|It's not perfect, but it's mine.|
June 11th of this year my small bakery, Pistachio Bakehouse, donated $600 of baked goods to No Kid Hungry as a part of a colossal undertaking to raise $100,000 collectively for the cause of ending childhood hunger in America. My dear friend, Charles Feruzza (formerly) of The Pitch, penned the details here. I was really proud to be a part of such an amazing event, even if my hands got tired from twisting about 200 soft pretzels! You can check out the full album here.
In addition to childhood food insecurity, one charity that's a favorite of mine is the CCVI, or Children's Center for the Visually Impaired, who - since 1952 - have served over 10,000 young children who are blind or visually impaired. The charity raises money to help keep the school running, and they look to the chefs of Kansas City to do so.
|The Garney Mansion, 2014|
|You can view this, in person, at Webster House! Vote for me for People's Choice!|
|This is a work-in-progress shot, but I sure do love the way the light comes in!|
The walls were glued together with homemade marshmallow, and the colored stones and columns were glued together with super stiff royal icing. Do you like the rock path? You can get the chocolate rocks at It's Sugar! on the Plaza, right here in Kansas City. They're addictive, though, let me tell you... It did take some time to do, but anything worth doing is worth doing right, especially for charity. I will say this, though: I can't pipe with a severely burned hand. All of the piping done for the rocks was piped with my left hand, so it took twice the amount of work. Anybody that ends up buying my gingerbread house for the charity can rest knowing that I put some hard work into it, dag nabbit.
I won't bore you to death with all of the details on how to make this gingerbread house, but here's my favorite recipe on how to make your own building gingerbread dough.
- 8 oz shortening
- 7 oz sugar
- 0.6 oz baking powder
- 0.3 oz baking soda
- 2 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp salt
- 8 fl oz molasses
- 2 eggs
- 38 oz AP flour
This is a basic cookie method; simply cream the fat together with the sugars, add the eggs one at a time, and add in the dry ingredients in 3 additions. Chill the dough while your oven is heating up, and prepare your pattern. For precision, roll out in large sheets, cut your pieces, bake halfway through, then cut AGAIN to trim off the excess! This is how you get razor-sharp edges on your corners, perfectly pristine lines on your walls, etc.
|This house took 4 batches of my gingerbread dough to make the entire thing complete!|
yields about a pound
- 12 oz powdered sugar
- 2 egg whites
Sift the sugar and set aside. Place the egg white and lemon juice in the standing mixer with the whisk attachment. Add about half the sugar and begin whisking on medium low until incorporated. Increase the speed and check consistency. Add sugar as needed to correct it!
With this basic dough in hand, you can create any gingerbread house you set your mind to. There are about a billion gingerbread house patterns found on Pinterest, and you - yes, you - can create this, because if I can do it, anybody can.
If you'd like to help the CCVI and donate to the charity, come to Webster House at 1644 Wyandotte Street in Kansas City, MO during normal business hours and find us! You can walk around, visit the shop, and donate to the charity by bidding on the house or voting for People's Choice! Check it out from November 30th until December 3rd...but I can tell you that my own house is sitting there, in the Children's room, right now!
Tune in tomorrow on KCTV 5 in Kansas City to see me on the news, talking all about it!
Happy cooking and happy eating - oh, and a VERY Happy Holiday Season!