How far have you got with your Christmas shopping? We have 100% totally completely… barely begun! Buying Christmas gifts is probably a year long commitment that 90% of people squeeze into the two weeks before Christmas. It seems like this year people are looking for extra special treats to make up for the utter flopflest of 2020, and that means everyone’s getting pretty imaginative in their gift giving!
Not only that - but having to change plans last minute means there’s a lot to sort out. Whether it’s last minute gifts, or suddenly having to whip up your own Christmas treats when you thought you’d be bubbling with loved ones, it might feel a bit overwhelming.
Now, you can probably see where we’re going with this... food solves everything!
Of course, as a cookery school we would say that - but we really believe in the healing power of a good bake sesh. The Great British Bake Off is proof of that - our entire nation (and even several other countries) coming together around Mary Berry’s soggy bottoms and Noel and Matt’s wholesome bromance. The act of cooking can be energising, restorative and heal the stresses and anxieties of 2020. Let’s be honest, even without 2020, Christmas can be a little full on.
Our go-to chillout is to nip into the kitchen to make gingerbread. When you’ve done it once, it quickly becomes a favourite recipe you can do on autopilot, and there are endless ways to get creative with it. Will you try adding different spices? Will you make a gingerbread house, baubles to hang from the tree, or package your gingerbread naked (the gingerbread, not you), and post it to friends complete with all the sprinkles and icing for them to decorate themselves? (We’re going to steal our own idea and try that out with friends).
Give our gingerbread recipe a go, and if you like it, why not join us on one of our irresistible baking classes? You can even do one online with our DCS At Home online cookery school!
Gingerbread Bauble Biscuits
Makes about 30 small biscuits (which means you can eat 5 and not feel bad)
112g softened unsalted butter
85g caster sugar
85g soft dark brown sugar
1 level tsp golden syrup
1 small egg
170g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
With an electric hand mixer, beat the butter and both sugars together until pale and fluffy (you’ll know it when you see it - it starts to look like a cloud). Add the syrup and egg and mix to thoroughly combine.
Add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Add these dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir to a rough dough.
Turn out onto a clean work surface and bring the dough together into a ball.
Cut the ball in half and shape both pieces into a circle.
Roll between two pieces of greaseproof paper (this is ESSENTIAL unless you want your gingerbread to stick to everything) until a bit thicker than a pound coin.
Place both sheets in the fridge and leave for 10-15 minutes until firm (don’t skip this)
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180OC and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
Using a plain pastry cutter, stamp out 5cm circles. Using a much smaller cutter (or plain piping nozzle), stamp out holes for some ribbon.
Transfer to the prepared baking sheet keeping space between them. Place the biscuits in the oven for 10 mins until risen and golden. When you’ve baked these a few times you’ll know whether you want to take them out sooner (softer biscuits) or later (firmer biscuits). It’s really up to you!
Once you remove them from the oven and whilst they are still warm, use your cutters again if necessary to re-establish the holes you made for the ribbon.
Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before piping patterns with white icing. You can try friends’ names, Christmas themes, or even secret messages
Thread coloured ribbon through the hole you made and make a bow in the top. These can then be hung from a Christmas tree as an ornament or given as a gift!
We’d love to know how you get on with the recipe - take a photo and tag us on Instagram to be featured in our Stories!
Do you have more festive baking you’d like us to write about - maybe you’re not sure how to nail a Yule Log, or you want to perfect your mince pies? Drop a comment, DM or email to let us know.