Fandango presented us with a gingerbread man having a marshmallow bath. I pondered stories for the image but felt inept at doing such a scene justice. Sure I could scatter in some jingle bells, sprigs of holly and tinsel but I felt it wouldn’t work well. So, I’ll give you a fitting recipe or two to admire instead for a change.
I wrote this post in answer to the following prompts:
Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #97 – The image above
FOWC with Fandango — inept
Your Daily Word Prompt — Admire
Ragtag Daily Prompt — Billow
Word of the Day Challenge — Bells
As many of you will know I am trained chef when not writing. That said I am somewhat inept when it comes to gingerbread. It very often leaves my oven a hard as a concrete wall! Anyway, this is how to make it.
115g Dark Brown Sugar 115g Butter
100g Treacle ½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Whole Egg 325g Plain Flour
1 ½ teaspoons Ginger ½ teaspoons Cinnamon
½ teaspoons Nutmeg ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
Water (to requirement) 400s Icing Sugar
8 drops (your choice) food Colouring
- Beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. (An electric mixer makes this much easier — Sing Jingle Bells to make the noise bearable!)
- Add the treacle, vanilla and egg and beat in well.
- In a separate bowl, mix together flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda. Then fold the flour mixture slowly into the b utter mix. At this point the dough should be sticking together nicely and should be fairly easy to manipulate. If not add a teaspoon of water at a time until combined.
- Halve the dough and shape each half into a disc and wrap in cling film. Place both halves in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours.
- Before removing dough from the fridge, preheat oven to 180º (350ºF).
- Place dough on a floured surface and roll out until about 5mm thick. Use gingerbread cookie cutters to cut out gingerbread characters. Place on baking greased and floured trays, around 2 cm apart to make sure they don’t touch during cooking.
- Bake for 8–10 minutes. Cookies will rise slightly and harden at edges. Leave to cool on a cooling rack.
- Add small amounts of water to the icing sugar until you’ve got the right consistency for icing. It should be reasonably stiff when stirring.
- Separate the icing sugar into as many bowls as colours you wish to use. Add a couple of drops of food colouring into each and stir in well.
- Then have fun decorating your characters. Use cocktail sticks, spoons and smaller cutters to help design. You can also add icing to a piping bag with small pen nozzles to aid in decorating. Allow to dry then tie ribbons and bows on for extra effect.
- Billow over a little icing sugar for snow after and serve.
I’d love to see and admire photo’s of your gingerbread creations if you try this recipe. Do send them to me via my social media pages.
What of the marshmallow I hear you cry! Well we can make a version of that too:
3 large egg whites 13 leaves of gelatine
700g white caster sugar 1 ½ tbsp liquid glucose
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped. Or flavouring of choice – gingerbread,
mint or eggnog extracts are perfect for Christmas.
sunflower oil for the tin
100g icing sugar 4 tbsp cornflour
- Whisk egg whites in a large heat proof bowl. Beat until soft peaks form then set aside.
2. Put the gelatine in a deep bowl or jug and cover with 200ml cold water to soften and set aside.
3. Add the caster sugar, liquid glucose and 300ml water to a large, high-sided saucepan. Cook over a medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 130C on a sugar thermometer. (Sugar is very dangerous when hot. Use caution – Tinley Tinsel recommends shouting -Holy-Baubling-Blitzen! To dispel burn pains).
4. Take the pan off the heat and add gelatine and the water it was soaked in to the hot sugar. (Do this with oven gloves as sugar may bubble and splash) Stir until the gelatine has dissolved. Carefully pour the mixture into a heatproof jug.
5. Return to beating egg whites and whip to stiff peaks. Whilst whisking, slowly pour in a steady stream of the syrup. Keep beating the mixture until it is all combined, smooth and shiny.
6. Add the vanilla seeds or a teaspoon of your choice of flavouring as detailed above.
7. Continue to use the electric beaters for around 8-10mins or until the mixture is noticeably thicker. At this point marshmallow is ready to use. It’s perfect for spreading between two gingerbread men. Or adding to hot chocolate.
Alternative serving method
1. Line a 25cm x 35cm tin or any similar sized dish with cling film. Brush over film sunflower oil. Mix the icing sugar and cornflour together and sieve a third of the mixture into the tray to coat the inside. Pour in the marshmallow mixture, level with a spatula and set for 2 hours.
2. Set a large sheet of baking parchment over worksurface. Sift on half of remaining sugar, flour mix. Turn the marshmallow out on to the dusted sheet and gently remove cling film. Dust with a little more of the cornflour, sugar mix.
3. Dust a large sharp knife with same mixture and cut the marshmallows into small squares approx. 3cm x 3cm sieving a little more cornflour sugar over all cut sides and knife as you go. (You may not need all the cornflour mix but coat well to prevent sticking).
4. Serve straightway or keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days, separated with layers of baking parchment.
Happy baking and don’t if you feel inept in the kitchen. We all end up with icing sugar billowing everywhere, swearing jingle bells and making concrete gingerbread from time to time. Just give it ago and dont forget to share so I can admire your creations.
Thanks for reading my friends. Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holiday!