Thursday, October 23, 2008

And now you’ve got soggy walls

…totally arcane reference to a Chris Rock joke. But, really, I do. Have soggy walls. And I’m not real sure what to do about it.

When I put the prototype together Sunday before last, the gingerbread was super tough (like hey, you could actually build a house out of this stuff tough). The structure then sat on the dining room table for a week. Last weekend I tested the structure and it was definitely NOT as solid as it had been. While there wasn’t any danger of the whole thing collapsing, the walls gave a little when I pushed. This was true across the entire structure—which leads me to believe it isn’t about thickness or treatment and is probably about either environment or the recipe. On the environment end of things—come on, it’s October in Southern California and that means one thing—Santa Anas. You can’t get any dryer than Santa Ana conditions. On the other hand, only live about a mile from the beach, so maybe it’s more humid than I thought. On the other other hand, maybe I need a new recipe.

I don’t know.

Since I’m not planning on living in the thing, I’m not even sure if I care. After it’s completed, it’ll sit in my husband’s office suite—which is super air conditioned 24/7…so…really…do I care?

Okay fine, I care. This weekend I’m planning on baking all of the pieces—so my idea is to cook the dough at the normal temp until it’s done and then reduce the temp for additional time. I’m hoping this will help to further dry out the dough.

In less potentially catastrophic news, I think I’ve come up with a solution to the white brick detail work: jimmies and sequins. No, I’m not recruiting helpers from Girls Girls Girls.

When I was a kid, it seemed like there was only one kind of cake decoration in my mom-only-makes-stuff-from-scratch-because-the-grocery-store-cake-is-evil-household: candy confetti (I’ve since learned that they are officially called sequins). Remember the stuff—it’s basically dried fondant sliced super thin and comes bevy of pastel colors. Well, four grocery stores and NO candy confetti later I’d begun to think I’d made the whole thing up. Of course, this is entirely possible considering that not only did I have an imaginary friend as a small child but my parents also tried very hard to convince us that cougars and big foot lived behind our house.

There is a fantastic restaurant supply store in Culver City called Surfas: This establishment is like Misanthropic Hostess Shangri-La. Just thinking about it makes me happy. I can spend hours lost in its overflowing aisles of exotically flavored salts and oddly shaped sauce pans. I figured if Surfa’s doesn’t have candy confetti, no one will.

I was not disappointed. They had confetti (sequins) AND white jimmies. Considering that I only need the white ones, betcha' can guess what I did Sunday afternoon.

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