Thursday, November 5, 2009

Part IV: Gingerbread City 2009 Wizard of Oz Update & Quick Apple Streusel Coffee Cake

Before sharing the very limited progress in our Gingerbread Land of Oz, since our last gingerbread post, I decided to incorporate a recipe for Quick Apple Streusel Coffee Cake, courtesy of the Wizard of Oz Apple Trees.  I made this one morning, before work, with apples from our Julian trip.  It was just as delicious as the Quick Apple Strudel I shared in that post, but was a little easier to put together on a whim.

Quick Apple Streusel Coffee Cake


For the cake:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, melted
1 1/2 cups chopped Granny Smith apples (2 to 3 apples)

Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Sift flour and measure then sift together with the other dry ingredients. Beat the egg, then add the milk and melted shortening. Pour the wet into the dry then add the raw apples and mix well. Pour into a well greased 8-inch square pan (I used a loaf pan). Mix together the streusel ingredients and sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake at 400 degrees F about 25 to 30 minutes (it took about 45 minutes in the loaf pan) or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Ok, back to gingerbread!

We are making progress on our gingerbread Land of Oz, we really are (I'm trying to convince myself), but our Halloween Party took center stage this past week.   The Land of Oz landscaping (28 batches of Rice Krispies Treats) is now covered with a light dusting of snow.  We covered the Rice Krispies with Royal Icing to assist in preservation and structural support.  All the "snow" will eventually be covered in fondant, flowers, trees, cornfields, poppies, etc.

The Tin Woodsman's Log Cabin is almost done.  I piped in Royal Icing for the chinking between the logs.  I plan on adding some roofing tiles, and some moss and foliage over parts of the roof.  I also need to construct the door, insert some fondant sealing around the window edges, and add a few details.

The rock chimney is made out of chocolate rocks, which we also found at a cute little candy store in Julian.

The Munchkinland houses are taking much more than their allotted time.  Originally, I thought this muffin tin pan (the two tins at the bottom of the photo) would create whimsical roofs

I tried pressing a thick layer of gingerbread in the bottom of the tins

And then lining with parchment and filling with pie weights

The gingerbread muffins emerged quite nicely, but they were a solid mass of gingerbread despite the pie problem, the roofs can be solid as long as they are not too heavy.  The houses themselves will be hollow, to allow the lights to illuminate through the edible frosting paper windows.

The roofs are covered with a beautiful blue tile in our Wizard of Oz book, so I first tried "painting" blue icing on the roofs with Royal Icing.  However, it looked sloppy and the roof wasn't that vibrant blue.  My first, waking thoughts, several mornings in a row, were of Munchkinland house roofs...very sad.

In order to salvage the now dull, light blue, iced muffin roofs, I picked out all of the blue M & M's from our leftover Halloween M & M candy dish and started planting them on, one by one.  I kinda liked the look - it was certainly vibrant!  However, when I realized it took close to 100 M & Ms to cover one roof, I had to make a trip to The Sweet Factory to buy blue M & Ms in bulk, at close to $15/lb!

Since creating four of these, I'm not entirely in love with the look, but I think they will all come together when the houses are assembled and some additional color and details are added.  I refuse to share photos of the disastrous, broken and cracked walls.  We want the houses to be round, which is easier said than produced with gingerbread.  We do have another plan.

Our goal was to be done with all of the main gingerbread structures by now, but work and life seems to get in the way.  I even considered skipping the Daring Cooks' Challenge of the month, but it is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world and I plan on spending tomorrow night and/or part of Saturday to prepare and photograph that Challenge recipe, due to be revealed on the 14th!

John has been working on the Witch's Castle and Emerald City, and those structures are coming along nicely - sorry, no photographs yet.  Emerald City is going to be beautiful, especially when garnished with the 5 lbs. of exquisite, emerald-colored rock candy crystals that were finally delivered to our doorstep last week!

That's all we have to share at the moment.  I know it's not too exciting, but I hope the photos will become more interesting and colorful as the details develop.  Time is ticking away too quickly as we approach the end of the month when we will have to deliver the structure to The Grand Del Mar for judging.

Thank you for following The Gingerbread Land of Oz.  If you have any ideas you'd like to share, I would love to hear from you.  Also, we need a catchy title for our it looks now, maybe The Blizzard of Oz!

"A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others."  The Wizard of Oz, 1939.


amycaseycooks said...

I love fresh baked treats in the morning. it makes getting out of bed so much easier.

Rose said...

That coffee cake looks perfect for a fall morning! Your city is coming along great =)