Monday, 12 January 2015

January Afternoon Tea Party: Gingerbread Elephants and Chocolate Brownies (Wheat Free)

Last November I decided to throw a monthly tea party at my community centre, which has an open invitation; the rule is basically show up with something to eat and you can come in and share everything else everyone has made and partake in conversation, games, movies, or whatever we're doing.

January's theme was Bollywood, or some bizarre reason. I mentioned at the last party that I'd always wanted to have a Bollywood house party, and the others caught on to the idea and thought it'd be cool to it for out next tea party.

As such, I decided to go with some Indian themed biscuits: gingerbread elephants! I remember as a kid getting a gingerbread elephant (and I wax lyrical about the experience in this blog post) and I've always wanted to recreate it. So: another baking achievement unlocked! I also made a batch of the old faithful chocolate browies, some topped with sprinkles, some with chopped nuts.

 So, in this post I'll just describe the elephants a bit more. I used the same gingerbread recipe as in my Christmas gingerbread houses and stars, and again used instant royal icing that I coloured using gel food colours, and the eyes are M&Ms. I used greaseproof paper piping bags.

The gingerbread elephant I ate had a colourful rug on its back, which is a typical British colonial image of an Indian elephant, which would have a colourful rug on its back for people to sit on when using tamed elephants as transport.

I had three different colours on the go: turquoise, baby pink, and baby yellow (if baby yellow is indeed a thing). I used white only for outlining the rugs on the elephants' backs, their toenails, their eyelashes, and for attaching their eyes. I choses brown, blue, and green M&Ms deliberately, being three common human eye colours... not so sure about elephant eye colours.

I laid the icing bags on the table in a line: blue, pink, yellow. I picked up the first bag, filled the rug, then the second for the detailing. On the second elephant, I picked up the second bag, filled the rug, then used the third for the detailing. The next elephant, I used the third bag to fill the rug, then detailed with the first. I continued in this rotation until I ran out of elephants, meaning there was all 6 possible colour combinations.

I could have used the white for detailing too, but I wanted them to be as colourful as possible with three colours; I also thought about using some dragées for extra flair on the rugs, but they were too small for that kind of detailing. Overall, I think they were very pretty! They remind me of little pachyderm party rings.

I had some extra dough left over from cutting out the elephants, which I did using a card cutout I had drawn in freehand of a simple elephant shape. I used a sharp knife to cut around the cutout into the dough, like I did with my Dinosaur Kimberleys (which contains a recipe for soft cakey gingerbread biscuits made with egg). I cut out some stars from the excess dough and decorated them randomly with icing and M&Ms. Those were pretty tasty: the combination of gingerbread, royal icing, and candy coated chocolate in one mouthful was actually very nice and balanced, if not INCREDIBLY sweet.

I really enjoyed making these, and they were a big hit! Everything was eaten, including the brownies (which will be my next blog), a bowl of Bombay mix, and the nibbles that the guests brought too. All in all, a success.

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