December 14, 2013

How (Not) to Build a Gingerbread Bus: A Guide to Failure

It's Christmas time, you're feeling festive, and you stop and think, *gasps* "I should build a gingerbread house!" What says Christmas better than a Gingerbread house? Nothing really. 

Step one, find a building partner. I chose the lovely Miss Jewel; she has the face of one serious Gingerbread-er. 

Step two, come up with a really elaborate design for said house, that really is no longer even going to be a house, but rather a double decker London bus. Because that sounds like a logical plan and not too hard at all. Feel free to draw out an excellent sketch of your dream creation.  

Step three, find a fairly simple gingerbread recipe like this one, and spend an entire day making making mounds and mounds of gingerbread. 

Warning: Do not lick the molasses of the spoon. It tastes like all kinds of nasty. 

Step four, be really really proud of yourself because everything went better than expected. I mean, just look at the structure you've made for your grand gingerbread-bus. 

Step five, take a breather. Get some sleep. Become really, really optimistic about how just gosh dang amazing it's going to be. Nothing could possibly go wrong now. 

Step six, mix your frosting colors. Oh look a beautiful blue! White is already done for you! Yellow is no problem. Red.....ok well red may prove to be trouble.

Step seven, go to the store. Again. Get red gel dye. Use entire packet to finally achieve some general red color. 

Step eight, get to frosting! This will go surprisingly well. You'll be surprised by your outright fantastic frosting skills. You and your frosting partner don't plan on eating your bus (it will be so beautiful it can never be taken apart) so fingers are allowed in making corrections, as is general spoon licking. And maybe even some candy eating. 

Step nine, ten, & eleven, wait for things to dry. You will have your candy set, even a snazzy K&J license plate and Christmas greeting will have been added in sprinkles. Perfection. It's time to make your frosting: royal icing. Easy peasy right? 

Wrong. The answer is wrong. Royal icing is the devil. You think you can find a simple recipe like this online and everything will be dandy? Ohhh no. That's not how things go down. Instead, you attempt to put your gingerbread-bus together and it won't stick. It will simply fail to stand, even after you hold it together for countless minutes trying to get it to set. So you decide the best thing to do is start this step again. 

So here's step twelve, go into re-assembling your gingerbread-bus with a bit more gusto and a plan of action. You've got your marshmallow enforced retaining wall (this is serious business) a new royal icing recipe, and your pieces set in order of assembly. 

Now you're holding the pieces together, and this might all turn out alright. What could possibly go wrong? A power outage maybe? If this happens, it will crush all your dreams. Just be prepared for hysterical laughter and defeat. 

Step thirteen, when the power finally returns you will have just barely stabilized your pieces. They stand long enough to take some precarious pictures of the soon-to-collapse beauty. Including a photo of the never even properly attempted second story where your gummy bear passengers should have resided. 

Step fourteen (will it ever end?!), cry over the remnants of your masterpiece. 

Step fifteen, after accepting your failure and mourning your loss, find the light at the end of the tunnel. This light is the random gingerbread men figures you created back during step three, just for funzies. Enjoy the next several hours frosting your men like your various favorite British stars. We went for One Direction, Olly Murs, & Doctor Who with his Tardis (excellent choices on our part). 

So there you have it kids, your very own guide on how NOT to do Gingerbread. Since this incident I have learned a very important lesson: if you want a to build a gingerbread anything, take yourself to Target and buy a kit. Unless, you feel that the real holiday spirit in the hysteria of struggling. It just may be. 

Yours for the holidays, Kenna 

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