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Gingerbread House 2011

6 Nov

This year I thought I would take on making a gingerbread house for the first time. I was quite excited by the prospect and thought Thomas and I would have lots of fun decorating it together. We did have fun – he enjoyed decorating the Christmas trees and gingerbread men but lost interest after a while. It does take a long time to decorate a gingerbread house. All in all I think I spent a whole day on the decorating – and ours didn’t really have an excessive amount of lollies on it. You could spend so much more time…

Ginger house

I used the same recipe as we used for the Gingerbread Star Trees and I purchased a kit that contained all the cutters to make the house. It was only $19.95 and I intend to use it again. A lot less fuss than cutting the guides from cardboard as a lot of recipes suggest. You can make the gingerbread in advance. You can store it in a container for up to a month or a week when made up. We made our biscuits about a week ahead and stored them flat in an airtight container.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/3 cups (500g) plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 175g dark brown sugar
  • 150g honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 eggwhite
  • 1 1/2 cups (240g) icing sugar, sifted, plus extra, for dusting

Method

Preheat oven to 180C. Sift flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and a pinch of salt into a bowl.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add honey and egg. Beat until combined. On low speed, beat in sifted dry ingredients until mixture comes together. Divide dough in 1/2. Wrap separately in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.Roll out dough halves between baking paper until 4mm thick. Using a set of star cutters cut out as many sets of stars as you can from the dough. With the leftover dough, re-roll it and cut out some small stars to use in between layers. Place same sized stars together, 3cm apart, on baking paper-lined oven trays. Bake larger stars for 8 minutes; smaller stars for 5-7 minutes or until deep golden. Stand biscuits for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
To make icing:Place eggwhite in a bowl. Stir in icing sugar, 2 tbs at a time, until combined.

Place icing in a clip lock bag and cut off the corner in order to pipe icing. Assemble house by piping icing onto edges and ‘sticking’ pieces together. You will need to allow the walls to harden before putting the roof on.

ginger 1

Use icing to attach lollies to outside of house once it has set. Leave for approximately an hour before decorating.

We used m&m’s, small white marshmallows, hundreds and thousands.

I put it on a plate with our North Pole cupcakes which you can read about here.

Gingerbread House

It was great fun and the kids loved pulling it apart and eating it on Christmas day. Will definitely do again next year!

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Christmas Dessert Table

2 Jan

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here. Mainly because my little man no longer has a daytime sleep and my days are much busier as a result.

I thought I would share a few photos of the Christmas Dessert table that I did this Christmas. The photos are fairly self explanatory but if you want any instructions or how too’s, please feel free to ask!

dessert table

Our dessert table consisted of:

* Gingerbread house

* Hot chocolate Santa leg cupcakes ( you can find the recipe here). They were delicious! I made the santa legs from fondant.

* Marshmallows dipped in white chocolate and crushed candy canes

* Rudolph Oreo Pops

* Gingerbread cupcakes with eggnog and baileys buttercream frosting. Adults only and DELICIOUS! (recipe here) Thanks to my sister in law for the recipe!

* Red and white jelly beans :-).

The kids loved it and it was worth all the hard work!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your families and I wish you health, happiness and love in 2013 xx.

North Pole Red Velvet Cupcakes

16 Jan

I saw these online and thought they would be just fantastic for our kids Christmas lunch… So Thomas and I donned our Christmas aprons and reindeer antler headbands and set to work.

I purchased some very special santa cupcake wrappers and some edible glitter crystals to sprinkle on top and they were a perfect addition to our gingerbread house.

I did cheat a bit with this one and used a can of frosting… We’re all a bit time poor at Christmas…

The recipe was easy and very tasty.

Ingredients

  • 300g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 30g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 315g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
  • 250ml (1 cup) buttermilk
  • 200g unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 tbs white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp red food colouring ( I ended up using about 4 teaspoons of colouring)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Line eighteen 80ml (1/3 cup) capacity muffin pans with paper cases. Sift flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Stir through the sugar. Whisk the buttermilk, butter, eggs, vinegar and vanilla in a large jug until combined. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Add the buttermilk mixture. Stir until just combined. Stir in the food colouring.
  2. Divide the mixture among the lined pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    The recipe suggested a cream cheese frosting but we just used a butter cream one in a can and sprayed it on :-).

    To decorate:

    Sprinkle some glitter on top of the frosting

    Cut the curve off candy canes and attach a red m&m to the top using icing. Poke candy canes into cupcake at an angle. Use some rolled out fondant to make some small rectangles and write “North Pole” on with an edible pen available from cake decorating shops.

Gingerbread Star Christmas Trees

7 Jan

We made lots of gingerbread this year. I had never made it before but it is very easy and tasty. I originally saw the idea on taste.com which is where I got the recipe from but I adapted it to make the smaller sized trees. We put them on a little Christmas plate, attached a Reindeer Handprint gift tag and they were a lovely gift for Aunts, Uncles and friends.

I think it is important to teach children about giving at a time that can become so much about receiving. Thomas is a funny little boy who gains so much joy from seeing others happy so already enjoys the giving aspect of Christmas. He is so innocent and doesn’t expect anything in return. For my birthday last year, he wanted to give me a cloud. So with some help from his Nanna, he went outside and caught a cloud for me (some wadding purchased from the craft shop). He put it in a box and they got a plaque engraved to go on the box. It was so gorgeous. Probably the best present I have ever received!

I think it would be nice for him to hold on to this characteristic as he gets older so we often bake a batch of biscuits and take some to our neighbour or to one of his friends. I think it’s also important to note that giving doesn’t have to be about the most expensive gift  but about the thought and care that you put into choosing a gift for that person. Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/3 cups (500g) plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 175g dark brown sugar
  • 150g honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 eggwhite
  • 1 1/2 cups (240g) icing sugar, sifted, plus extra, for dusting
  • Silver cachous, to decorate

Method

Preheat oven to 180C. Sift flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and a pinch of salt into a bowl.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add honey and egg. Beat until combined. On low speed, beat in sifted dry ingredients until mixture comes together. Divide dough in 1/2. Wrap separately in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.Roll out dough halves between baking paper until 4mm thick. Using a set of star cutters cut out as many sets of stars as you can from the dough. With the leftover dough, re-roll it and cut out some small stars to use in between layers.Place same sized stars together, 3cm apart, on baking paper-lined oven trays. Bake larger stars for 8 minutes; smaller stars for 5-7 minutes or until deep golden. Stand biscuits for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

To make icing:

Place eggwhite in a bowl. Stir in icing sugar, 2 tbs at a time, until combined.

Place icing in a clip lock bag and cut off the corner in order to pipe icing onto stars.

Assembling the trees:

Stack the largest stars at offset angles, placing small stars in between. Glue each layer with icing. Continue stacking in decreasing size until you have used one set of stars. Leave the small one and ice all over, place silver cachous on each point and leave flat to set – see picture.

Attach small iced star to the top of the tree with icing then decorate the rest of the tree with icing and silver cachous.

Leave tree to set for 1 hour. Serve dusted with icing sugar. If you are giving as a gift, place a small amount of icing on the plate before you begin assembling tree so it remains in place.

Kids Christmas Lunch

6 Jan

I have been really slack lately writing about our cooking adventures. Rest assured that we did do lots of cooking for Christmas and over the Christmas period and I will get all those post written up soon.

For Christmas this year we had 4 kids at our house (as well as many adults). I thought it would be fun to do a ‘kid friendly’ Christmas lunch. I know there was no way Thomas would have sat down to a meal of ham, vegetables and salad – and Christmas is about the kids after all so I set about planning the ultimate kids Christmas lunch.

The Menu

Christmas Tree Mini Pizza’s

Gingerbread House

Red Velvet ‘North Pole’ Cupcakes

Teddies on Ski’s

Violet Crumble Ice Cream

and Pink Lemonade

Ok, none of it was at all in the ‘healthy’ category but it was delicious and they had fun… That’s what Christmas is all about after all! I’d love you to share any other ideas for a kid friendly Christmas lunch – there’s always next year to think about!

(Keep your eye out for recipes to follow.)

A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year wish

2 Jan

Cook With Kids would like to thank you for your support throughout 2011. We have had a great year sharing our adventures with you. We hope you have enjoyed reading our posts.

I hope you have all enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and New Year with loved ones and are looking forward to 2012 and all that it will bring. I hope the coming year brings lots of love and happiness to you all.

Happy cooking!

Peta and Thomas 🙂

 

 

Candy Cane Playdough Gift

21 Dec

Cooking playdough with kids is great. It’s quick, easy and they can play with it afterwards. It’s also a great way to introduce heat to your cooking with kids without the danger of the stove. Thomas enjoyed using his oven mitt to hold the bowl while he mixed the dough as it was cooking.

I saw these little pressies online somewhere on my travels and thought they were gorgeous. The perfect little Christmas gift for some of Thomas’ little friends!

We made 2 batches of playdough – one white and one red.

Playdough Recipe

2 cups plain flour

1 cup salt

4 tablespoons cream of tartar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups warm water

Food colouring (we used red for one batch and didn’t add any to the white)

We also added 2 tablespoons peppermint essence to the dough for the candy cane smell :-).

Put all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Mix ingredients together then microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and mix thoroughly. Return to microwave for 1 minute, then remove and mix again. Replace in microwave for another minute, remove and knead until smooth. Allow playdough to cool down.

To make gift, layer playdough in a glass jar. Tie a label and some Christmas cutters onto the jar … 🙂

Playdough is a great activity to help kids develop fine motor skills, imagination, creative expression, regulating emotions and sensory awareness.