Thursday, April 11, 2013

Edible piparkakku gift box or "cake"

The piparkakku seems to be everybody's favorite. The teacher talked about the piparkakku house for weeks after she eventually ate them :).
Today was her birthday, so we baked, and glued, and decorated, and I thought I'm going to share some home made present tips, for piparkakku lovers.
It is a lovely surprise "cake" for those who don't like creamy stuff, and it is long lasting too, so you can prepare it well in advance.
At school all the kids thought it is a cake and were looking forward to be cut and shared :).

Prepare the dough from piparkakku recipe. You need about 1.5 times portion. If you bake double, you'll have some cookies as well to put in the box.
Take two sheets of white paper, draw the template and cut out the pieces of the house .
You'll nee three sizes of rectangles:
- bottom and top: 16 cm x 24 cm, times two
- side walls: 8 cm x 14.5 cm, times two
- back and front walls: 8 cm x 24 cm, times two
- 4 small bars, two shorter ones that fit the short edges, and two longer ones that fit the longer edges of the top

1/3 - 1/2 cup sugar, for gluing them together with caramelized, hot sugar.

Roll out the dough about 4 mm thick. Use parchment paper on top and beneath to make your life easier.

Bake the shapes, adjust the edges while hot, if needed, by placing the paper templates on top of the cookie and cutting them around quickly before the cake hardens. 
Decorate with icing, and let them dry overnight.

Heat the 1/3-1/2 cup sugar, let it melt and caramelize until gets some light golden color. Reduce the heat, and start gluing the sides. I had to use a spoon to pour melted sugar along the lines where I needed to glue the parts together because I didn't find a large enough bowl to dip the part's edges in it.
If you have larger bowls and want to use those to dip the walls in the caramel and glue them right away, you might need to melt more sugar.
Glue first the two longer side walls perpendicular to the bottom. Hold them for ~30 seconds straight, don't shake or move them unless you have to, and if you have to, do it VERY fast right after you placed them on the bottom part, because the sugar will harden immediately.
Next the two smaller side will go in between the two longer ones. Try them on first before dipping them, or pouring any sugar anywhere.
I placed them first neatly in, and only then poured sugar from the top and inside to glue them together with the bottom and the side walls.
They might not fit perfectly, in that case use a bread knife to "saw" tiny parts off. They will be maximum 1-2 mm, so you really need to SAW them, rather than start cutting, or you'll brake the pieces.

Measure the thickness of the walls, and on the BACK side of the top cover  glue the four bars, leaving a space about the size of the walls between the bars and the edge of the box top.
I forgot to take a picture of the back side of the top, so I made you an image. The bars are same thickness, I just had issues adjusting it to look exactly the same in the pic. The bars are needed to stop the top from sliding off the box.
You can also glue small bars to make corners. Just have something to stop the top sliding.

I can promise, it's going to be a BIG hit :).

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