Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It Takes a (Gingerbread) Village

This week our class is building a gingerbread village to be displayed at the Dell Children's Hospital on Friday. We are working together on various large and small tasks to help construct the village quickly and get it done on time.

Since I have some artistic ability, I was assigned the lucky task of painting the creepy-looking white chocolate gnome with color cocoa butter (pictured at right). Chef Todd liked it so much, he is making a second white chocolate gnome for me to paint tomorrow. Awesome! The cocoa butter acts much like poster paint, so much so, that I forgot that I wasn't using paint. It dries awfully fast though, so if you're blending the colors to create a new shade, you have to work quickly before it dries and hardens.

Meanwhile, the others are working on constructing the houses and making the decorative elements out of the gingerbread to embellish our houses. Some are making the fences and stone pebbles for the walls and others are building the walls themselves and constructing the houses. It's a good team effort and everyone gets to try creating a lot of different items.

Things REALLY got fun when we covered one of the roofs with royal icing and chef brought out the blowtorch. A bunch of us took turns charring the tips of the royal icing peaks to give the roof some depth and texture. I finished up my day by helping a few of the others "pebble" one of the houses and shingle the roof with scallop-edged gingerbread cookies. They are all "glued" onto the houses with the royal icing, which hardens and acts as an edible cement.

We are close to completing all of the houses and should have everything but some finishing touches done by tomorrow.

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