Friday, December 17, 2010

Jingle Bells

One of the true joys at Christmas time is the giving of gifts and coming up with interesting ways to wrap them. 

For many years, particularly when my kids were younger, it was all that I could do to grab (multiple) rolls of Christmas paper, arrange the presents the bedroom floor (making sure that the door was firmly locked just in case there were prying eyes around!) and quickly wrap and tape.  I actually became quite an expert at (lightning speed) Christmas present wrapping!  There certainly was no skill or finesse in how I went about
it.  My main aim was to get them wrapped as quickly as I could and then find a safe hiding spot!   I swear Adam, Matthew and Kendall had the noses of "blood hounds" at Christmas time. 

Now that my "assembly line" gift wrapping days are past, I love nothing better than deciding on a theme for my Christmas gift wrapping and then having the time to leisurely primp and preen my gifts.  This year I decided to go with "Jingle Bells" and together with Kendall's homemade "little" gingerbread men (in fact they were the biggest gingerbread men I have ever seen!) packaged them into cute little boxes to give to work colleagues.

The wrapping was dead easy.  I photocopied (A3) copies of  "Jingle Bells" sheet music which I downloaded from the internet.   Got some lovely lime green satin ribbon and then tied bows with clusters of bells.  They just looked so pretty.

Kendall has now officially become a "gingerbread man" expert.  They way she churned out those little (huge!) men - well, it was just like an assembly line.   (I can see that she too will become an expert in lightning speed gift wrapping when her turn eventually comes!)
They were delicious (and crunchy) and although she could only manage to get 7 "big boys" from each batch of mixture (due to the HUGE cutter she used) the recipe actually makes 20.  
Kendall's Gingerbread Men
Ingredients :
Melted butter, to grease
125g butter, at room temperature
100g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) golden syrup
1 egg, separated
375g (2 1/2 cups) plain flour
1 tbs ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Plain flour, to dust
150g (1 cup) pure icing sugar, sifted
8-10 drops red liquid food colouring
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush 2 baking trays with melted butter to lightly grease.
  2. Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy.
  3. Add the golden syrup and egg yolk and beat until combined.
  4. Stir in the flour, ginger, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda.
  5. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
  6. Press dough into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
  7. Meanwhile, place egg white in a clean, dry bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add icing sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. 
  8. Cover 1 bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Add red colouring to 1 bowl and stir until combined.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
  9. Place the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper and roll out until about 4mm thick. Use a 9cm gingerbread man cutter to cut out shapes. Place on trays about 3cm apart. Repeat with any excess dough.
  10. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven. Transfer to a rack to cool. Place prepared icing in small plastic bags. Cut a small hole in a corner of each bag. Pipe icing over gingerbread men to decorate.
Allow 30 minutes resting time.

Can you guess who these two are? 

Of course - the one on the left is "me" and the one on the right is Alan (with moustache and all!)  Thank you Kendall - very creative.....

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  1. I just love reading your blog. You are so good with words and are always so busy. My life seems dull and boring compared to yours. Merry Christmas.

  2. I so wish I was one of your colleagues right now so i could recieve one of your gorgeously wrapped gingerbread man {or giant} So very creative well done! Merry Christmas

  3. That's a gorgeous combo - sheet music and the green ribbon with jingle bell accents. I love it! I"m still in the wrap like mad stage even though the kids are older, but one day I can see a time when I'll get creative about wrapping again.


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