Monday, December 10, 2012

Ninja-bread men: let's start this season right

The Tae Kwon-do Christmas party was this week and having been confined to the couch for so long I was excited to go. I also had a family event to attend on the same evening so I would be jumping straight back into socializing and Christmas prep.

On the day, I got out of work, got to the gym as fast as possible, worked out like a devil, got home, cleaned up, picked the outfit, made the dough for these ninjas, chilled the dough while doing the hair and make-up, cut the cookies,chill the cookies, baked the cookies, cooled and decorated them, strapped on the high heels, wrapped up warm and hit the road. At the family event we walked around for 2 and half hours and then I head to............headed to................gonna go to...............bed. As it turns out, you can't quite go from 0-100mph when you're just better. Damn! So these cookies didn't quite make it to the party, but they were enjoyed none-the-less ;)

These are definitely a twist on gingerbread, there is very little ginger if I'm honest. However with all the flavour packed into them you will barely miss it. They have an amazing combination of dark chocolate, orange, ginger and almonds that make a wonderful alternative to the ole gingerbread men and to say that these little guys pack a punch is an understatement. I chopped the chocolate and almonds into tiny slivers so that they would disperse throughout the entire cookie;I've included a little video below showing how I cut the chocolate for these. I've zero knife skills but hopefully it will give you an idea of what to do.

Ninja-Bread Men (Dark Chocolate, Orange, Almond and Ginger)

150g         Unsalted Butter
200g         Sugar
400g         All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp      Baking Powder
1/4tsp       Salt
1/2 tsp      Ground Ginger
1               large Egg
1 tbsp       Milk
1 tsp         Orange essence
100g         Dark Chocolate very thinly sliced
100g         whole Almonds

Preheat your oven and toast the almonds for 10 minutes. Beat together the butter and sugar. In a separate bowl sieve together the flour, baking powder, salt and ginger. In a jug, beat together the egg and milk. Slowly add the flour and egg mixture alternating between the two until the mixture is combined. Don't worry if the mixture appears dry at this stage, the oil from the nuts is an important element of this recipe. Chop your chocolate as thinly as possible, almost shaving the chocolate with the knife and then chop the almonds as thin as possible also. Add the nuts and chocolate and beat until everything is fully incorporated.

Chill the dough for 2 hours or so and then roll out. Cut with the gingerbread men cutters of your choice. Preheat the oven to 190'C/375'F/Gas Mark 5. Chill for another 20mins before baking for 10minutes. Cool on a wire rack and decorate with icing sugar and little stars =)

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