Alright, so; I know this is not necessarily a temporally appropriate post, as Christmas typically falls in December, however, with the recent EXPLOSION of hits since my pizza making one of the I Can Has Cheezburger homepages, my husband has been prodding me to post about the gingerbread helicopter I made for his unit Christmas party a couple years back. (How was that for a run-on sentence?)
I apologize sincerely, but, as I made this in 2010, and was unaware at the time that I would be blogging about my kitchen in the future, I have no “work-in-progress” pictures. Just the final product.
In December of 2010, my husband, who is military, was with an aviation unit. (Helicopters.) I had been doing a lot of baking at the time, and he thought I ought to make something to impress everyone at the unit Christmas party. I says, “Well, I could make oreos, or oatmeal cream pies, or pain au chocolat, or…” And he says, “Ohmigosh, you have to make a gingerbread helicopter.” I says, “Mmm… Perhaps that’s a little ambitious, as, I have never even made a gingerbread house?” And he ran off to cut up a cardboard box to make a template out of.
He designed me a template to look like a Chinook transport helicopter (CH-47) as they are kind of boxy and we figured it would be the least difficult of the army helicopters to manufacture out of a confection. And the next morning, when I woke up, I found myself baking parts for a helicopter.
Most of it was easy, as it was mostly just large, flat areas- the chin bubble, on the other hand, took some thinking about. In the original design it just called for a few narrow flat pieces to kind of simulate roundness, but I didn’t feel that this was satisfactory. What we ended up doing was constructing a frame out of raw gingerbread dough, and baking jolly ranchers inside of it to make a window type, then while it was still hot and malleable we bent it to fit the chopper.
That evening, we went to the mall to pillage the candy store, and nearly spent a mint (pun intended) buying a few of everything. And we decorated, and it was incredible fun. It was a huge hit at the party. My reputation for baking had begun… And I then kept it up by mailing a weekly box of baked goods when they deployed for all of 2011.
Ingredients (Note: I made two recipes to build the helicopter. For anything more than a very small house, you will probably need at least two.)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon clove
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 cup margarine
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
In a medium saucepan, heat sugar, molasses, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves to boiling, stirring occasionally.
2Remove from heat; stir in soda (it will foam up).
3Stir in margarine till melted.
4With a fork, stir in egg, then flour.
5On a floured surface, knead dough till mixed. Divide dough in half, wrap half with plastic wrap; set aside.
6Roll half the dough, with a rolling pin, about 1/4 inch.
7Cut with cutters, or use template
8Bake at 325F on a cookie sheet for 12 minutes; cool on a wire rack.
Royal cement icing:
- 3 tbs meringue powder
4 cups (about 1 lb.) confectioners’ sugar
5 tablespoons warm waterBeat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).