How to make dessert fun
This was a really cool and delicious project and especially prudent to make since I am compelled to watch “Thomas the Train” and several other kid friendly movies with the munchkin. To say that I am bored, (thinking out loud rather facetiously), with his TV choices would be an understatement! I have succumbed to the notion that “Madagascar” and “Cars”, to name a few, are to be my only form of entertainment!
I am no longer in charge of the TV remote or allowed to satisfy a sudden urge to watch one of my favorite shows!…….. just kidding! he only has 1 hour of allotted TV time over here!
Even with this displayed, illiberal behavior, I still wanted to be his heroine, so making this train out of gingerbread and dark chocolate more than likely would have averted his pretty, little “TV head” to something way more enjoyable, such as cutting out parts of the train from soft gingerbread dough. I succeeded, only to realize that now my cherished bake-ware is at the brunt of his rambunctious baking demeanor. Lord! have mercy, he is extremely messy and disorganized as well…. some things, I just cannot appreciate….. I love my “mise en plus” just way too much ! I do have standards , you know! LOL! ” Sure!” you would say, now, most probably, would be a good time to let go of all your peculiar kitchen antics and anal cleaning mannerisms because this is not about you! Rug rats rule!
Anyway, I know that this is the only way he is going to learn by having “his way” with all my treasured cookware , so forgive my unnecessary rant. He will most probably recollect all of our baking sessions together, just as I of my Mom and Grandmother.
Chocolate gingerbread cookie train for a little boy who loves trains!
This is a chocolate gingerbread dough, “glued” together with chocolate ganache. You can also use Royal icing, but frankly I much prefer the chocolate. The result is a much more neater and way more delicious result. I also used the dark chocolate M & M’s , Twizzlers & Christmas peppermints to further decorate the train and the track.
I prepared, measured and baked the different parts of the train on one day and did the decorating on the following day.
You are also going to need honey grahams to serve as support for both the engine and coal car. Glue six of the gingerbread wheels together to form the boiler and then glue onto the graham stack support inside the “engine sides.”
This is the template for the train. Measure the different parts and just place directly onto the dough and cut with a pizza cutter. Use a craft knife for the little window on the “engine side.” I used a two & half inch round cookie cutter for the wheels. BTW, it is most probably a good idea just to place the templates back onto the baked pieces and just trim uneven sides, you have to do this really gingerly, otherwise they will crack. I used the template from Family Circle, but not the recipe.
You do not need a bottom part to this train, as the graham cracker stacks will keep the engine & the coal car up!
Recipe: Please use organic ingredients whenever possible!
Really easy, all the ingredients are mixed in the food processor!!!
I could not use my really delicious gingerbread dough recipe on my old blog, for fear of it not being able to “stand up” to this project. Turns out, I was wrong, so next gingerbread project will definitely be with that old recipe!!!
- 1 & 1/4 cups All purpose, unbleached flour
- 3 t ground ginger
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- 1 t ground cardamom
- 1/2 t ground nutmeg
- 1/2 t ground clove
- 1/4 cup Valrhona French dark chocolate powder 64% ( Grand Cru de Terroire, “Tainori” Dominican Republic. I am now using this in almost all of my chocolate creations!
- 1/2 t bicarbonate of soda ( do not use baking soda, this has a soapy taste, I know because I also make my own soap!). Buy it from your local Middle Eastern store.
- pinch kosher salt
- 6 T unsalted butter (slightly softened & cut into small pieces)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg beaten
- honey grahams for support only
- chocolate ganache for “gluing”the parts together
In a food processor, sift together flour, spices, salt, bicarbonate of soda and chocolate powder. Give two quick pulses. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles course sand. Use the on and off pulse button to achieve this OR a biscuit cutter if doing this by hand. Add the sugar and beaten egg and pulse again until the mixture comes together. Remove and lightly knead by hand into a smooth ball, wrap and refrigerate for about two hours.
You will have to make this recipe 4 times in order to make all the different parts of the train and then use the remainder for gingerbread boys and/ or girls, whatever your fancy. Use your realm of creativity. The dough should be rolled out into slightly less than a quarter of an inch. See further instructions & captions at my pictures. You are going to need to glue together 7 graham cracker cookies to serve as support with chocolate ganache. Just snap the cookies along the perforated edge. Make 4 of these stacks. Take two stacks and glue to the side of one of the “engine” parts. Let the chocolate harden a little and then glue the other part of the “engine” to the graham crackers. This will make your “engine” car stand up. Do the same with the coal car. Proceed by gluing together all the other parts of the train, just like in my pictures above.
I used melted dark chocolate ganache ( dark choc. boiled heavy cream a pat of unsalted butter), in a pastry bag to glue all the parts together.
If you do not want to use chocolate ganache then use this Royal icing recipe:
- 3 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
- meringue powder( prepared as per instructions on the can) OR 2 fresh egg whites, slightly beaten
- 1/2 t cream of tartar
- 1 t fresh lemon juice
Sift & beat ingredients together to form a fluffy icing. Just use a plastic zipper bag, if you do not have a pastry bag to do all the piping!
As you can see from the messy picture below, his favorite food is steamed butternut squash but he can also clean up very nicely!
He was only allowed to munch on a gingerbread boy, because we donated the whole cake to a lady with lots of children. Hopefully, I shall make a different design when he is a little bigger and I shall definitely use my old chocolate gingerbread recipe that is on my old blog!!!
Love, as always & have fun making this train, & if you have any questions about this cookie train, ask me in your comment, & I shall answer, the best way possible!