This is the same as is sold for "Oxley's concentrated essence of Jamaica ginger," - a mere solution of ginger in rectified spirit - Paris's Pharmacologia.
Vanilla two ounces, water ten ounces, rectified spirit three-quarters of an ounce. Cut the vanilla in small pieces, and pound it fine in a marble mortar, with loaf sugar (about a pound), adding the white of an egg and the spirit. Put it into a glazed pot, tie a piece of writing paper over it, and make a hole in it with a pin; stand the pot in warm water, keeping it at that heat for twenty-four hours, then strain for use.
This is obtained by distilling the cake or residue of the almonds after the oil has been expressed from them. It is a deadly poison, containing prussic acid, like all other nuts or leaves, which possess the bitter principle. Flies drop dead when passing over the still when it is in operation. The essence usually sold is one ounce of oil to seven ounces of rectified spirit.
Twelve ounces of sugar powdered very fine and passed through a silk sieve, the whites of six eggs beaten to a strong froth; mix and lay out on paper, as for dry meringues: when baked, place two together. The size should be about that of a pigeon's egg.]
To make these, take either of the pastes for meringues or light icing, as for cakes; put some into a bag in the shape of a cone, with a tin pipe at the end, the same as used for Savoy biscuits; lay them off in drops the size you wish them to be, on iron plates rubbed quite clean and dry, bake them as you would meringues, make also a smaller drop to form the stalk; when they are baked, take them off the tin and scoop out a little with your finger from the bottom near the edge, to form the hollow rough surface underneath; then dry them in the stove; scrape some chocolate and dissolve it in a little warm water, and rub a little over the rough part underneath; then place the stalk in the centre, fixing it with a little icing, and let the flat part which was on the tin be placed outermost to represent where it was cut.
Take some of the prepared paste, as for the last, and work into it on the stone some very fine starch powder, using equal quantities of starch and sugar. This may also be made with rice flour, instead of starch. These are chiefly used for pieces montees. It may be moulded or modelled into any form, or cut out from figures or borders carved in wood, called gum-paste boards, using a little starch-powder to prevent its sticking whilst working it; a little tied up in a small muslin bag is the handiest for use. When you want to get the paste from the impressions in the boards, take a small piece of paste and press it at each end; if it does not come out very readily, moisten the piece, and touch that in the impression at three or four places, which, being damp, adheres to it and draws it out.
* An excellent work for the use of the ornamental confectioner is Page's "Acanthus," which may be obtained of any bookseller.