Thursday, December 23, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Day 207

Today I’m giving thanks for:

Gingerbread Day!
Every year we attempt to make a gingerbread creation that challenges our skills and fills us with excitement for the sweetness. In past years, we’ve had a house that the wolf blew down (it collapsed), another house that fell down, then a castle, then an amazing castle that actually won us an award, and last year we made a village so everyone could decorate their own house. This year, we hoped, planned, and dreamed big, coming out of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie with hopes of building a Dawn Treader gingerbread replica.

Hmm, well, after much debate we decided we would have to make it a simplified, representative Dawn Treader. We planned, researched, dreamt, sketched, and then made the dough. We planned more, and debated. Finally, we cut out our sketched templates, placed them on rolled out dough and started cutting. OOOPS! Yikes! We re-cut all the detailed pieces, and then I scorched the dragon heads in the oven.

We waited for pieces to cool, and patience to be renewed, and then we made the “glue” icing . . .a special gingerbread icing that holds like cement, but is still edible afterwards. With some extra careful cutting we re-shaped the basic boat to fit together, glued them, and waited. Things started sliding apart. We added more glue icing, and the girls and I added a few “islands” to our ocean around the Dawn Treader, plus frosted a yellow Aslan. At 9:30p.m., after six hours of gingerbread madness, interrupted only by dinner and a few breaks, we decided to wait for the icing to dry overnight.

We decided this is the most challenging project we’ve ever tried, and yet we felt joyful for the fun of making it, the jokes about holding up the poop deck,(Oh yes, it was that kind of humor) and the icing that we cleaned up when the bowls were mostly empty.

We’re not sure the dragon heads will end up glued to the front, or if they will end up resting on the sides of the boat. We’ll find out if attaching them is possible tomorrow.

So, I count this experience as a blessing, and all the ingredients that go into it as blessings including:

1. Gingerbread Dough.
2. Gluten Free flour.
3. Sketches of dragon heads, tails, and wings.
4. Sketches of boats.
5. Figuring out this puzzle of gingerbread together as a family.
6. Having a lion cookie cutter.
7. Patience.
8. Making our own powder sugar with regular sugar and a “magic bullet” grinder.
9. Laughter at silly, silly jokes, and deciding to rejoice despite falling sides of the ship.
10. God gives us the gift of creativity.

Scripture Blessings: “Rejoice in the Lord Always. Again, I say, Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe:
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup Canola harvest margarine
1 and ½ cups dark molasses
2/3 cup cold water
7 cups gluten free flour mixture (Sorghum, Garbanzo Bean and Fava Bean)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons guar gum
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon salt

Mix brown sugar, canola margarine, molasses, and water in a mixer on medium speed.
In a separate large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, guar gum, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, cloves and salt.

Add the dry flour and spice mix slowly to the wet mixture in the mixer on low speed.
Refrigerate the dough for two hours.

While you are waiting, either design your gingerbread creation, or pick out your cookie cutters.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll dough ¼ inch thick on a floured surface. Cut out your parts for your creation, or cut with cookie cutters. Place pieces on cookie sheets.

Bake 10-18 minutes depending on your desired cookie hardness. The crispest, hardest cookies work best for castles, or other large creations. However, the softer ones are more edible. We generally find ourselves baking some harder and some softer – walls, or other structural parts get the hard cooking, and then we eat them with lots of frosting added later.

After everything has cooled, put your creation together with “glue” icing, then use regular frosting and candies to decorate.

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