Monday, January 31, 2011

Gingerbread Trilobites

If you are not aware, there is this amazingly cool Steampunk online comic called Girl Genius (actually, I believe they prefer the term "gaslamp fantasy," but since I consider this the epitome of what Steampunk ought to be, I won't shy away from using the phrase). First of all, go read it. I'm a big fan.

Now on to the real point - one of my very favorite things about our Technocrats' Ball was that I got to make gingerbread trilobites (and also sugar-cookie gears - see the picture above). There are a couple of really throw away comments made in the Girl Genius comic to "gingerbread trilobites" which are famously made in a particular city (where the ruling family's symbol is a trilobite). I can't say that my interpretation is necessarily what the makers of Girl Genius had in mind, but I am particularly proud of them and wanted to share (mine were definitely the cookie type of gingerbread, based on a recipe for rolled out and cut gingerbread men, not the more cake-like style of gingerbread). I will now share my super-secret (yet painfully obvious and devastatingly easy) technique, so you may make your very own gingerbread trilobites at home!
Make some gingerbread dough. I used a (very slightly modified) recipe for "Gingies" from a 1950s Betty Crocker Cookbook. If you want to make exactly my cookies, then:

1/3 c. shortening (I use butter or margarine, but only because I am too lazy to measure out gooey shortening, bleh!)
1 c. brown sugar
1 ½ c. dark molasses
½ c cold water
6 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ginger (I use 1 tbsp. ginger)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 3 tbsp cold water

Bake 15-18 min in 350 oven - bur first you have to shape them into cute little trilobites!

First, you need to make a number of oval disks. Take a small scoop of gingerbread dough, about the size of a walnut, into your hands. Roll it into a sphere, and from that into a very short log. Squash the log down onto your cookie sheet, and you should have the necessary oval.
Now, use the blunt edge of a knife to score a line across the oval, about a quarter of the way from one of the ends.On the large side of unmarked cookie, make two lines almost purpendicular to that one, but slightly angled towards each other (\/). Now make a number of lines parallel to the original mark, all down the body of your trilobite.Last of all, add two non-pareils for eyes (I used silver or gold, and they looked smashing). You may instead make two two holes with a chopstick, or even skip the eyes altogether, for more rustic-looking trilobites. Then bake them!
Also, if you were interested, here is my documentation:
Reference to how good the gingerbread of Mechanicsburg is

Reference to gingerbread trilobites


  1. How did you make the gear shapes for the sugar cookies - did you find gear cookie cutters somewhere?

  2. I made the gears by cutting circles, then making heavy duty foil into a trapezoid-like shape and cutting out chunks around the edge. It was a slow and work-intensive process.

    I have a friend who is planning to make gear-shaped cookie cutters for sale. If that works out, they should be sold at the Charles River Museum of Industry, so you can hope for that.

  3. I love it! I'm working on a blog (still in its infancy) that's basically a crossover between my loves of fossils and confections. Do you mind if I link to your post?

  4. Please do! What a wonderful idea for a blog.