Christmas time is a good time to revisit gingerbread…
Last year, I made gingerbread house with minimum decorating and piping equipment while I was staying at my rented house in Hawthorn. I had a picture of it but it was taken using my Nokia phone’s grainy camera. It was not the greatest; but at least I can view my hard work. It was the first time I worked with royal icing, which was not particularly hard yet challenging. I found that cutting the house without using a proper cardboard template was far more difficult. My template stuck to the dough and I had to laminate it first and re-cut again. For my next attempt at a Gingerbread house I will buy the template cutout from baking shop as it is available every year when it comes to Christmas.
This year, I decided to makes some gingerbread boys and girls, Christmas tree, and angel cookies instead. I Googled it and found a recipe from Martha’s website with tips on how to decorate your gingerbread cookies. Frankly, I like the recipe that I used last year more than Martha’s recipe. The reason for this is that it is not fragrant; too bland and I could not taste those beautiful spices that were put into the dough mixture. I was pretty disappointed but it is part of learning experience. I could not find the recipe that I used in previous year when I needed it, and I only rediscovered it couple of days ago after the cookies had been eaten. 😦
Decoration is the most fun part but also requires extra attention and patience. I made my own piping bag using baking paper. I have never used a handmade piping bag before but I thought I would give it a go. You can learn how to make one from this YouTube link. I worked it out myself without the help of the video as I have seen them made before but also I may have done it the wrong way. Call me lazy that I do not care; but I think I cannot push myself to do something if I have no intention or mood to do it. I should have followed the guide and made a proper one for a better result. I will make sure I do it; ditch the laziness!
With gingerbread cookies, it is very important to cut all the cookie cutouts to the same thickness otherwise the thinner parts will end up burnt as they require less baking time. You can pretty much decorate it in any way you want it; this is the time for you to get creative. I noticed the availability of meringue powder in supermarket shelf, and people have been using it to create royal icing. Fuss free, no egg cracking and other stuff but I am a bit old-fashioned that I have not got to that stage yet and prefer to make my icing from scratch. I am still using egg whites to make it, the traditional way like an old grandma. Anyway, Bridget, a famous cookie blogger Bake at 350 shared her fabulous tips on how to make royal icing with various consistencies for different types of use.
Have you made a gingerbread treat or Christmas dessert during 2012? If so, please share in the comments below!