Christmas Baking

A few days ago, the festival of Christmas baking kicked off here. This year I focused on shortbread, having never made it before. It was fun and easy and the results have been popular.

I gave these shortbread stars as a gift on Thursday.

Shortbread Stars

Later I made a bunch of other shapes – trees, bells (heh!) and more stars. Some of them, I hung on the tree. I want Alice and Willem to arrive and know they can nibble things hanging on the tree. That will be fun.

Shortbread Tree Decoration

Speaking of Alice and Willem, a friend gave me an Ikea Gingerbread House kit saying it would be fun to make it for Alice. As I’ll have both of them here on Boxing Day, I thought they could share it/demolish it together.

But fun is perhaps not the word I’d choose to describe the cursing and carrying on that happened when I spent nearly two hours trying to get the bloody thing to stick together. I think my mixture was too thin, the afternoon too warm, my hands not steady enough – or something. Either way, with Sean’s help and some strategically placed glasses to hold the walls in place, we got there.

Then we decorated it. By then I was so over it I perhaps didn’t take the care I could have and slapped lollies on any where they would stick (see above comment about the icing being too thin….).

Here is what someone has amusingly described as my ‘renovator’s delight’ of a Gingerbread House. I share it because, well, it’s funny. Alice and Willem will love it (even if mine is not up to the standard Willem has become accustomed to from his mother!).

World's Ugliest Gingerbread House

I’m reliably informed that not everyone gets them perfect first go. If I’m lucky maybe by the tenth I’ll make something passable. You do it for the love, right, and because you want to send your nieces and nephews home fuelled by sugar. Yes, that’s it.

Anyway, merry christmas everyone. It’s been a fun year and I’ve loved the sharing and the friendships. I’m on leave for a few weeks, mainly staying at home and spending as much time as possible doing this.

wine and knitting

Knit, drink and be merry!


18 thoughts on “Christmas Baking

  1. We have been known to resort to pinning the house together to get the proper effect. I have read many recipes where they use toffee to stick the house together and it seems to work very well though it is a bit tricky to have around children. I might give it a go. I don’t think out weather and season is conducive to royal icing!!! Despite all that, it looks beautifully Christmassy!!

  2. ooh, you have more patience that me with the gingerbread house, Bells! Sounds like a perfect kind of torture to me πŸ˜‰ The kids will love it, for sure though.
    Enjoy your break, lots of knitting posts to come?

  3. I made one too (from a terrible kit from coles) and I couldn’t even keep the roof on mine at all. I”m impressed you got yours to stay up. Mine was like derelict house.

    I think I”m too traumatised to ever try it again – I’d like to watch someone else make one – maybe I’d learn a few tips. Someone did tell me you can put a six pack holder under it to keep the roof up while you decorate (classy huh.)

  4. Having made gignerbread houses (with DH’s vital help!) every Christmas since eldest GD was 18 months old — she is now 16 and a half, and made 2 houses since the same stage for daughters children, so that is, um um, a total of 20 this year, I think the biggest hurdle is HUMIDITY. But, to be honest, so far as the youngsters are concerned, the ginger bread is just there to hold up the chocolate freckles, smarties, and thinly sliced licorice allsorts (the stripey ones) for roof shingles. We used to have a pattern for one with a chimney, and used marshmallows for ‘smoke’. Now use a set of silicone moulds for the house panels (Chef’s Toolbox), much easier.

    Merry Christmas,

    Gae, in Callala Bay

  5. I bought a kit this year for the kids to make, only to discover the box itself was supposed to be the house, and the cookies were to be “glued” right onto it! Decided it was part genius, in that is solved the construction difficulties, but part disgusting, in that the box had been sitting on a store shelve and touched by who knows how many people, so we just ate the darned cookies… I think yours came out very cute, and the kids will love it. Merry Christmas, Bells! Enjoy your break!

  6. Merry Christmas! I have never attempted a gingerbread house and I’m sort of glad I now have an out, since I’m sure a gluten free one would be even more impossible. Luckily, it has never, ever come up on the kids’ lists of what they’d like to do during the holidays. So no sense in me killing myself over it. πŸ˜‰

    Did you use only rice flour for the shortbread, or a mix? I used to make it long ago but haven’t lately, but now I’m wondering if it’s something that would be really easy to make gluten free?

  7. Lunch with Ma went long, so looks like the gingerbread house will be a Boxing d\Day project in this house. Kids here later that week, so no worries on timing. I have read your comments with interest and will see how it all goes.

    And – shortbread! I’ve made it on & off for years as a New Year thing. In terms of cooking effort for gift-giving impact, it’s hard to beat. Yours look great. Some you see are TOO pallid. They need a light touch of colour, which you achieved. May have to make some myself. Did you use rice flour?

  8. Bells, did you make the royal icing with well beaten egg whites and icing sugar? I’ve used that many times, even in a heatwave and it dries almost too soon. I’m sure it will be enjoyed by your young guests. Merry Christmas to you!

  9. Pin it together! I stick pearl-headed pins in to keep the walls together and then you don’t need the royal icing except for decoration. Either way, yours looks lovely! Merry Christmas!

  10. I’ve never made, or eaten, a gingerbread house. I must give one a go sometime, maybe next year! Will remember to make very thick icing! I’m sure the kids will just see lollies and will love it, and will remember it as a thing of wonder in years to come!

    Have a lovely Christmas xx

  11. LOL! Gingerbread houses are NOT easy, and you’re under much more of a challenge, because I doubt gingerbread houses were originally intended for the dead heat of summer. Kudos to you for attempting it. If it makes you feel better, the one the boys and I made didn’t look one iota better. And as they were all about eating the candy off and demolishing it as soon as possible, we decided not to care about it’s looks. Have a merry Christmas! πŸ˜‰

  12. Merry Christmas lovely may it be a great one for you and Sean ! πŸ˜€

    The shortbreads are such a lovely gift and they look very pretty in the tree. Regardless what you make of your gingerbread cake I love the homemade appeal it has. To me it’s like kids b’day cakes there is something loving about the creativity that you don’t get with bought stuff. I think yours looks lovingly made and that counts for more that than perfection πŸ™‚
    Enjoy your break xoxo

  13. Merry Christmas Helen, let make sure we catch up in 2012 and share some of our adventures. And let’s face it, made with love pretty much makes up for everything else!

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