Baking contest eh? Gingerbread is baking!
I made a gingerbread Star Wars Death Star as I was getting a bit tired of making a gingerbread house every Christmas.
I was going to make it life sized, just to frighten the neighbours. But where would I keep it?
Step 1: What You'll Need
A structurally sound gingerbread dough (see next step).
An oven proof large bowl to use as the mould.
A small dome mould shape for the 'eye' of the star. I used the portafilter blank from my expresso machine. You could use many things, or even just cut a circle of dough and bake it propped into a dome using some scrunched up aluminium foil.
Icing in each of the colours you need (or white icing and food colouring). I also used chocolate for Obi's delicious hood.
Icing bag and suitable nozzles. Or just use icing pens.
Something suitable as the death ray. I made mine by coating a wooden skewer in melted and coloured sugar, but it was a bit of a fiddly process. You could use a piece of spaghetti iced for colour.
Step 2: I Knead the Dough
In order to make the gingerbread firm enough to work well with gingerbread houses you don't add any raising agents. Here's the recipe I use:
240g corn syrup
130g firmly packed light brown sugar
630g all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Lots of ground ginger and whatever spices you like in your gingerbread.
In a microwave-safe bowl, heat corn syrup, sugar and margarine until sugar has dissolved completely. Stir until smooth.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Add syrup-sugar-margarine mixture, squish the dough until it's smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl like in the final photo..
Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
Step 3: The Death Star Will Completed on Schedule
Cover the outside of your oven proof bowl in foil. This will help to separate the gingerbread from the bowl when cooked.
Roll out your dough until it is a suitable thickness (maybe 1/4 inch?). Cover the bowl and smooth flat. Cut it cleanly around the base.
Make the 'eye' in the same way.
Bake in a preheated oven at 170c (330f) for 20 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool before touching it.
Now repeat the process for for the bowl, but this time you need to cut out a circle a suitable size for the eye to fit in (this is why we baked the eye with the first half). Cut the dough when it's on the bowl, but before baking it.
Congratulations, you are now a star baker (geddit?).
You now need to stick the 2 halves together. I used melted sugar, but you could use royal icing (or a glue gun if you don't intend to eat it).
Step 4: Eye Eye
Stick your death ray to your eye. Not your eye, the eye you made. This was probably not the best method, but I did mine by drilling a hole in the centre, poking it through and then using lots of melted sugar on both sides to fix it.
Attach the eye after icing the Death Star (I didn't and kept bumping it while icing).
Step 5: Decorate That Sucker
Ice that Death Star!
I kept mine simple as the icing skills are not strong in me. I used a very simple icing as I am a very simple man. It was made by adding a surprisingly small amount of water to icing sugar (I believe this is called confectioner's sugar in the US).
Once happy with the icing, stick the eye in.
Job done, now on to the characters.
Step 6: Characters
After making a mighty Death Star from gingerbread, you should find the characters a piece of cake. I mean gingerbread.
Find suitable images of the characters you want. I can't give you them as I copied them from various places I can't remember and don't have the rights to anyway. Can you guess who the one I've redacted is? Go for simple and effective.
Print them out at the size you want and cut them out to use as templates.
Roll out some more gingerbread dough and cut around your templates. Bake as before.
I winged it (geddit) on the tie fighters as they are nice simple shapes. I made the sides and centre separately and stuck them together with melted sugar.
Step 7: Ice Ice Baby
If you make any mistakes, wipe of the icing and start again. Better still, eat them and make new ones.
I found that very strong simple designs worked best. This is possibly because it's all I am capable of.
Good luck, and let me know if you try it. And please vote for me in the baking contest!