How Do You Make A Penguin Dance?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On the ninth day of Christmas my penguin gave to me...
Nine penguins dancing,
Eight milk bottles,
Seven owls (just seven?),
Six roasted chickens,
Five golden pastries,
Four wobbling jellies,
Three French badgers,
Two turtle bars,
And a pelican in a pear tree

Happy Feet was just the tip of the iceberg – barely the slightest provocation is needed for penguins to dance. Gleeful, excited dancing, that is. A little more mental fortitude can be required to tackle an hour of ballroom practice*.

At this time of year, many things will cause a penguin to start capering round keenly. And lots of those many things relate to food. Gingerbread, in particular, is one of those treats that gets a bit more attention around Christmas time (even though, like turkey, there seems no earthly need to restrict it to a few weeks of attention during which it’s consumed in quantities that would be far more enjoyably and sensibly spread out during the whole year).

Gingerbread has broken out of its cookie cutter mold and has all sorts of interesting interpretations. Here are a few options for spicy indulgence (as well as those intriguing and beautiful ginger martini jellies from a few days ago)...

Gingerbread buttercream to put on gingerbread… or on ginger cupcakes...
 
iced gingerbread cupcakes from Little Bear Cakery
Iced gingerbread cupcakes from Little Bear Cakery (what a lovely name)

Gingerbread caramels (because tasty and sticky seem to go hand in hand)...

gingerbread caramels from Technicolor Kitchen
Gingerbread caramels from Technicolor Kitchen

Gingerbread popcorn (perfect for watching the ballroom dancing on Christmas night, perhaps?**)

gingerbread caramel crunch popcorn from Taste Of Home
Gingerbread caramel crunch from Taste Of Home

Or you could pretend to be a little more healthy about it and disguise it as breakfast

chocolate gingerbread granola from How Sweet Eats
Chocolate gingerbread granola from How Sweet It Is (I love their tagline 'where gluttony meets fitness'. A tricky balance indeed, especially for a wobbly penguin)

If you want to follow the traditional path and build a gingerbread house (another thing that, like wedding cakes, sadly seems to frequently look better than it tastes), Heston Blumenthal has set the astonishing benchmark for the scale, detail and tastiness that can be achieved (with a small army of sous chefs, that is). Although if anybody can rival that effort, it could surely only be in New York. Or you could take a slightly lower maintenance approach with a gingerbread house bundt pan - but it wouldn't do justice to this...

Heston Blumenthal gingerbread house
Heston Blumenthal's gingerbread house via Lou Lou Makes (baking with hard hats... does that qualify as an extreme sport?)

Or you could go from the sublime to the ridiculously cute, with something much more... portable...
gingerbread cup-egde houses from Not Martha
Miniature gingerbread house from Not Martha (and if you read the full post, they're even more amazing)

And for those who can’t go past the traditional gingerbread men, even those have been getting an update (and getting feisty)...

Ninjabread men
Ninjabread men from Worldwide Fred

Or finding their own ways to cope with the stress of the festive season...

Gingerbread yogi cutters from Baked Ideas
Gingerbread yogi cutters from Baked Ideas via The Kitchn

Or maybe that yoga is just to help them take a more zen-like approach to their inevitable fate... a bit like these cutters do, too...

already been chewed gingerbread men from Worldwide Fred
ABC (already been chewed) cookie cutters from Worldwide Fred via Cooking.com

And if you prefer your gingerbread characters with a bit more anthropomorphism, it’s hard to go past a penguin…

Gingerebread penguins from The Crafty Penguin
Gingerbread penguins from The Crafty Penguin (and these are so cute, and remind me so much of certain puppets made by the ever-surprising Porcavore)


Alternatively, you could pootle on the computer looking for gingerbread for so long that you start dreaming about one of these…

Gingerbread laptop
Gingerbread laptop from Peppar Kakshus via Black Eiffel

And if none of the above appeals, and you don’t want gingerbead pancakes (with or without chocolate chips), crepes or muffins, then bunker down for a few more days and it might blow over till next year. But if you get trampled by a gluttonous penguin in pursuit of a gingerbread cannoli (really), don’t say you weren’t warned!

* This seems to have gone from the sweepingly general to the pointedly specific even more quickly than usually happens...
** Unless those Latin dancers make you want to step away from the Christmas treats again. Sorry, pointedly specific again…

Kellie Collis on December 22, 2010 at 6:57 PM

Those gingerbread cookies are so lovely! Have a happy holiday! Kellie xx

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