All right, biggest news first.
I have officially finished my double law degree!! The results came out this afternoon and I’m thrilled to have passed everything. Five years law school complete – now onto the next stage of my life, wherever that may take me 🙂
Now onto other exciting recent events. As some of you may know via my Facebook Page, I was asked a couple of months ago by the President of Sweets by Sweets, my uni’s baking society, if I would be willing to hold a baking class. Having never instructed others in the kitchen before, I was apprehensive, nervous, but most importantly, excited!! I spent the month after researching and brainstorming recipes, recipe testing, adjusting, photographing, and planning ingredients, timing, as well as equipment.
Ultimately I stuck to intermediate baking recipes that are renown favourites around this time of year – classic Gingerbread Cookies (because I knew everyone would love getting into decorating them), Chocolate Lace Crisps (or snowdrop cookies, as some call them), and Cheese & Chive Scones (just to have something to take off that sickly sweet edge!).
The gingerbread recipe is one the simpler and less time-consuming ones I found (off Taste.com), packs just the right amount of flavour and is nice and crisp (I don’t like soft gingerbread). Note that it does require a resting period of about an hour to allow the cookie dough to properly bind. For this reason I had made a batch of the dough at home myself the night before and took it to the class, as I wasn’t certain if we could fit in resting time into the three and a half hour class.
Turns out I didn’t have to worry in the slightest 🙂 All nine attendees were eager to learn, efficient, and very co-operative with one another in the kitchen (the kitchen of the society’s treasurer) and the dough was in the fridge in an hour while the remaining got to work on the Chocolate Lace Crisps and the Cheese & Chive Scones, both of which I’ve already posted about!
Anyway, I’m here to give you the recipe for the gingerbread. So here you go 🙂
You will need:
- 125g butter, softened;
- 2/3C brown sugar;
- 1/4 C maple syrup;
- 1 egg, lightly beaten;
- 2 + 1/2C plain flour;
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda;
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ground ginger;
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon;
- Mini M&Ms, sprinkles, cachous balls and royal icing mix, to decorate.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add maple syrup and egg. Beat to combine.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon over the butter mixture.
Using a wooden spoon, stir until just combined.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth, then shape into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate for an hour or until firm.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Line baking trays with baking paper, roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Using cookie cutters, cut shapes from the dough. Re-roll dough scraps and cut to make more. Place 1 cm apart on prepared trays.
Bake each tray for 20 to 25 minutes, or until just firm to the touch and cookies are lightly golden (they will tan a little more when left to cool). Stand on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare royal icing mix according to instructions, pipe icing onto the shapes and decorate as you desire!
The class getting into it!
And their creations! How creative were they?? 🙂 🙂
As we ended up baking with two lots of gingerbread dough, there was A LOT of gingerbread cookies. It was rather funny as you could tell the difference between the first lots of meticulously decorated cookies and the later trays where the icing was very much smeared/piped and chocolates stuck on in a ‘bleurgh, whateverrrr’ manner as we ran out of time 😛
What a successful class! I certainly couldn’t have wished for more. We transported our freshly baked goods to the society’s Christmas party luncheon held on uni campus and had others sample our goodies – the gingerbread was an absolute hit!
I also had some inquiries as to whether this gingerbread recipe could be used to make a gingerbread house, and I have no doubt it could be. I found a template for one online, which I will try as soon as I have the time – I shall upload it on my Facebook Page’s wall for you lovelies to use 🙂
Take care of yourself and your dearest this festive season. Happy celebrating! xx