O-M-G! It’s the first of December! Where has this year gone? Someone told me the other day that the older you get, the faster each year goes because it’s a smaller percentage of life – *gasp*. So anyway, 24 days until Christmas day – my favourite day of the year where I spend the day with everyone I love.
This time last year I was making all sorts of lovely goodies in the kitchen for Christmas and this year is no different, although this year I have learnt from my past mistakes! Last year I’d decided to bake some gingerbread men but half way through the process I changed my mind and thought I’d make a gingerbread house. What I didn’t realise then was that the recipe for a gingerbread house is different to gingerbread men. Needless to say, the house was a flop – literally.
This year I ensured I followed a gingerbread house recipe and alas – success! Yessssssssssss – although there were some sketchy moments there when placing the roof on top but thanks to my hunky assistant Sebby it all came together smoothly. I wasn’t too sure if the roof’s chocolate buttoned shingled roof would stay together but as it turns out royal icing is like baker’s cement. It also held the ‘tee vee snacks’ timber side walls together perfectly! I think my favourite part of making this was the cute little snowmen. I struggled to think of what I could use for their carrot noses but tooth-picks and an orange pencil come in very handy in times of need.
You also might have noticed the totally awesome wrapping paper? How amazingly cool will my presents look under the tree this year? This is a range of wrapping paper my friend Sophie Curtain + RMIT school buds (aka the Full Drop Collective) have created. This clever lot have fused their creative brains together and come up with some pretty spunky wrapping paper to help raise funds for their 2012 Grad show. Early I know, but these talented folks plan to put on one hell of a show (and I look forward to drinking a beer or two there with them!)
“So where do I get my paws on them?” I hear you say. Why don’t you drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and they may be able to pull some strings for you. A small fee of $12 will get you 4 x sheets of A1 screenprinted wrapping paper (that’s loads!), delivered right to your doorstep – and you’ll also be helping out some budding artists. They’ve got some other goodies on the market soon so keep an eye out and an ear to the ground. If you’re in the Melbourne area you may see some of their products at various up and coming Christmas markets.
I feel Christmas cheer coming on… let the count down begin!
3 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup plain flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
185g butter, chopped
1/2 cup golden syrup
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg whites
3 cups icing sugar
Templates: Roof – 20cm x 20cm (x2), Side – 18cm x 5cm (x2), Front – 20cm wide, 5cm high & 18cm angles (x2).
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Combine flours, ginger, cinnamon, sugar and butter. Mix until it resembles breadcrumbs. Whisk golden syrup and eggs together in a jug and add to the dough mixture until it just comes together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until well chilled.
2. Roll dough, 1 portion at a time, between 2 sheets baking paper until 5mm thick. Remove top layer baking paper. Using cardboard cut-outs as a guide, cut shapes from dough.
3. Line 4 baking trays with baking paper. Place gingerbread on trays. Bake, 2 trays at a time, for 15 minutes or until firm. Cool on trays.
3. Make royal icing: Using an electric mixer, beat eggwhites until soft peaks form. Gradually add icing sugar, beating constantly until thick.
4. Once gingerbread has cooled pipe and decorate the walls and roof. Once decorated, use icing to join the walls to the plate & the walls together (you may need an extra hand or cans of food to hold until icing dries). Use icing to attach roof to walls, using cans to support roof (to prevent it from slipping off walls) until icing dries completely. Use any sweets to finish decorating! Have fun!