Last week on of my friends gave the Sweet Tooth by Lily Vanilli – a charming baking book full of preposterous sweet eats such as “Popping Candy Fool’s Gold Chocolates” and “Bacon and Maple Syrup Teacakes”. She said it might come in useful for my blogging.
You bet your arse it will, Jen.
This kind of stuff is way out of my comfort zone, so rather than just ripping off the recipes and offering a couple of half baked (HA!) tips, I will take you through a moment by moment experience of me having a crack at this brilliant confectionery nonsense.
As its Christmas, I thought I’d start with the gingerbread…
Look at that! It’s got an ACTUAL CHILLI in it. Let’s go –
Okay, first beat a whole egg plus a yolk together. Hang on, what? will two eggs really not do? Ah, there is a note – apparently the extra yolk will make the bread softer. Hmmm. Better be pretty damn soft for me separating an egg to be worth it. Okay, fine, done. I put the egg white in fridge to pretend I’m going to make meringues with but actually to throw away after 3 weeks.
Next, you measure out the butter, sugar and golden syrup into a bowl. Lovely. Then whisk for 6-7 minutes, until fluffy. 6-7 MINUTES. Okay…
I can’t find the beaters for my electric whisk.
Yay found them!
Oh okay I can’t find the body of the whisk.
STILL Can’t find it 🙁
I resentfully get the food processor out and scrape the sugar, golden syrup and butter into it. Ugh.
I turn the food processor on.
Food processor is making a funny noise. Also, smells a bit burny. Also, the mixture does not look “very light and fluffy”, more like buttery sand.
Four minutes later and the mixture is pleasant smelling cement.
I turn the food processor off to check on progress. It makes an angry whining noise.
Screw this, it’s never going to be fluffy. Time to add the eggs. A little bit at a time. But there is so little of them to begin with?
I add over half the egg by accident. Shit. Processor back on.
I add the other half.
I transfer the mix to a bowl. Hmm, this doesn’t seem fluffy. More, entirely liquid.
I absentmindedly lick the spatula. HOLY SMOKES this stuff takes of sunshine and happiness. Golden syrup is DELICIOUS.
I stare at the bafflingly long list of spices, including cardamom pods and ground cloves. I do not have these. I will just bang in some allspice.
This recipe calls for 12g of ground ginger.
AND 80g root ginger as well!!!
That can’t be right can it? I grate 60g in and hope for the best. It is so gingery. My lungs feel all hot and itchy.
5g of nutmeg ain’t happening either. I only have this –
Okay, big breath. Half a chilli. This seems absurd. I chop it up *very small*… And stir it in.
Now we need 560g of flour. This is a ridiculous amount. More than a small bag!!! I pour it in. It puffs out around me. So much flour. NEVER going to be a dough.
I stir grimly. It’s still not a dough.
Omg it suddenly transformed into a smooth, silky dough. Maybe this will actually be okay? I wrap the dough up, stick it in the fridge, turn the oven on and clear up the apocalypse of flour in the kitchen.
I have a brief argument with Paul over how long the dough has been in the fridge. I think it has been at least 25 minutes. Paul thinks more like 5. I point out that I’m better at keeping an internal sense of time than he is. He points out that time is subjective, and I frequently state that it takes “at least an hour” to do the washing up, when in fact it takes 7 minutes. Stand off. I take it out of the fridge anyway.
I roll out the dough. Mmmm. So pliable actually. I use my delightful new Christmas tree cutters and stick in the oven for 15 mins and..
SUCCESS!! I think they could have maybe done with 12 minutes instead, but they look pleasing and smell delightful – Christmassy AF. And they DO have a really nice texture actually, so maybe that egg thing was worth it.And they’re sweet and spicey and something that I would proudly, rather than apologetically, serve to guests.
This wasn’t the easiest bake, but gingerbread just isn’t, and they were bloody satisfying. Although Paul said they could have done with more ginger AAAAARGH.
Next time, chocolate ganache and honeycomb tarts (maybe).