Saturday, December 28, 2013

Gingerbread House Competition 2013

This year was open to anyone to submit a gingerbread house, so Agatha and I cooked up a little hut on stilts for the Hawaiian themed contest. I used the term cooked metaphorically because we really modified a kit and went from there. The only thing we made was icing (see below for secret recipe).

Agatha did all the best parts, like the water, tiki masks, palm trees, and decoration. All I did was construction.

Photo Album I didn't think to take photos while I was at the contest, but I'll add competitors houses here when I get them.

Measureless Extreme Royal Icing 

shopping list:
Why are there no measurements?
This is so easy you don't need to measure anything.

Step zero
Be ready with everything you want to use this icing on. It can be stirred by hand to keep it from drying but it does dry quick.

Step one
Put half of your powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. The amount is up to you, but a 2 pound bag will build a house and have plenty left over for decoration

Put in one bag of unflavored gelatin from the box.

Stir these dry ingredients up a little and push them to one side of the bowl.

Step two
Add one egg white. It will likely roll off to the side opposite of the dry ingredients--which is what you want.

Use an electric mixer (doing this by hand is not recommended) on the wet side of the bowl and slowly mix in powdered sugar from the dry side. The electric mixer should struggle when it gets thick enough--this is a good sign! Keep mixing.

Depending on the size of your eggs and the amount of powdered sugar you have in the bowl, you might need to add a second egg white. The mix should be thick. I use a rule of thumb of 3 egg whites to every 2 pound bag of powdered sugar, but I try to use as few egg whites as possible.

Optional Step three
Throw in some color, but don't use it sparingly (how often do you get to use food coloring anyway?). Rich color takes a lot of food color. The food color gels are nice.

Post Mixing
First things first, get those mixer things (what are those called?) out of the mixer and into a bowl of water in the sink. They are a pain to clean anyway, they really suck to clean with gingerbread house grade icing dried on them.

Keep a spoon in the bowl for anti-dry stirring. Make sure it's a hardy spoon that doesn't bend under pressure.

Application can be done with a spoon.You can dip the edge of a gingerbread piece in a large bowl (watch out for crumbs). This past year Agatha used one of those plastic squeeze bags for application and that worked well. Don't be afraid to get your fingers in there. The strongest houses are the messiest to build.


None said...

They're called beaters, for part reference.

I concur on the bag, i prefer store brand double seal (preferably) sandwich bags. These work great but don't cut the tip off to far, start small and work up to the amount you'd like flowing out; then also use additional sandwich bags for multiple colors once you've made a white bag.

Fewer egg whites with the addition of gelatin is a great idea, currently I've actually gone the opposite and added more egg whites than usually, normally doubling the amount used, this supersaturates the mixture, allowing for storage for up to 3-4 days. When you do let the mixture setup in open air, it becomes rock hard, and will give you much more working time, however the end results will likely not match the strength of a gelatin based icing.

Thanks for sharing, this was a good quick read!

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jamesanderson said...

What a creative twist on gingerbread house making! The measureless royal icing recipe sounds intriguing. Can't wait to see the finished creations in the photo album!
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