Saturday, 5 October 2013

My Gingerbread man adventure! - Just a bit of work for the 'Depressed cake shop' ; raising money for the CHANGES BRISTOL charity

Okay, So I had the opportunity to get my creative head on to bake! I have been invited to bake a selection of sweet treats to help my friend raise money for a charity located in Bristol; raising awareness of mental health which is such an important issue to cover and is something I am very passionate about. 

Okay, so the specification for creating these treats is that they require to be depressed - so how about sad gingerbread men??
I reserched far and wide on the internet for one of those perfect recipes whereby they resemble just like the ones you will find in the bakery; delicious and crispy and the beautiful warm smell of ginger in the air.
Well, I came across one on the website which had quite good reviews on the recipe, so I retired to the kitchen. 

I had recently bought myself a nifty gadget which has been around for a while now but I just always assumed they weren't very good or reliable. Oh how I was wrong! I love my new gadget - the non stick silicon baking mat! What a fantastic invention! I rolled out my dough directly onto this mat and cut out my shapes with various cookie cutters and then delicately pulled away the unwanted dough. Hey presto, perfectly cut out shapes which haven't been mistakenly skewed in some awkward shape due to transfer to the baking sheets. =]

Ta Dah...

Gingerbread men freshly out of the oven all naked
 I left the dough to rest in the fridge overnight in a rectangular form ready to be rolled out the following morning.

In the morning which is now a Friday, I decided to challenge myself. I know this is going to sound really sad but I really find it hard to trust myself and so to do simplest things on my own I find really quite anxiety provoking. For instance, what I decided to tackle today was my fear of leaving my house to walk up the road where there is a little corner shop which supplies an array of sweets. Mentally, my head at the point before leaving the house would go round in circles to think of the worst possibly case scenario of what may happen on this specific journey to the shops - but I need to be able to find the strength to convince myself in that moment how irrational I am being and just deal with it - 'I can handle it' - I need to keep saying to myself.

And I did handle it! I left my house, walked up the street, on my own, into the shop, bought some smarties (two tubes) - blimey how shrunk the chocolate bars have become these days!! I also was brave to ask for a lucky dip on the Euromillions for tonight too. Argh, I knew the lovely shopkeeper wouldn't believe I was 20! 'You look 16!'. Well, I guess this will work in my favour when I am older I suppose. I handed over my ID and left with my two tubes of smarties and my lotto ticket =] WELL DONE BEA =]

I made it home! Time to prep my icing to be piped and my colouring of fondant royal icing.
I made two royal icings:
Plain and Coffee flavoured.

Then the fondant icing was made by using some plain white ready made royal icing and tinting it with food colouring:

I also used the smarties and also some milk chocolate chips.
I sketched quickly a few designs of my own which could perhaps represent the depressed nature of a mental illness and here is the final product... 

Top right; Coffee icing piping, milk chocolate dipped arms and legs, brown smartie buttons, milk chocolate chip buttons and eyes. Top left; White icing piping, milk chocolate dipped arms and legs, brown smartie buttons, milk chocolate chip buttons and eyes. Bottom left; same design but confused head. Bottom right; mini sad gingerbread man with coffee icing and chocolate dipped arms and legs.

Bottom and top left; anorexic gingerbread men (yes, men do get eating disorders too) Royal icing piped. Top left; coffee icing with the confused face. Bottom left; Milk chocolate covered gingerbread man with smartie buttons.

Close up of the confused head gingerbread man

Close up of the anorexic gingerbread man

Random selection of gingerbread men. Far left; broken arm gingerbread man, smartie buttons and chocolate dippped limbs. Middle; coffee icing iced gingerbread man with a ginger bread heart. Far right; Grey fondant iced gingerbread man, coffee piping and smartie buttons. Small gingerbread men; chocolate dipped limbs with smartie button and words that relate to depression ('Help','weak', 'save'...)

Top left; fondant iced gingerbread man with coffee icing piped and royal icing tie, confused face and smartie eyes. Plain gingerbread men with smartie buttons. Present gingerbread biscuit with coffee icing piped. 
Gingerbread Men - courtesy of 
125g butter, at room temperature
100g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) golden syrup
1 egg, separated
375g (2 1/2 cups) plain flour
1 tbs ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Smarties, coffee icing, white royal icing to decorate


1. Preheat oven to 180°C. 

2. Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the golden syrup and egg yolk and beat until combined. Stir in the flour, ginger, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Press dough into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight to rest.

3. The next morning, place the dough onto non silicon baking sheet with clingfilm over the top. Roll out until about 4mm thick. Use a gingerbread man cutter to cut out shapes. Remove unwanted dough around the gingerbread men. Repeat with any excess dough.

4. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven. Transfer to a rack to cool.

6. Prepare the icings in small plastic bags. Cut a small hole in a corner of each bag. Pipe icing over gingerbread men to decorate. Finish with Smarties and milk chocolate chips or whatever you fancy =]

Thank you for reading my blog it is greatly appreciated and I always look forward to hearing any comments from all you lovely bloggers out there =] If you are interested in helping me with raising money for 'Charity Bristol' and want to get involved, check out this website for more information - Changes Bristol

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