Ermagaaaad….December is FINALLY upon us. I stayed up until 1 am on the 30th to sprinkle the boarding house with décor so that the girls would wake up to a festive wonderland. Michael Bublé kept me company while I embarked upon my secret elf duties. Tinsel was woven down the banisters, fridges were transformed into snowmen, and clocks adorned with cardboard antlers and glittery snouts. The girls’ excited little faces in the morning made the reduced sleep well worth it.
I wasn’t expecting the tree to arrive until the weekend. But at about 11:30am on the 1st of December, lo and behold, it appeared at the door. Carried by four men. A Christmas miracle. With such a big boarding house, you really have to get quite creative with decorations to make it feel truly festive.
Last weekend, in preparation, I enlisted a few girls to help whip up a batch of salt dough gingerbread men for the tree. This is a bake, but is in fact not one you would want to eat! Believe me. We tried some of the dough and promptly ejected it back out and into the bin. I guess you could put edible biscuits on the tree – many people do – but I just don’t see them lasting more than a couple of days. They’d be gobbled up!
Now while these do not taste in anyway delicious, with the help of a few teaspoons of trusty cinamon, I made sure that they smelt the part! I went for gingerbread men shapes, but feel free to get creative – reindeer, snowflakes, christmas trees. The world is your festive oyster!
for the salt dough cookies
2 cups plain flour
1 cup table salt
1 cup water
3 tsp ground cinnamon
for the decor
gold or silver glitter
red ribbon or string
1/ Preheat the oven to 170°C. In a medium bowl mix together the flour, salt, and cinnamon.
2/ Add the water, and mix with your hands to form a dough.
3/ On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to the thickness of a £1 coin (about 3mm).
4/ To avoid sticking, dip the edge of your cookie cutter in flour, and cut out as many gingerbread men as you can, transferring them to a lined baking tray. We also cut out some teeny tiny ones too with the scraps of dough at the end!
5/ Using a straw or the end of a pencil, pierce a hole at the top of each shape (this will be where the ribbon will go through in order to hang the chaps).
6/ Bake for 45mins-an hour, keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn.
7/ Once cool, dip the end of a pencil in the white paint, and dot each man with eyes and buttons. Paint on a little mouth using the paintbrush. Allow to dry completely.
8/ Coat each man with a layer of pva to strengthen and give some shine, and sprinkle with glitter before the glue sets. Allow to dry completely.
9/ Feed lengths of ribbon or festive string through each one, and hang on the tree! We didn’t bother with trying to tie ribbon onto the teeny tiny ones, but instead carefully balanced them on branches toward the top of the tree to make them look like they were clambering up!
And check out #CAKE’s bakes of Christmas past:
The Twelve Bakes of Christmas 2015
Chocolate Gingerbread Men
Chocolate Orange Truffle Puds
Snowman Marshmallow Pops
Ginger Nut & Salted Caramel Marbled Millionaire Slice
White Chocolate-Dipped Meringue Santa Hats
Yuletide Rocky Road
Candy Cane Swirl Cupcakes
The Twelve Bakes of Christmas 2013
Snow-Dipped Ginger Snaps
Mini Mince Pies
Stained-Glass Window Biscuits
Speedy Figgy Pudding
Orange Tea Loaf
Peanut Butter Fudge
Festive Sausage Plait
Bûche de Noël