There are places in our world where fiction and dreams can come true.

10th December 2012
Bird Leg Cabin Gingerbread House

While I like to go into December thinking that I'm prepared this year, I rarely am. There's always last minute shopping on the 24th followed by the construction of the tree, the advent calenders being brought down from the loft 23 days late, and attempts at trying to calm the cat down when it sees a ball of tinsel. What's quite irritating is the unrealistic portrayal of "the perfect family" with the smiling faces enjoying activities in a spacious environment, simply lacking in the frantic return of a university-student brother. And so there are certain things deemed "Christmassy" which I haven't tried...Such as building a gingerbread house. OK I lie a little, when I was six I made one at school, but it doesn't count as it was a 2D house drawn on baking paper and I was stuck with the liquorish.

The problem with me and projects like this is that I can't be normal and build an idyllic house in gingerbread it has to be geeky...I blame my parents, a large poster for Star Trek: The Next Generation hangs in the family's living room. I quickly came the conclusion that I could make an edible Bird Leg Cabin, because seriously it allows you to say "edible level design" and it makes perfect sense!

So I went shopping and bought food! Including Gingerbread dough, which is slightly cheating but as it was my first time doing this ever, and how the execution was the main focus, I decided to not have the house breaking to be a factor that I would be concerned about.


AND FLOUR!

You Will Need:
  • Scissors
  • Normal A4 Paper
  • Non-Grease Baking Paper
  • Rolling pin
  • Flour (not shown in the image)
  • Gingerbread Dough (500g)
  • White icing (ROYAL ICING! NOT DECORATION...not that I used that...*shifty look*)
  • Blue decoration icing
  • Flaked Almonds
  • Matchmakers (or anything chocolate and twig shaped)
  • An oven and microwave or flame thrower
    (Golden edible balls are in the photo, but I didn't get a chance to use them for this)
LET'S DO THIS!

Draw the panels on a plain A4 sheets, I did this through estimating the size. While the building is rather complex, I found gingerbread to be quite forgiving; if specific panels are too wide or had become misshapen due to expansion, you can use a knife to shape them. Here's a quick guide to the number of panels needed:

(or x12 Base of  Chimney panels if you're making both sides)
I once applied to Remedy as I wanted to be an art director, and for some reason I didn't get the job.

You will also need a flat surface with enough room around it to use a rolling pin and occasionally flail in anger at the hatred your gingerbread seems to be exhibiting towards you. The dough I was using was stored in a fridge and so heating it in the microwave was suggested to make it more mailable. Place the Baking Paper over your surface and roll the dough out making it 0.5mm thick. Next, put your paper panels over the gingerbread and, with a knife, cut the dough.

Get an oven tray (or two depending on the size of your oven) and place the Baking Paper on it. Carefully move the cut out dough over to the oven tray, one piece at a time. Make sure not to handle it for too long or to adjust them too often as they will become stretched and misshapen.

I have no caption to put here as the photo is obviously that of pre-cooked gingerbread, so I'm just going to tell one of my favourite bad science jokes; Argon walks into a bar, and the bartender says "sorry, we don't serve noble gases here!" And Argon doesn't react.

Look! A smiley face! And this was the most productive thing I did that day....

OH DEAR GOD, IT'S LOOKING INTO MY SOUL!

Now place the gingerbread in the oven. For the 500g dough I bought, it was approximately 20-25 minutes, but it depends on whether it has gone golden and crispy. If it's still a little soft when it comes out of the oven, it's to be expected, it will harden as it cools.

While it's cooling, sort out what decorations you could put on it. For mine, I used a bag of flaked almonds, Quality Street mint Matchsticks, with blue and white icing.

Also, I used one of the Matchsticks to pretend I was a vampire walrus...It was awesome.

And with the dough cooled....

Yes this is a fertile land and we shall thrive, we shall rule over this land and we will call it...This land.

...NOW DECORATE ALL THE THINGS!

The first thing I focused on was the two windows at the front of the cabin; it's the smallest detail that this version of the building has. I wanted to not have it just as simple circles but swirls as it's more decorative and represents a "mad house" which in theory technically what the cabin is and quite fitting for a "psychological action thriller". I also did the swirls first before putting together the walls as it was my first time doing anything like this, and while it could have been smudged during construction, it was going to be harder adding the detail while it's vertical. You can decide when you add the windows, but I had very little problem with accidental chipping of the icing when I was constructing it after.

So below you can see the house with the roof, the walls and the base of the stone chimney (on both sides) together...

If the gingerbread Bird Leg Cabin could take Facebook photos...

...And I stupidly did the wrong thing and used the wrong type of icing. In my defence, I was advised to use the product as it was a seen as a suitable substitute, and my sister had already used the royal icing I got especially to coat biscuits which she then made into a periodic table. So the moral of this story is if you have an older sister who decides to make edible SCIENCE(!), than for the sake of your future sanity, lock away your royal icing.

Now for those who don't know about the different properties that different icing has, and are doing a similar project. Royal icing is the tough kind of icing which is perfect for putting together gingerbread walls as it sets hard. The icing that I used was one that came inside a tube and actually doesn't have a description of the kind of icing that it is....Seriously label, you had one job!...But it's decorative icing which is much softer and through trial and error appears to be fondant. On the plus side, it's the perfect mortar to use if you want to have a flat-pack IKEA house. 

The windows look green in the previous photos, this one is more true to the original TARDIS-blue colour.

A couple of minutes later, I had managed to install the two porch roofs, and used the Matchsticks to keep them upright. Depending on the size of your Bird Leg Cabin you can also make the fence  and other additions; I ran out of gingerbread quickly so Alan wrote the windows out of existence. I like to think that he does some DIY around the Cabin in between game launches, and that's how he acquires the nailgun in American Nightmare.

And now to the roof...

Matchsticks not only makes great icing-concealer attempts but also chimneys!

I used the white icing as mortar to stick the almond flakes onto the roof.  Almond flakes are awesome, but if you don't like them or you're allergic, you can also use things like crushed biscuits or chocolate buttons. I quite like the almonds because the pattern in the game looked like scales or feathers and so the nuts actually fits quite well. I did find that I had to go back and add more nuts on...especially as I got distracted and kept eating them to the point where I believe that one of my ancestors were part squirrel.

After putting a few more nuts on the roof tops, and at the front of the cabin, the gingerbread house was finally completed...




Dangit, if only had I used the right icing, the lines would have been neater.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the article. See you on Wednesday!

Time Taken: 4 hours

2 comments:

Hans and Gretel would think twice entering that building. I don't want to know, what kind of demented witch lives in that house.

...Baba Yaga?

Also, here's your Monday cat, Pickman: http://tiny.cc/9x93ow
Not as hypnotising at the forum-cat, but still...CAT! :P

Post a Comment

-- AAA GAMES --

In Development

Quantum Break Series

Alan Wake Series

Max Payne Series

Beyond the shadow you settle for, there's a miracle illuminated.

-- MOBILE GAMES --