Originally the plan was to make some tiny cute gingerbread houses using a kit I was gifted at Christmas. Things didn’t quite go to plan!
I started off with the kit below. Actually mixing the ingredients and baking them was absolutely fine (you may have seen it taking place over on my Instagram story). It was slightly tedious cutting out the individual shapes for walls but not too bad. At this point I had high hopes for my tiny gingerbread goodies…
I let my gingerbread cool and then got out the icing bag and began to pipe around the edges of each piece, like instructed before sticking the pieces together and holding them in place to dry. The first house just would not hold, so I thought I might be applying too much pressure, I let go slightly but it still wouldn’t stay. Next I tried propping it up, then I tried employing helpers to each hold a piece. Nothing worked so I tried making my own icing, thinking that might be the issue. I made several different variations, changing up the consistency each time to try to pinpoint to problem – but none would hold the pieces.
In the end I decided the problem was that I hadn’t cut out the gingerbread with enough precision, I was ready to give up. When suddenly my mother came up with a brilliant idea.
We briefly talked it through and then I grabbed an old wooden chopping board and made some runny icing. Using spatulas we covered the board in the runny icing, smoothing it over to create an even coat, this would become the ash covering the ground of Pompeii.
Next we took the failed gingerbread houses and began gently pressing them into the icing – if pieces of rooves fell off in the process they were simply propped up elsewhere or leant against the side to show the destruction that had taken place. I constructed a makeshift church which I decided had suffered damage, namely, the roof had caved in – so I propped some gingerbread pieces inside. Basically we covered the whole board in piles of gingerbread and propped up structures we’d attempted to create, then we dusted the whole masterpiece in icing sugar and stepped back. In less than an hour we’d turned a disaster into a historical work of art!
I hastily snapped some photos, in my awful kitchen lighting, before everyone jumped in and grabbed a piece! It was certainly messy but it tasted good!
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