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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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2011 in review

2 Jan

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,200 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 53 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Hello world!

17 Feb

I am a mum of a 2 year old boy who (as most toddlers do) enjoys helping me out around the house. This as I’m sure you can imagine has its moments! I don’t mind at all but it does take alot longer to complete the tasks when he is ‘helping’.

One of the things he enjoys most at the moment is helping in the kitchen.

As an early childhood trained teacher, I love to observe him learning. I am always thinking of different things for us to do that will challenge and stimulate his learning.

Through my previous experience with children, I know that cooking is a great learning experience. There are many things that can be taught to children in one cooking experience. Things such as basic maths skills, literacy, fine motor (hand) skills not to mention knowledge and a love for food. Its also a great way to get kids to eat things that they normally wouldn’t touch! They’re alot more likely to try it when they’ve made it (that wonderful concept of independence!).

In this blog I hope to share some of our cooking experienes including recipes, tips for things to talk about and ideas for how to keep it running smoothly. I also hope it will inspire you to take a cooking adventure with your own kids! One word of advice though – prepare for mess! Enjoy!