Sunday, December 8, 2013

How NOT to Make a Gingerbread TARDIS

I came across this clever Dr. Who TARDIS gingerbread house and thought, "How creative! Surely that's a project I can do!" Oh how terribly, terribly wrong I was. Kids, gather 'round and let me tell you a tale of how the TARDIS stole Kat's entire weekend with 8 magical mistakes...

Mistake #1: Converting all the measurements instead of finding a different recipe.
You begin by converting all the measurements into something you can understand. From grams to cups, from millimeters to inches, you'll spend quite a lot of time just figuring out how the heck to make the dough. And yes, this calls for 8 cups of flour. And no, the dough doesn't end up tasting good at all.

Mistake #2: Leaving it in the fridge for too long.
The post says to leave it in the fridge overnight, but that's a silly, silly thing to say. For you see, when you put it in the fridge, it becomes so hard that you can't knead it and end up pouring water on it, sticking it in the oven, breaking it into smaller pieces, doing anything you can just so that it can get back to how dough should be.


Mistake #3: Making all the templates they said.
I should have stopped when the dough was a big hard rock but no, instead I spent two and a half hours cutting out all the templates they say. To save you some time:
     *Do NOT make 4 sides -- make 1 and use it over and over
     *Do NOT make 4 side panelling pieces -- again, make 1 and use it over and over
     *Do NOT make 8 corner post pieces because there are only 4 corners, not 8, and make 1 template for it, not 4.

Mistake #4: Rolling the dough too thick
My dough was about 1/4" thick which was way too thick. The thinner, the better. Otherwise, you'll end up waiting for it to bake for 15-20 minutes instead of the 6-9 minutes recommended (and my oven was at 390 degrees).

Mistake #5: Not cutting out the windows in the dough before sticking it in the oven.
Now she doesn't say to do cut out all 8 windows, so I didn't. I just traced out the lines instead of cutting them out completely. Big mistake. When you read further down in the instructions, she says to put both panelling pieces on top of one another and then stick them in the oven (?!?) so you will need to have all windows cut out. If you don't cut them out beforehand, you'll end up having your poor husband help you cut them out when they're hard as a rock and crumbing beneath your fingers. And try not to have flour on your panels before putting them in the oven. The flour will stay there. Forever.

Mistake #6: Trusting their recipe for frosting.
Don't do it. Just don't. Go buy frosting at the store and use that. Or use a different recipe. Don't trust them for a second. Even with the tiniest hole in your bag, it will still come out like a drop of water. I ended up having to write the Police Box signs in marker, because I knew there was no way this thing was going survive.

Mistake #7: Putting the frosting on the entire two-window panel
Do not put your frosting all over the panel with two windows when wanting to put the other panel with eight windows on top. The frosting will show through the six windows and that's not the effect you want to go for. Put the frosting on the back of the eight windowed panel and then stick it to the two windowed panel (like the photo).

Mistake #8: Using tape to attach wax paper to panel for windows
Tape isn't going to stick to the panels so use frosting again. It's your only chance for making it look semi-decent.

When all was said and done, I'm glad I stuck with it to the bitter end, just so I could get this photo.


Moral of the story? Admire the work others can do, and admit that some projects are best if left alone.

TOTAL COSTS: Too much
However, if you're interested, you can pick up Lyle's Golden Syrup at Whole Foods for a little over $5

TOTAL AMOUNT OF TIME: About 24 hours
20 minutes to make the dough
17 hours in the fridge
2 1/2 hours to make the templates
3 hours to cut and bake the pieces
1/2 hour to frost (at which point, I pretty much gave up)

EASY-PEASY SCALE (1 super easy - 5 very difficult): My first 5 out of 5 blog
If I haven't convinced you enough not to do it, then give it a shot and let me know how it goes!

3 comments:

  1. If you need to use Golden Syrup in a recipe again, I'm pretty sure that the American equivalent is light corn syrup. It won't taste identical, but I've used American recipes that called for light corn syrup and I've substituted Golden Syrup and it works fine :-)

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  2. I would try it again with a different gingerbread recipe. I made a castle once in HS and it was awesome. Try one you don't have to convert and then learn from your mistakes above.

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  3. You did better than me. Last year I just gave up. My son is a true "Whovian" so am going to try again. Thanks for your tips.

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