Monthly Archives: December 2014

Mini gingerbread houses

mini gingerbread houses

We can’t get enough of pinning inspirational recipe images to our BakingMad.com pinterest board recently and couldn’t help but notice some really cute miniature gingerbread houses appearing on our feeds.

We really wanted to give this a try and set about creating our own mini gingerbread house recipe.

Firstly, we drew out a template for our houses and cut them out from card. (See image below for measurements)

template

The sides and roof panels are the same height and width as each other, so you could simply cut out one front panel and one side panel and use the same template multiple times to save on excess cutting out.

We made up the gingerbread dough, wrapped it in clingfilm and popped it in the fridge to chill. By chilling the dough it is easier to work with when it comes to rolling it out and cutting, otherwise you may find that the dough sticks to your rolling pin.

We then used the templates to cut out the house panels and lay them out on a baking tray lined with baking paper. You can at this stage chill in the fridge again before baking to limit the amount of spreading that may occur with your biscuits when baked.

After baking, as the biscuits had spread out a little we again used our templates to trim them back into shape. These were then left to cool on a wire rack whilst we made our royal icing.

If you want to get really creative you can colour the royal icing or even mix edible glitter in with it for an extra sparkly effect. This is then used as a glue to stick all the panels together. Don’t worry if you have a few gaps this can be filled with extra royal icing to give a snowy effect to your mini houses.

gingerbread house method

Make sure that they are fully set before perching on your delicious cup of cocoa and enjoy. Alternatively, wrap up in cellophane and ribbon and gift to your family and friends – they make great stocking fillers which can be enjoyed on Christmas morning.

Festive film night

popcorn

Call us sad, but we are super excited to hear that the Christmas edition of the Radio Times is on sale this week. We have our highlighters at the ready to flick through the pages and select our top pick of Christmas films and TV programmes, but we figured if we are going to have a festive film night then we need an equally seasonal snack to go with it.

Step forward our caramel and cinnamon popcorn!

This recipe is so simple to make and would also make a great homemade Christmas gift for any movie buffs in the family.

ingredients

We began with a few simple ingredients: butter, salt, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and the all important Billington’s unrefined dark muscovado sugar and Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract. Using a good quality dark muscovado sugar really will make all the difference to the flavour of your popcorn, giving it a lovely rich treacle flavour, however, if you prefer a lighter caramel flavour you could swap this for a light muscovado sugar.

Be careful when making up the caramel as it is extremely hot, plus a handy tip is to wash up your saucepan immediately after unless you fancy fighting with the difficult to budge caramel stuck to your pan. If you prefer a stronger festive flavour you can increase the quantity of cinnamon or even add a touch of nutmeg if preferred.

You will want to act quickly once the caramel is ready, before it sets so make sure that you have prepared your popcorn beforehand and have placed it in a large enough bowl.

popcorn 1

If you can’t wait to tuck in or your Christmas movie is about to start you can serve your popcorn straight away. Alternatively, we like to bake our popcorn in the oven to crisp up and give that warm cinema-style effect.

Now for the all important decision – which movie to watch first?? Let the movie marathon begin …

Crazy about Christmas jumpers

jumpers

There is no greater time of year to throw fashion-caution to the wind and dig out our favourite, over-the-top, colourful, gaudy Christmas jumpers. In my opinion the more garish, the better!

So imagine our delight when we found Christmas jumper biscuit cutters in our local Lakeland store. Not only do we get to wear jazzy jumpers now we can eat them too!

gingerbread

I used our trusted Gingerbread family recipe to make the biscuits, as I love the flavour that the Billington’s light muscovado sugar gives to the gingerbread – perfectly complimenting the ginger and gives a beautiful golden colour to the bake too.

A good tip if you are wanting to use these biscuits as tree decorations, use a thick straw to stamp out a hole in the neck of the jumper. This will give you room to thread the ribbon through. It is always handy to save a few straws next time that you have a sneaky fast food drive-thru as they often come in handy when baking/decorating.

i chose to decorate the biscuits with sugar paste icing as I love the bright, vibrant colours, but flooding with icing would work just as well.

If like me you don’t have the time to make up traditional royal icing with egg whites, the all-in-one icings available work equally as well. I particularly like the flavour and fineness of the Silver Spoon all-in-one royal icing sugar and it is really simple to make.

jumpers 2

The beauty of the Lakeland cutter is that they include 4 jumper designs; snowman, tree, bauble and snowflake. I loved getting creative with the different styles and mixing and matching the colours.

I think personalising the biscuits would be a lovely idea for a gift or even a quirky alternative place setting for your dining table on Christmas Day.

Mine were destined for the BakingMad.com Christmas tree. I wonder how long they will last there though before the mischevious Christmas elves (us) sneak a bite…

 

We have got Christmas all wrapped up!

sprouts present

Having recently blogged about the fabulous gifts available at BakerandMaker we are feeling rather smug with ourselves that all our Christmas gifts have been found, bought and are sat waiting to be beautifully wrapped and placed underneath the Christmas tree.

Now all we need to do is locate some beautiful gift wrap to dress up our presents and it will be ‘all stations go’ with our scissors, tape and ribbon.

Of course as we are BakingMad, we are loving all of the foodie wrapping paper available in stores right now and wanted to share with you our favourite picks.

john lewis

For an elegant foodie gift, perhaps for the grandparents, this stylish Mince Pie gift wrap from John Lewis would look beautiful underneath the Christmas tree.

£4.00 (3m)
www.johnlewis.com

notonthehighstreet

The kids are sure to love this adorable gingerbread man wrapping paper from notonthehighstreet.com almost as much as the gift inside (we do!)

£4.00 (5 sheets)
www.notonthehighstreet.com

xmas pud

This cheeky Marks and Spencer Christmas pudding wrapping paper is seriously cute and would be great to dress up a present for Mum and Dad.It is also a bargain roll with a whopping 8 metres!

£3.50 (8m)
www.marksandspencer.com

sprouts

Although not everyone is a fan of the real things served at Christmas dinner we simply cannot get enough of this fun Brussel Sprouts wrapping paper. If we could, we would get wallpaper made up of this quirky design.

£3.50 (3m)
www.paperchase.co.uk

With gift wrap this desirable we are not sure that we will even want to part with our gifts now! You will find us Christmas morning, foraging through the piles of disgarded paper to rescue this paper and ironing out for reuse next year!

For more Christmas wrapping inspiration, follow our BakingMad.com ‘wrapped up…’ board on pinterest.

All I want for Christmas is…

group shotChristmas shopping mania is in full force already this year and if you are anything like us you will be avidly searching for the ideal present for your loved one – well look no further we have found just the place to find your perfect gift!

We came across Baker and Maker at the recent Cake and Bake show in London and totally fell in love with pretty much everything on their stall. If you are shopping for a baker or a maker then you will be spoilt for choice from their vast collection of crafty treasures.

There really is something for everyone from a chic kitchen gift to a cute stocking filler. We have whittled down our top ten favourite picks and have been lucky enough to even give some of them a test run (it was a tough job, but someone has got to do it!)

For the keen baker…
apron

‘It’s a beautiful day apron’
£24.50

We think it’s always a beautiful day when there is something baking in the kitchen and this would be a great gift for a keen baker.

measuring cup

‘Ceramic botanical measuring cups’
£18.50

We just love the pretty designs on these measuring cups, both practical and elegant.

biscuit tin

‘Biscuit tin – beasties’
£14.95

No kitchen is complete without a tin to store your freshly baked biscuits in. The woodland themed designs are so cute too.

cake slice

‘Sparkly cake slice
£12.95

We cannot get enough of these glitzy kitchen accessories – a must have for any baking diva!

tea towel

‘Retro biscuit teatowel’
£11.50

We have a secret fondness for tea towels and coincidentally biscuits so we couldn’t resist adding this to our wishlist.

Stocking fillers …

unicorn

‘Unicorn sprinkle shaker’
£7.50

This had our inner child squealing with delight – a unicorn, that dispenses sprinkles for our cakes! Every baker simply needs one of these!

spoons

‘Ceramic song bird measuring spoons’
£5.95

This baking essential has an adorable song bird design that reminds us of the twitter bird. This would be a cute gift for a teenage baker also fond of tweeting.

cutters

‘Love bird cookie cutters’
£2.95

We would love to find these in our Christmas stocking, it would also make a wonderful Secret Santa gift for a baker.

Nice biscuit coasters

Nice biscuit coasters
£14.95

We think these coasters are more than just nice, they are adorable! Perfect for any biscuit lover, just no dunking!

Something for the little chefs…

Safari cutter

‘Safari cutters’
£6.95

This would be a really fun present to introduce little ones to baking, there are four charming designs to choose from hippo, giraffe, lion and elephant.

lunch box

‘Rusty the fox lunchbox’
£4.75

We just fell in love with this sweet lunchbox and can’t think of no better way to transport our homemade bread to work.

We have decided to spread the Christmas love and share these wonderful gifts out with our Facebook and Twitter followers during the Christmas period so don’t forget to follow us on Facebook Baking Mad UK and Twitter @BakingMadUK

We are off now to finish our own Christmas shopping at www.bakerandmaker.com

Merry Christmas!