Confession time: while I take great pride in all my baking accomplishments, I can admit that presentation is not my strong point. I’m too impatient, and usually too hungry, to get the details right. I’ll stand behind the taste of my desserts any day, but looks-wise they leave something to be desired. Exhibit A: a couple years ago I tried to make a replica of Reggie the Wolfhound out of chocolate Rice Krispies and German chocolate cake. The result was basically nightmare fuel.
So I consider Trader Joe’s Gingerbread Turkey Kit my chance for redemption. It’s for children AND it comes with directions, so my odds of screwing up are at an historical low. I’m feeling so confident, in fact, that I’m gonna attempt this thing after indulging in a few of the Pecan Pie liqueur shooters that were leftover from my birthday. Let’s do this!
I spread out my materials and sized up the situation. I immediately regretted taking two shots, because Step One was to do actual work: create the icing by beating egg white, vinegar, and a box of powdered sugar. I made a giant mess but it was actually pretty fun. It was weird to basically make icing mayonnaise, though, and it didn’t taste very good. I then had to transfer it all into a pastry bag. Most of it ended up on my hands.
Moving on, I had to cut a very precise-sized hole in the pastry bag and use the icing/mayo as glue for each turkey part. This is where things started to fall apart. I was in no mood to measure out 1/4 of an inch, so I eyeballed it, but I forgot that my eyeballs were full of alcohol. I made the hole way too big, which meant all the icing/mayo/glue came out in giant blobs instead of pristine thin lines. I tried to pinch it off with my fingertips but that just put me back in the “giant mess” category. The turkey looked like an elephant that had a stroke.
At this point, I had to keep waiting for a bunch of minutes in between each step to let the sugar cement dry. Here’s a neat baking tip: when you have down time during your recipe, use those precious minutes to drink more. I found myself much more impressed with my progress after a couple beers. I also decided to name the turkey (Gobbles). Then I found a random turkey piece that I had no idea what to do with, so I just put icing on it and ate it. It was not tasty. The gingerbread is strangely spongy and chewy, and the icing is hard as a rock. I ate the whole thing.
Now came the most important part: decorating Gobbles’s face. This was legitimately impossible. Not only did I have icing shooting out of the pastry bag in giant blobs, the whole thing was at a very precarious 90-degree angle. I had to be delicate, precise, and even-handed: three things that I suck at even when I’m not drunk. I also had a bunch of sprinkles and gummy candies to apply, but the icing cement was drying too quickly for the sprinkles to stick. I threw handfuls as hard as I could at Gobbles’s face, but the sprinkles just bounced off and landed at his feet. In the end I just poured all the sprinkles on his head and let them land wherever they wanted. (They wanted to land on his feet.)
Oh my God, you guys. This was a labor of love, except that I hated every minute of it. I think the process is much more fun when you know the outcome will be delicious, and in this case, we all knew it wouldn’t be. I’m left with a big mess and a turkey that will definitely need Lasik eye surgery one day.
So I guess I didn’t redeem myself with Trader Joe’s Gingerbread Turkey Kit, but that’s okay. I learned some important things about icing (it tastes terrible when mixed with vinegar), and some important things about myself (I am less capable than a child). I think I’m going to keep Gobbles in the dining room for a few days to creep out my roommates, then get drunk and destroy him. If this kind of downward life spiral sounds appealing to you, then I urge you to go pick up a Trader Joe’s Gingerbread Turkey Kit. Otherwise, probably avoid it at all costs.
My Drunkenness Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Tastiness of the Icing Rating: 1 out of 10
Overall Rating: 3 out of 10