Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gingerbread Men

Gingerbread men are one of those cutesy Christmas things that I love to admire but have always been way to chicken to attempt.
I always imagine baking up trays and trays of cute little faces that giggle at me from little icing smiles but taste so bitingly gingery that I can't stomach using them for anything other than decoration. Luckily food network magazine anticipated my fear and swung in the completely opposite direction with these nice looking but borderline flavorless gingerbread men. They were passable, you know nice but they rely too much on the sweetness of the icing to really curl your toes. That said I'll concede that I didn't use their original icing recipe so I don't know for a fact that these wouldn't be heaven if they were made perfectly according to recipe. But you see I couldn't find meringue powder like they told me to use and though google said I could use whipped egg whites you can see how that could be a bit questionable in the hands of a newbie cook so I just went from memory and whipped up some butter cream. Worked just fine.
My only problem there, I went light on the powdered sugar and made the icing way too delicious and in fact if I hadn't made double what I needed in the first place, I don't think there would be any at all on the gingerbread men.

I seriously could not stop eating it.

Anyway what do you think of my piping skills? My absolute very first try that guy and the bottom and maybe two others turned out perfect, as for the others, well lets just say there's a reason they weren't photographed.

So to sum up gingerbread = snore for this round (will try again)
icing = dangerous, must use only for special occasions

* = see below
*Icing recipe something like this:

1 stick softened butter
2tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Cream everything together with a wire whisk (or a mixer but I don't have one) until fluffy and smooth, add more  confectioners sugar to taste. Use at your own risk.

*This icing recipe is technically double what you'll need unless you want to go crazy with the designs, if you're just going for the classic smile and outline like I did, halve this.

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