Hilarious AND delicious! Beep Boop Beep EEEEP!
Now, I’m going to be taking a bit of a holiday- This is the last Robot a Day for 2008! However, I’ll be back January 1st, 2009, with all sorts of new and exciting bots for y’all. Since it’s the holidays, and I’d like to give you all something, but I’m too cheap & tired to actually make stuff and mail it to everyone, here’s the gift that keeps on giving; cookies. (Also this way you have to make your own gift. I’m mean like that.)
AMAZINGLY AWESOME GINGERBREAD ROBOTS
Originally, I used a recipe from the Joy of Cooking (Thanks Irma!), but I thought it needed some extra spices and it was too dry, so I overhauled the whole thing (sorry Irma!).
6 cups all purpose flour
12 teaspoons powdered ginger (I like things gingery. you can use less, wimps)
8 teaspoons cinnamon (see above re: ginger)
4 to 6 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 heaping teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon of salt
in another bowl, mix:
3/4 cup unsalted, room-temperature butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups dark molasses
1 tablespoon water or apple juice
now, mix those bowls together, in your preferred manner. I like to add half the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mix it all up, and then add the other half, stir until it hurts, the knead it until it’s all mixed. You want a dough that is thick, not goopy, but not at all dry. Now stick it in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, or whenever (ps- you can leave the dough in the fridge for up to 2 days), pull out that dough, and let it warm up before rolling it out. Generally, I wait until I get bored, and then pull of fist-size chunks and knead them until warm. People will tell you not to do this. I say, screw that. My cookies, my kitchen, my way. And come on, this is cookie baking, not rocket science.
Preheat that oven to 350!
Now, with a fist size piece of dough, roll it out on a lightly floured board (or on a nice, clean counter top. I use my awesome pink 1950’s table, personally). I like to roll it out to about 1/4 inch thickness, and I always dust the top of the dough with flour to keep my rolling pin from sticking.
To cut out the pieces, I just cut out the first one out free form with a knife, and then traced it to create the rest. For you, I include a template (right click, save-as, print at desired size, trace it with a knife onto the dough & cut out):
now bake those bots! Mine took 12 minutes, on the middle rack, on a regular cookie sheet. You want them to just be turning brown on the edges. When they are done, pull them out and let them cool on a rack. Once they are totally cool, you can ice them!
For icing, I just made it up. I added about 10 tablespoons of water to around 8 cups of icing sugar, but I had loads left. You want your icing to hold together, but it should be so dry at this point that it *almost* breaks apart, but you can mould it in your hands. Split your icing into three little dishes, you’ll need about half of it for bellies, a golf-ball size for hearts, and the rest for eyes. (I kept some white for moustaches, but that is entirely up to you). I did find that the icing was maybe a little bland, since it’s just icing sugar. I’d recommend adding some lemon or orange zest, or a drop or two of peppermint. Or vanilla. Just a little something to give it a boost.
You could also skip the icing/food colouring combo and just use candy hearts, fruit roll-ups, and licorice allsorts (or whatever candy you think of that works for the eyes, bellies & hearts). Just mix up a tiny bit of icing to glue the bits on. This would take much less time, but I like the look of coloured icing better.
Now, dig out those food dyes! For the bellies, I used one drop of red, and about 10-12 of yellow. You want to make sure when you are using food dye that you add a bit at a time and mix it in thoroughly. You can usually add quite a bit, but stop before the colour leaks out! For the eyes, I used one drop of green to about 6 drops of blue, and the hearts are pure red, all the way. Once you have your icing dyed, it’s time to decorate!
Start with the bellies. I put a glob about the size of a bazooka joe bubble gum piece on a bot in the middle of the belly, and then sort of patted it around into a square shape. This is where your icing consistency is important! Only do one bot at a time, or else the icing hardens into a funny shape on the robot. Mix your icing regularly in the bowl to keep it supple. Wash your hands between icing colours to keep the colours unsullied.
Once your bellies are done, do the eyes. This is the exact same method as the bellies, just smaller. I use two pieces around the size of a Canadian dime for each eye. Do all the bots, and then take a butter knife and score the eyeball mark in. You could probably get real wild here and make some of the bots cross-eyed. Give one a lazy eye! Make a cyclops! It’s totally up to you.
At this point, I decided they needed mouths, so I carefully scored a little line with a serrated knife. You could do this in frosting, if you wanted.
Hearts! Make sure your hands are clean and free of blue dye. Then, taking a very small piece of the red icing, shape it into a ball. Pinch it at the bottom, and push in the top with a butter knife to make a heart shape. Stick it on a bot and flatten it down a bit. Ta-Da! Your robot now has emotions and will fear you, ravening creator and destroyer!
I did find that I added too much dye to the red hearts, and they had a tendency, over 3-4 days, to bleed into the yellow bellies. This may have been hastened by my wrapping them in plastic wrap. I would recommend storing them in airtight containers instead.
December 19 2008 01:00 am | food