Friday, 13 January 2012

Christmas gingerbread men... and santas... and cows!

Last Christmas my friend BakingAddict gave me this book, "Dress your gingerbread". It has a standard gingerbread recipe at the beginning, then loads of designs to decorate your gingerbread as different characters and animals, as you can see on the front cover.

I wanted to make some edible gifts at Christmas and decided gingerbread men were fairly festive, quick to make and would keep better than other things I could have baked. I also wanted to make the cow as my boyfriend's last name is pronounced 'cow' (though it's spelled differently). And while he's probably had a lifetime of cow-related jokes and novelty gifts, it's a new one for me, and I'm quite enjoying it!

I used a recipe for the gingerbread from the BBC Good Food website but had to adapt it slightly as I only realised half way through the recipe that I had run out of golden syrup - so I used a mixture of runny honey and black treacle instead!

So I made some gingerbread people and got stuck in decorating. It was more fiddly than I'd expected (aren't these things always?!) and as I wanted to use up odds and ends of icing, some of it wasn't as soft as it could have been, which made rolling out the sugarpaste a little tricky at times.


First of all I made some penguins: I spread a little buttercream on the gingerbread, and covered it with black roll-out icing. I used the same gingerbread cutter I'd used for the biscuit to cut out the icing so it would be the same size and shape. I made the white circle on the front and the beak from roll-out icing as well.

Next I decided to have a go at santa. Again I spread buttercream over the biscuit, so the roll-out icing would stick. I piped chocolate buttercream to make a belt, buttons and to mark the end of his trousers, and I used white icing for his sleeves and beard, and also made a little hat. He looks a little bit evil but I was baking about three things at once on Christmas Eve with my parents due to arrive any minute, so things were a little bit rushed!

And here we have a herd of cows. These were my favourite and quite easy to make. Again cover the gingerbread with a little buttercream and then place a piece of white sugarpaste on top to cover the whole biscuit. The black spots are just roll out icing placed quite haphazardly (at this point the black sugarpaste I was using was quite dry, as the packet had been open a while. Random question: what's the best way to store sugarpaste once it's been opened?). I happened to have a small amount of brown sugarpaste left as well, so used that to make the cow's face, and piped eyes and a mouth on in black. I also rolled a small piece of brown sugarpaste and bent it slightly to look like a pair of horns.

I packaged up a few of these and some other gingerbread that I had iced plain and put them in little bags as Christmas gifts - and I had quite a few spare gingerbread people that I didn't ice that I enjoyed myself :-)


1 comment:

  1. So glad you got to put the book to good use as I've not used mine yet. Love the cows!! The penguin and santa look good too. I must try some next year. I've not used roll out icing before so not sure about storing it.


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