Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays with Gingerbread

Can you believe it's only 3 days til Christmas? WHERE has this year gone? And how fast will next year fly by?

Hope everyone has managed to get all their present shopping done! There is nothing worse than elbowing your way through the crowds and waiting in extremely long lines during this time of the year. Personally, I am so proud of myself this year :) I have managed to finish off all my shopping a couple of weeks ago (thanks to online shopping - I love it!) and now all I have to do is start wrapping!

Nothing says Christmas more to me than the smell of gingerbread... mmmm. Here is a small tutorial on how to make some gingerbread cookies. Use them as ornaments to hang on your tree or stick some paper behind the bags and they can become edible name tags!

Start by finding a good gingerbread recipe, I used this one from Taste.com the dough is great for holding it's shape.

Some tips:

- Make sure you chill the dough before rolling it out (the dough should not be sticky)
- After cutting your shapes, place them on a tray and back into the fridge for about 5 mins before placing in the oven
- Keep your oven heat low (I have a fan forced oven and I had the temperature at 140/150 degrees) this ensures the cookies don't crack.
- After they are baked, let them cool for a bit and then move them straight onto a cooling rack.


You'll need:

- Rolling Pin
- Royal Icing (you can buy this pre made or make your own with egg whites and pure icing sugar)
- Rolled icing/ fondant
- Blue and Orange food colouring
- Edible food marker
- Sugar syrup (you can make this by boiling equal parts sugar and water until the sugar dissolves)
- White sanding sugar (or plain sugar if you don't have sanding sugar)

After the cookies are cooled, roll out the fondant icing and cut out the icing shapes with the same cookie cutter.

Brush on some sugar syrup and stick it onto the cookie.

For the snowman - colour some blue icing, roll out and cut into strips (for the scarf). Cut out 2 lengths (one long and one short). Use a sharp knife to cut the tassels and stick the icing on to the snowman with some water. Use the knife to make the indentation along the scarf.

For the nose, colour some orange icing. Pinch a little ball and roll into a cone, flatten it and use some water to stick onto the snowman.

Let the snowman dry over night, then use the edible food marker to draw on the eyes and mouth.

For the sparkling tree - Using the royal icing, pipe some lines down the tree and dip into the sanding sugar. Shake off the excess.

Let the cookies dry overnight before you bag them. And ta da! Ornaments or gift tags that are not only unique but also yummy :)

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Budding Cupcake Decorators

Last weekend I got the pleasure of running a cupcake decorating workshop for 3 budding creative decorators.

Lucia, Hilary and Jane were such fun to be around and made some fantastic cupcakes. At the end, they all looked appreciatively at each other's cupcakes and their own and all declared that they were never going to eat them :)

It's funny, that's what all my students say. I guess after putting together the decorations on each cupcake piece by piece and spending a good 4 hours on them, I can understand that it would be hard to shove it all into your mouth (after all, the figurines look like they all have personalities!). That's pretty much why I hardly eat anything I make :) It's more satisfying watching people enjoy them.

Hilary and Jane discovered my cupcake decorating workshops through my blog and I was so flattered they knew all about my designs and specifically knew which ones they wanted to learn to make.

Here are some action shots:

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