Achieving “TARDIS Blue”

COOKING ADVENTURE #50: TARDIS Gingerbread House

TARDIS Graham Cracker House

Let me make this clear: I thought this was going to be ridiculously easy, perhaps even easier than my pinstriped puffballs from last week. However… I was sorely wrong. Every single stage of this went wrong at some point. I wish I was kidding. The worst of it was actually assembling the damn thing. You need four hands to do it… like playing Fantasia in F minor for four hands! Unfortunately with it being a few days from Christmas and schedules being crazy, it wasn’t possible to get together with my friends to do this recipe. So, I found myself attempting it alone… and without any kind of alcohol to soothe me as the madness slowly descended on me. But with all due respect, the TARDIS probably shouldn’t be that easy to create. After all, the thing is a time machine and has some pretty amazing properties. Making a psuedo graham cracker-wannabe version was probably the most difficult thing I’d do this holiday season. But also the most epic.

You’ll notice that I said graham cracker above. Why, you may be asking yourselves, did I not actually make it out of gingerbread? Because in all honesty, I was told that making gingerbread was very difficult and then cutting, frosting, and assembling this gingerbread into a free-standing structure… well, I’m sorry. I think that’s beyond my capabilities. If I make gingerbread for a Cooking Adventure, I’ll just make it on its own and call it a day if it turns out well.

The first thing I did was assemble my ingredients. I had bought some buttercream frosting with the intention of turning it into the lovely rich blue that the TARDIS is. I didn’t imagine it could be so hard. I was wrong. I was DEAD wrong. I scooped about several tablespoons of the frosting into a separate dish and mixed it so that it would soften up. Then, I added a few drops of blue dye, thinking that it would do the trick. When I began stirring it in, the frosting turned the color of a pale Easter blue instead. I added some more drops and stirred. It darkened to robin’s egg.

At this point, I realized that I was in trouble. I added HALF of the blue dye from the bottle, each time thinking that it wouldn’t be much more to make that nice darker blue. Nope, folks. I kept moving down in tiny gradual steps. I even got a strange grey-blue combo otherwise known as “Cadet blue” before I decided to try adding in some black icing to see if it would help. Pretty much did nothing. I then resorted to try putting a couple drops of green in. That turned the color more turquoise. I kept adding blue and soon was faced with a sickening jungle teal color that looked like it belonged more in Papua New Guinea than in that bowl.

It was then that I remembered that I’d bought frosting especially for the occasion, frosting I’d completely and utterly forgotten about: sparkly, deep blue frosting. And you know what I did, guys. Do you want to know the stupid thing that I did next? I didn’t want the teal frosting to go to waste, so I tried adding big globs of the sparkly blue frosting to it in order to turn it a similar color. And judging by how I’ve already called myself stupid, you’ll know how that turned out. I had no choice but to discard the hideously now glittering teal frosting in favor of the blue. I’d already pulled a few graham crackers from the package and laid them out on my baking pan. I squeezed a hefty amount on four of these and then very carefully with a knife, spread the frosting around. I did well up until the fourth one where the knife broke off a corner. I had to scrape the frosting off of that piece and spread it onto a new one.

Finally, I had four brilliant blue graham cracker slices and a broken in half one for the roof and floor done. Now, I love Doctor Who. I could draw the TARDIS with my eyes closed. I’ve viewed several pictures of it lately which made it easier for me to visualize where the windows and insets go in the police box. I took my black icing and traced where the boxes on the door would go, then took the white icing and filled in the windows up top, the notice sign on the left side and the police box sign above the doors. I had a plan to do all of the sides with the same design. Only problem was that I used so much black icing in my reject teal frosting that I ran out. So, I only ended up doing one side.

I then had the unwise idea to try and get all of the parts to come together whilst standing. That didn’t work. They all ended up collapsing, covering my hands with blue sparkle frosting as well as the tray that they rested in. I decided to let the frosted graham cracker slices set over night so that they wouldn’t smudge so much the next day. Truth be told, I was also getting really annoyed with trying to do any more on them. Trying to get four pieces of graham cracker to stand together with two hands is difficult.

The next day, I realized that the only way I was going to get the pieces to stick to one another was if I used some frosting as glue on each of the sides. I had some left over buttercream (non-teal colored) left over. With a knife, I spread it over one edge of a graham cracker slice. I then had to face it frosting side down in order to stick it to another piece. I thought all of the blue might come off but I was lucky. Because I’d allowed it to set, the majority of the blue frosting stayed on it. I attached the rest of the graham cracker pieces in a similar manner, spreading frosting on the edges until I had a box. I stood it up and worked it to a point that it wasn’t going to fall over. Then, I spread frosting over the bottom of the top piece and pressed that on. Now, all I needed was to make the roof.

The TARDIS roof is slanted with a finial at the top that glows when the machine is traveling through time. I decided that in order to make the roof, I was going to have to grind away at pieces of graham cracker with my thumb and forefinger in order to make a custom triangle shape. And I did just that to four quarter graham cracker pieces. I sat perched over the garbage while I pinched off crumbles of graham cracker. Finally, just when I thought I was getting a good triangle shape, I’d break off a corner. I didn’t start over though. Turns out, it was probably good that a couple lost their corners, otherwise they wouldn’t have fit on the top. I glued those in place with frosting as well. At this point, I decided I wasn’t even going to attempt a finial. I was covered in frosting, panting like a mad woman, and already sick and tired of staring at it.

In the end, it turned out better than I’d imagined. I think it would have been even better (and certainly more fun) to make with friends. I hope to make this a yearly tradition for Christmas, which means that next year’s Cooking Adventure will be to make an even bigger and better TARDIS. Oh yeah.

This week is, of course, Christmas. Wishing you the merriest of days, hoping that wherever you are, you are spending it with friends or relatives and are having joyful and relaxing days. This week’s Cooking Adventure will be in preparation of New Year’s. A dessert for your New Year’s Eve party that is delectable, delicious, and decadent. Gingerbread Tumble is this Thursday. (And yes, this recipe will actually have gingerbread in it.) Stay tuned!

~KSilva

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