took the blasted spout point off and proceeded to use our hands in an attempt to somehow crafts some semblance of elegant design. And failed miserably.
But the four walls held!!! They held!
As I’ve learned in wine making, the prettiest of stemware can help mask botched productions. Thus, we broke out the pretty candy decorations! First off, I peeled open the Almond Rocas and placed a good handful into an extra strong Ziploc sandwich bag. Using our trusty kitchen mallet, I hammered at the Almond Rocas until they began to crumble. But the shards of firm toffee carved clean incisions into my sandwich baggies and after three or four blows, shot toffee across my kitchen…much to the thrill of the dog.
So we opted for chunkier styled ‘decomposed granite.’
Next came our vegetation and flower decorations — i.e. the bags of jelly goos and candies: I am not embarrassed to admit I had to wipe off the top two bags of jelly goos before tearing them open. But once open, Anni had a field day! Green and red jellies became shrubbery and red roses. Orange and yellow Skittles became flowers scattered across the decomposed granite ‘pathways’.
But the best idea came from Nicola — to add the colorful purple and mini pearls candy sprinkles to the top of the Gingerbread Ruins for color. Anni had a blast. Little fistfuls of spritely goodness thrown by chubby fingers was just what we needed!
And voila!! Our Gingerbread House completed:
I don’t think I will ever do this again….!