Friday, 1 August 2014

Anniversary Gift: Chocolate Dipped Gingerbread Teddies (Wheat Free)

So, I finally settled on an idea for my parent's anniversary gift by combining my two ideas into one: making gingerbread and dipping it in chocolate. And here's the result!

I was going to make some elephants, but I realised that I had no elephant cutters, and my freezer drawers aren't big enough to roll the dough out into sheets and then freeze them, which is what needs to be done to free-hand cut biscuits when using a really soft dough. So, I just combined a flower cutter with a heart cutter to make two grown up teddies and then the same technique in he next size down to make the babies. I used this dough recipe, using treacle instead of golden syrup.

Mummy Bear and Daddy Bear

Little Anna and Nixie Bears

Little Andrew and Paddy Bears

Once they were cooked, the didn't look quite right: the lines where I had used multiple cutters were visible, and some of the biscuits had puffed up oddly. I'm still getting used to my new oven and weird stuff like that is common at the moment. So, if there's one thing I've learnt in my nearly two decades of baking things, it's when things look odd either a) ice them, or b) cover them in chocolate. I went with option B, of course.

The brown dipping chocolate was 3.5 ounces (100 grammes) milk chocolate, 2 ounces (55 grammes) white chocolate, and 2 tablespoons (30 millilitres) sunflower oil melted together gently in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. For the love of all that's good and gracious, don't overheat it otherwise it'll go blotchy when it cools. It made them really pretty and smooth, and then I just decorated with a few touches of melted white chocolate, coloured with blue and pink.

I applied the white, blue and pink details not using a piping bag, but a medicine syringe. I went into my local pharmacy and asked for any auld plain medicine syringe for icing a cake, and they gave me a 2.5 millilitre syringe free of charge because they're nice like that. However, the syringe was very tricky to use because it only really had two responses to pressure: do nothing, or squeeze everything out at once... I made it work though.

To make the bows and noses, I squeezed a blob of chocolate and then using a cocktail stick dragged out the corners of the bows and drew the lips. I think they look a little bit more like mice than bears, but my parents copped that they were bears so I was more successful than I thought!

The box again this year was a challenge because the collection of teddies took up a lot of space. I bought two 42 pieces of coloured card, but it wasn't the heaviest card and had to be supplemented with an extra layer of card inside to make it more stable. Also, between me buying it and walking home it had become slightly crumpled.

All the fold marks are me doing an origami on it. I like to fold the boxes rather than glue them because I think it makes the corners sturdier.

So there we have it! Another successful anniversary gift to my parents. Happy anniversary, Mum and Dad!

THIS TIME LAST YEAR: Traditional Coconut Ice

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