Baking With History

On our (second) trip through Story of the World 1, we have sometimes picked activities that we’ve done before. However, sometimes the kids choose to do something that we haven’t tried before.

In Chapter 24, one of the activities is making a Gingerbread Parthenon. Since we didn’t do Gingerbread Houses for Christmas this year, the kids were wild about trying their hands at an Athenian temple. (Note:  We’ve only done Gingerbread Houses one Christmas & I purchased the pieces “ready made” from a local lady who sells them for only $5 and includes a great frosting recipe. So, it didn’t actually involve me having to MAKE anything. The kids did the assembly, frosting, and decorating.)

In retrospect, I think the instructions really meant for the Parthenon to be 2-D like this one. The thought really didn’t cross my mind at the time. So, we made the recipe in the Activity Guide blissfully unaware that we wouldn’t have enough gingerbread. (The instructions clearly state there would be enough for TWO Parthenons. I figured we’d be rolling in the dough. Pun intended.)

Two of our templatesWe designed & cut out templates using heavier paper. We rolled out the dough on a couple of silicone mats that a neighbor gifted me. Those were handy!

The kids put the templates on the dough & trimmed around them, keeping the scraps for the next pieces. A couple of my artesians decorated the top friezes with Centaurs or Greek god/goddesses. Sometimes, they cut a little too deep & the slice had to be frosted (see picture below). Overall, they did a magnificent job.

Some of our great carving

The instructions in the Activity Guide don’t give an oven temperature or how long to bake them. I started with 350 degrees F for 14 minutes.

Centaur carving

It was soon apparent that we wouldn’t have enough dough to get all the pieces made. So, I had to make another batch. (A half-batch would have been enough, looking back.) We had enough for some cookies later. The kids said it wasn’t the tastiest recipe they’d ever had, so if you plan on eating it, you might want to choose a different recipe than the one in the Activity Guide.

The second batch of dough was cooked at 375 degrees F for slightly longer than 14 minutes. One of the pieces got a tad toasty (burnt). Oops!

As soon as they came out of the oven, we used the templates again to retrim the edges.

I read about three tutorials before attempting the icing (recipe on this link halved) or assembly.

We pre-piped the edges (to give them just a little bit extra time to get sticky before putting them together) and used cans to support the walls so they wouldn’t shift too much when we let go.

Front of our Parthenon

Two walls up

Keeping the roof from sliding

My nine year old wondered if people had to step through the columns to get in since there wasn’t a door?

My five year old asked where the “circles” and steps were. …. Maybe next time, I told him.

The Finished Look

We only enjoyed our finished Parthenon for a little while before the Spartans invaded.

We were left with ruins…



About doucementgently

I'm a thirty-something female with loads of kids, a great husband, and lots of things on my mind. I plan on blogging about homeschooling, personal finance, the economy in the U.S., politics, family life, and the things my children do.
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