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?

Christmas in a few snaps…

Oh Christmas Tree...
The flute comes out for carolling...
Aussie-Asian Christmas
feasting...
Christmas cupcakes ♥

yep, that's taro filling...
Flowers arranged by the talented Lily :)
"Have one!"
Gingerbread houses seem to be all the craze this year..
Mum's Christmas ham
Christine's amazing garlic butter and chilli prawns
Hail and crazy cyclone weather = a Melbourne 'white' Christmas

First Christmas with a ‘new’ church family and some new family members:

Brayden, Emmanuel and Ada's first Christmas ^^

So much to be thankful for :).

Hope you had a blessed Christmas with friends and family!

♥ Ames

Merry Christmas!

As promised…

Not the greatest quality and I’ve yet to get used to adjusting the volume on the high notes for recording purposes but hope you enjoyed it nonetheless :).

Be safe wherever you are in the world and may you have a chance to experience the true joy, peace and hope that is celebrated at Christmas time :).

Off to go carolling!  See you on the flip side!

♥ Ames

’tis the season

The year is wrapping up and that means that piano teaching is also being put on hold for the holiday season.  We had our annual ‘Purely Piano Play-out’ concert on the weekend and it was so great to see the improvement that’s taken place over the course of the year.  A number of the students have hit that point in their music education where lots of the connections have been made and they’re just flying – three students had their Book 1 Concert Set performance which was such a big achievement!  Seeing the progress of your students is the best present that any teacher could have for Christmas but these were kinda cool too:

It's too pretty to eat...

That last one is ‘Hot Chocolate in a Jar’ from the same family that put together ‘Cookie in a Jar‘.  I love the creativity, time and effort put into these eatable gifts – and they’re pretty yummy too ^^.

Continue reading “’tis the season”