Getting into the Christmas spirit with Gingerbread!

Hi guys! As you all know (or would have worked out by now), I’ve been overseas for the last two weeks. I got back last Weds morning but real life doesn’t wait for anyone so its been a bit hectic the last few days with graduations, a Christmas service, my end of year piano students’ concert, Christmas carolling, life group reunion, wedding rehearsals, baptisms… December is definitely a busy month this year!

Anyway, that was just a more-info-than-necessary way of letting you know why I haven’t been fully present on the blogging circuit yet…until now!

I would love to share some reflections of my first solo overseas trip but it’s hard to know where to begin!

One of the things I loved about my trip was how at ‘home’ I felt at the different churches/life groups I attended while I was away. Even though I was only meeting some people for the first time or it was the first time that we’d ever spent any extended period of time together, there is an instant feeling of ease when being amongst people of the same faith.  I guess that’s why they call it the family of God :).

With Angel's friends :)
With Angel’s friends :)
With YI friends :)
With YI friends :)

I guess it’s like the feeling you have when you meet a food blogger in person for the first time. You are a bit apprehensive because you have never met them before but soon you realise that because the love of food is something share in common, it’s like you’ve known them forever :P

Anyhow, at one of the gatherings I was invited to in Singapore, the ‘mission’ at the end of the night was to learn how to make gingerbread!  Though I didn’t get to eat any of it in the end (I left mine in the fridge before I left *sadface*), I was inspired to make some as a Christmas gift for my students to distribute at our end of year concert.  Unfortunately, I didn’t finished them in time :(.  All’s well that ends well though as one set of siblings (with help from their mum of course) gave me a gingerbread house so I’m glad I didn’t end up giving them my first attempt at making gingerbread!

Gingerbread recipe

(adapted from an old Women’s Weekly recipe book according to Jono)

IMG_5394

Ingredients

  • 100g butter, roughly cut into cubes (leave at room temperature)
  • 100g sugar
  • 200g molasses or golden syrup (I used molasses – see note below)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons of bicarb soda
  • 1 egg
  • 500g+ plain flour, sifted
  • smarties and other sweet stuff for decorating

Note: I decided to use molasses because I’d never used it before.  For those uninformed like yours truly until I had the product in my hands, molasses is the sugar extracted from sugarcane.  It is actually a lot darker and has a bit of a bitter aftertaste (IMO) and hence my gingerbread turned out with similar qualities.  I’m going to use golden syrup next time!

Method

  1. Place chopped butter cubes into a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, bring sugar, molasses/golden syrup and spices to boil.
  3. Mix in the bicarb soda and let it froth a bit before pouring it over the butter in the mixing bowl.  Stir until butter is melted.
  4. Beat in the egg and slowly mix in the flour (may need more than 500g; just add more flour until the dough isn’t sticky anymore – may be quite stiff by the end).
  5. Sprinkle a chopping board or bench top with flour and then begin to roll out the dough (I separated the dough into manageable portions for this step).
  6. Use cookie cutters to cut out different shapes and place on a tray lined with baking paper.
  7. Bake at 170 degrees for 10-15 mins (watch it because your 2nd batch will probably cook faster than your first…
  8. Cool on wire rack and then decorate!
these spices definitely smell like Christmas!
these spices definitely smell like Christmas!
chemical reaction!
chemical reaction!
should probably add more flour...
should probably add more flour…
ta-da! (2nd batch as the first one was burnt lol)
ta-da! (2nd batch as the first one was burnt lol)
make sure you leave enough space in between the shapes or this will happen...
make sure you leave enough space in between the shapes or this will happen…
12 little Christmas trees...
12 little Christmas trees…
:))
:))
Decorating time! I used the royal icing recipe from Taste.com.au (click on photo; I used less 1 cup of icing sugar instead) with some assistance from Jono
Decorating time! I used the royal icing recipe from Taste.com.au (click on photo; I used 1 cup of icing sugar instead) with some assistance from Jono
I think I got a bit carried away hehe
I think I got a bit carried away hehe
This batch made 16 gingerbread 16 stars, 26 Christmas trees, 6 candy canes and 5 angels + a burnt batch.
This batch made 16 gingerbread stars, 26 Christmas trees, 6 candy canes., 5 angels + a burnt batch.

I brought these along to church yesterday and they were a big hit with the kiddies hehe I think it was the icing ;).

I’m going to attempt them again this weekend with golden syrup and hopefully will get an even better result :D.  Hope you give it a go this Christmas!

Thanks Jono for sharing the recipe and all the YI friends for giving me the opportunity to join you that night of gingerbread baking :).

Have a lovely week everyone!

♥ Ames

Question: What food (savoury or sweet) get you into the Christmas spirit?

Momofuku Compost Cookies feat. Snickers 3 Nuts!

Last winter I got the opportunity to spend a few weeks in a law firm learning about a whole new area of law and experiencing what life’s like as a lawyer.  I had a great time, mainly due to the team that I was placed with.  Just a lovely bunch of people :).  So when my supervisor casually mentioned that the last person who had been in their group had baked them some muffins before he rotated through to another team, I took that as an open invitation to try to bake and bring in some Momofuku Compost Cookies in my last week with the workgroup! :D

Even though they have been around for a while, the first time I ever heard of Momofuku Compost Cookies was via Vien’s blog and after that, I’d been itching to give them a go!

Cookie Tower, anyone? ;)

The main and fun decision to make when it comes to these cookies is your choice of salty and sweet goodies to throw into the mix!  After checking to see if anyone on the team had any allergies, I decided to use these ingredients for my first attempt:

also had some white choc chips in the fridge that I added…

I wanted something a bit crunchy so when I saw the new range of Snickers bars that had peanuts, almonds and hazelnuts, I had to pick them!  Measurement-wise, I counted them as half sweet, half salty (hope that makes sense…).

I had fun chopping them up!

Note: I doubled the traditional amount because I was optimistic that they would turn out so well that I would could bring a batch on the weekend to church as well hehe!  Thankfully they were well-received :).

OK, enough talk!  On with the recipe!

Momofuku Compost Cookies

(adapted from We Dare Food)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup & 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of your sweet goodies (chocolate, caramel and white chips)
  • 1 cup of your salty goodies (pretzels & potato chips)
  • 1 cup of chopped Snickers 3 Nuts bars (1/2 sweet, 1/2 salty)

Method

  1. Cream the butter, both sugars and honey with an electric mixer on medium high for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla extract and stir to incorporate. Increase mixing speed to medium-high and run mixer for 10 full minutes. During this time the sugar granules will dissolve, the mixture will become lighter in colour and mixture will double in size.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. By hand or using lowest speed of mixer, stir in the flour mixture – don’t beat it in or the cookies won’t be as tender. Stir in sweet and salty things.
  5. Once well combined, wrap a the cookie dough into a number of logs (see photos below).  Chill for a few hours or until ready to bake.       ***DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape.
  6. Heat the oven to 180C. Roll chilled cookie dough into small balls and place on a baking paper lined baking tray.  Make sure that there is a fair amount of space between each ball (see below).
  7. Bake 10-14 minutes. While in the oven, the cookies will spread- a lot! (All ovens are different so watch the cookies, specifically the edges).
  8. Cool the cookies completely on the baking tray before transferring.
Step 1
Step 2
Step 4a
Step 4b – so cool right? :)
Step 5 – doesn’t really matter what size you roll the logs into…
Step 6 – make sure there is enough space…

This was probably the main difference from other Momofuku recipes… usually people scoop them with an ice-cream scooper and then place it in the fridge.  We didn’t have any room so I just placed them in as logs and then rolled them into balls after they had chilled for a few hours.

Voila! :D

The cookies were definitely a hit, both at the workplace and at church with many people asking for the recipe :D.  They came out just the way I like my cookies – a little bit crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside :).

Enjoy!

Have a productive week everyone!  I better hit the books :D.

Random Question: If you were going to bake Compost Cookies, what salty or sweet goodies would you use?

♥ Ames