Thursday, 20 December 2007

Gingerbread Train

In previous years, I have made a gingerbread house and a gingerbread tree so this year it was time for a gingerbread train! Boof and PorkChop love trains, so it made it an easy choice. The only problem is keeping Boof's little hands away from it until we are ready to eat it!

I used the design from Family Fun's website: but I used the gingerbread recipe from the Wilton website: I replaced the molasses with golden syrup and the shortening with butter. I also needed a bit more flour. I have used this recipe quite a few times - it is fabulously flexible and forgiving! I love that you don't need to cream the butter and sugar, and also there is no need to refrigerate the dough. That requires way to much forward planning for me! I like to be able to make a decision on the spur of the moment to make some gingerbread and go ahead and do so in the minimum time possible! It makes quite a soft cookie, but I guess you could add more flour and cook for a longer time if you wanted something more crispy. It tastes great plain, but the addition of royal icing makes it beautiful!!!

As I trawled through the net to find the best gingerbread train, I came across a new tip which could apply for any roll-out cookie, but was particularly useful for the large pieces of gingerbread which formed the train. When you roll out the dough, roll it out between two sheets of baking paper, to the size of your baking tray (just cut off any excess and save for the next roll). Then transfer the sheet of baking paper (with the dough on it) to your baking tray, then cut out the shapes, but leave them right where they are and just remove the excess dough. It is so much better because you don't have to worry about the cut shape sticking to the bench, or the paper, or losing the right shape when you move it. It's also heaps quicker because you don't have to stuff around with flouring spatulas and the like to move the shapes. I LOVE this method! I think I will use it for any dough shapes I have to cut out from now on!

I also used this dough to make some Christmas cookies using my new Wilton push n print cutter. They probably could be smaller, but they were still pretty good. I decorated the snowflake ones with some of my royal icing which looked nice. I think you can get quite elaborate, but I was way too lazy!

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