Saturday, 19 March 2011

Sad Little Emo Gingerbread Men

Last year I came across these awesome gingerbread man cutters on the Pioneer Woman’s website. They’re called Already Been Chewed and they look – you guessed it – like they’ve already been chewed.

I ordered them  (God bless the internet!) and they arrived, and quite some time later I finally took them for a spin and was really satisfied with how they turned out. Sure, my floodwork icing leaves a bit to be desired (I actually didn’t bother watering the icing down, instead opting to smear it about with a toothpick), but I had fun doing it. I also succeeded in producing royal icing from scratch (i.e. from egg white, not from powder) that was of a pipeable consistency. It probably wasn’t as stiff as it should have been, but it was certainly better than my last attempt. Then again, I wasn’t quite as ambitious this time...

I used the gingerbread recipe from AWW Cooking School book I got from Grant for Christmas (tip to you fellas out there: if your missus likes cooking, a cook book is a mutually beneficial gift that just keeps on giving!).

Please note that I did in fact edit that photo and made the cookbook upright, but for some reason I can't fathom, even though it appears upright in all thumbnails, it insists on tipping on its side.

I was making an effort to use my new book, inspired by Kirsti’s cooking challenge), and even though they didn’t turn out looking quite as peppy as the picture (were they ever really gonna?), the texture and flavour was really good. Well, good enough to inspire me to eat them in groups of three (you know, one of each type of missing appendage, you know, for the sake of equality and all). The only down side is that they tasted ever so slightly eggy, but I reckon that could be combated with the application of additional spices (probably ground cloves) to mask it. They were still mighty tasty, though!

INGREDIENTS: Note: please check cup quantities - the g ones are right but I can't read the c ones
(Biscuit dough) 125 butter; 1/3c (70g) firmly packed brown sugar; 1/2c (175g) golden syrup; 3c (450g) plain flour; 2tsp ground ginger; 2tsp ground cinnamon; 1/2tsp ground clove; 2tsp bicarbonate of soda; 1 egg, lightly beaten; 1tsp vanilla extract; (Royal icing) 1 egg white; 1c (160g) pure icing sugar; food colourings

Melt butter, sugar and golden syrup in microwave safe bowl, uncovered, in microwave on High about 1min. Remove from microwave (caution! Hot!); cool 5 mins.
Sift plain flour, spices and soda into bowl; add melted butter mixture, eggs and extract. Stir until combined.
Divide dough in half; knead each half on floured board. Roll to 5mm and cut.
Bake 10mins/until golden brown. Cool on tray.
Beat egg white in small bowl with electric mixer until just frothy. Gradually add sifted icing sugar, beating well after each addition, until stiff peaks form.

Something I loved about these cutters is that you actually get a heck of a lot more mileage out of each roll-out of your dough, which saves a lot of mucking about. They fit together quite well, probably due to the absence of their limbs (heh. Have you ever been cuddling your partner in bed, and wished that you could temporarily detach an arm to make things more comfortable and less awkward? Wait, that’s not just me, is it?? Oh. Ok L). So you get a batch of biscuits that are a lot more even in texture and height, which is always a good thing, because it means they all come out quite uniformly.

Somewhere before this point, I actually remembered to play around with the shelves in the oven to get them at the right height BEFORE I turned the heat on, and in doing so, discovered what I took to be the thermostat's temperature probe was just hangin' out in the middle of the oven, right in the way, and probably broken. This was around the point where I began to swear...

So then I tried to fix it and put it back in those brackets you see on the side of the oven... and broke one of the brackets!

Oops. Also, that mark on my hand isn't dirt - it's a blood blister from doing the Tree to Tree Adventure on our cruise.

But I managed to poke it into the remaining brackets, and it seems to be okay...

So here are my delicious, uniform, sad little Emo gingerbread men.

Sorry about the photo, by the way. I was still using my awesome digital SLR camera (which Grant got me for my birthday... which I’m not sure I have actually mentioned on this blog, but the point is, it’s awesome) on Auto at the time. I think I might have figured out how to manually get better results now, though, so hopefully from here on in my (new) food photos will look better.

Oh, and next time I’m totally getting black food colouring and giving my Sad Little Emo gingerbread men hair. It’s only right.

Meanwhile, I have my eye on a set of NINJAbread men cutters! Click on the P-Dub link above for details.

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