Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gingerbread Men Gift Sets

I've had a leftover batch of lebkuchen dough in my freezer for ages. I was over-ambitious the last time I made lebkuchen and whipped up double the recipe in one go. Only after baking the first portion, did I discover how tough the cookies were, and how the kids did not fancy them at all! Thus, I was left with one recipe of unbaked lebkuchen dough sitting in the freezer.

I was in a quandry, because if I turned the dough into cookies, I'd just be stuck with a whole batch of unwanted cookies. Yet I couldn't throw the prefectly good dough away. So I decided to mix that one recipe of lebkuchen with one recipe of sugar cookie dough, hoping that it would make the cookie softer and less spicy.

Well, thank goodness that idea worked and I ended up with another whole batch of gingerbread men to decorate!

This time I decided to try royal icing, because I had a can of Wilton meringue powder which I had yet to try. (You can use raw egg white too if you are not worried about Salmonella.) I was very pleased that whipping up the royal icing proved simple enough.

Here's the recipe: (I only made half portion because I didn't need much)

Royal Icing

3 tbsp meringue powder
4 cups (1 lb) icing sugar
6 tablespoons warm water*

(makes about 3 cups of icing)

Beat all ingredients until icing forms stiff peaks (7-10 mins at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, or 10-12 mins at high speed with hand-held mixer)

*For stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.

I was extremely happy with how simple it was to make and use royal icing. I love its light texture which made it easy to pipe, and its perfect whiteness is gorgeous. It also dried up real fast. The only downside is if you use a lot, it's taste and texture when dry it's all that great. It also doesn't have a shiny finish like cookie glaze. However, I still think royal icing is the best for outlines and attaching candy and other decorations to the cookie.

All dressed up and ready to go.

Christmas gift sets awaiting delivery.

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