I've done the woven part separate from the rounded parts of the heart:
I cut long strips of each dough and still the gingerbread dough was much flimsier and I wonder if this is because I melt the butter for it, while the punishments dough has room temperature butter, which makes it a bit stronger. I'll have to find a new recipe for next year and see if this is the case.
Also, for the round parts, I cut circles from the doughs, then cut each circle in half and put one half on top of the other, to match the thickness of the woven part. Lundulph looked at my creations and expressed concerns that the parts wouldn't stick together, but they did and quite well too.
And for comparison to the ones I made the other day, the traditional way as if the dough was paper:
It was still quite a hassle, I don't work very fast and the white dough strips dried a bit, by the time I was ready to start the weaving, but on the whole it was a lot easier than what I did the other day and I'm sure you'll agree, the result is so much better.
As expected, last week the puzzle pieces swelled a bit during baking and I guess if I'd cut them again with the cookie cutter immediately after removing from the oven, I would have got back the original shape (hot tip from Paul Hollywood's chocolate marshmallow cakes). So this is what I planned to do and this time I made puzzle pieces from both ginger snap dough and punishment dough.
As you might expect, I completely forgot to cut with the cookie cutter after the pieces came out of the oven, but it looks like dropping the temperature to 150 °C fan assisted helped keep the shape pretty well.
I'd no idea that it would be so much fun using different coloured dough...
This year, I also decided to skip the Lussekatter and instead try to make saffron cupcakes. I thought it would make a nice gift too. A brief search on the internet gave this recipe (in Swedish), which seemed simple enough and had loads of comments from people that had tried it and loved it. The original recipe is for 10, I made a double batch. And frankly, I suspect the original batch will actually make 12 or 13 even.
200 g unsalted butter
0.5 g ground saffron
1.5 dl milk
2 dl granulated sugar
4 dl plain or sponge flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
- Pre-heat the oven to 190 °C (fan assisted) and line a couple of muffin tins with paper cases.
- Gently melt the butter, then stir in the saffron and milk.
- In a bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder and stir through well.
- Now add alternatively flour and butter/milk to the egg/sugar until all has been incorporated well. Finally add the vanilla essence. The mixture will be fairly runny.
- Pour the mixture into the muffin cases so they are filled to about two-thirds.
- Bake for about 15 minutes until well puffed up and golden brown on top.
- Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
Once cool, the simplest thing to do is to dust with a little icing sugar and they're ready to eat. However, I wanted to make them into cupcakes, so I made some royal icing - that is icing sugar with a little egg white. For this design the royal icing needs to be a thick, but pourable consistency. The procedure is to place the icing sugar in a bowl and keep the egg white in a glass nearby, then with a teaspoon start adding a little egg white at a time to the icing sugar and stirring until the desired consistency has been achieved. Once you reach a thickness good for piping, set some of the icing aside and cover tightly so it doesn't dry out, then continue to add more egg whites to get the slightly runny consistency.
For the cupcake design, I'd made tiny ginger snaps, which I stuck on top. Note that I made an addition of a triangle which I attached at the bottom of each figure, so that I could push them into the cupcakes.
I used the thicker royal icing to decorate them. Once this has set (and it shouldn't take too long), the final assembly can begin.
Pour a small blob of the runny royal icing over a muffin, letting it run down the sides a little, but not so that it reaches the edge of the paper case. Then stick in a little ginger snap, being careful not to damage any piping on it.
I ran out of ginger snap boy and girls, so continued with little stars.
This time, as many times before, I didn't succeed with distributing the mixture in the cases and several spilled over.
I can also establish that baking two trays on two levels at the same time is not a good idea. While the top one was ready after 15 minutes, the other one needed a further 5, so make sure to test readiness with a toothpick. I could probably have got 1 or two more. As it was, I had a generous amount to lick from the pot and it was tasty too.
I haven't tried the saffron cupcakes yet, but Lundulph has and his verdict was tasty and very nice, the saffron flavour was subtle and just right. They didn't quite turn out the way I'd imagined them in my head, but still I'm rather pleased with the end result.
Update 8th December 2013:
OK, so once again I also forgot how damp the English atmosphere is. When I came to prepare my lovely cupcakes to give away to neighbours, they'd all collapsed.
I wonder if dipping them in chocolate or icing will make a difference. Or perhaps just brush them with egg white like you do with pie crust when blind baking, to stop it from going soggy. Almost all of the girl cookies were decapitated and several of the boy cookies had twisted during their collapse, not a nice thing to give away. D'oh!
Update 11th December 2013:
Maybe I've OD-d on saffron or something, but I'm not entirely satisfied with this recipe. My original idea was to hide a round circle of marzipan before baking, however as the mixture was so very runny, I decided against this because I thought the marzipan would just sink to the bottom. But, I think some orange zest might be good, it would give the muffins a bit of tingle. I had two for breakfast this morning and they felt sort of slimy towards the end. Just a thought.