Life

Food: Chocolate Gingerbread Cylons with Spiced Rum Icing

I have to confess. I don’t watch Galactica the way that I should. What episodes I do watch I always enjoy, and I recognize it as one of the few shows on television that’s genuinely empowers its female characters. My friends, however, adore the show, so when I mentioned an interest in baking up some Cylons, there was no going back.

This recipe was inspired by two different ones, my mother’s and Heidi Swanson’s. I am categorically unable to follow a recipe, and cannot resist tweaking and tinkering. So the following may seem a little slapdash — please just bear with me.

Chocolate Gingerbread Dough

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I used white, but next time I’ll go brown)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsulphured dark molasses
  • 3 cups flour (whole wheat pastry flour is best)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (Vietnamese cinnamon is best)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Cream butter, then add sugar and beat until it reaches frosting consistency. Beat in the first egg, then the molasses. Beat in the other two eggs as necessary. (My source recipe called for only a single egg, but I didn’t find that to be enough to create satisfactory moisture.) Sift together dry ingredients and stir in until uniformly blended. Chill for one hour or more. (The spices will set in better over time. If you like, you can separate the dough into balls and freeze them for later use.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a clean, floured surface and with a clean, floured rolling pin, roll out dough until it is about 1/8″ thick. Cut out Cylons and place on a greased baking sheet or parchment. Bake for 8 minutes, then remove from the sheet and cool on a wire rack. Do not decorate until cookies are completely cooled.

This will make far too many cookies. It’s great for groups, and the dough does freeze well, so you can cut out hearts for V-Day if you like. Myself, I plan on a Boxing Day dessert of Christmas trifle: gingerbread, eggnog custard, espresso, cinnamon.

Spiced Rum Icing

  • (at least) 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 oz rum (white rum is fine; using dark rum will mean adding food colouring)
  • Water
  • Cinnamon

There is no efficient way to make icing — it’s a lot of guesswork, and involves stiff wrists and elbows. Other recipes call for egg white, but I don’t really see the need, especially if you’re like me and you taste as you go. The frosting is “done” when it slips slowly off the whisk and re-integrates over about five seconds — rather like oil. At this point, you can fill a plastic bag with the stuff, snip off one tiny end, and start decorating. Bigger cookie cutters will offer you more space to work with. The heat of your hands on the bag will keep the frosting pliable, but it does tend to stiffen up, so you’ll need to work quickly (or enlist more pairs of hands) before you’ve got a wad of sweetened cement on your hands.