It’s January 21st, 2013 and snowing all across the UK.
The silent bliss of the snowflakes dropping quietly makes me smile of how innocent and beautiful it all looks. Unless you have to drive/walk to work or take the children to school then there is no reason to dislike the snow. Or maybe not. I think this time round I’d rather watch the snow silently and admire the view from my window while I wrap myself in my coat and scarf. It’s always a good excuse to blame the cold, but really I don’t feel too well today. Unfortunately the school wasn’t shut, so out we went.
Since I won’t be making a snowman, I would like to share with you a little ‘project’ I donated for the school raffle back in December for their Christmas Fayre. It didn’t snow then, which is why I thought the pictures will be more suitable for this weather.
When it comes to children’s stories I’m a huge fan; I mean really, do I need another excuse to read to my children. My favourite has to be the Gruffalo, and since I have become a bit more confident in my baking and sugar-craft skills I wanted to create the snow-scene from the Gruffalo’s Child story book.
So, with Axel Scheffler’s illustrations for inspiration and Julia Donaldson‘s words resonating in my head I got working. Apart from the Gruffalo’s horns which fell off while transporting him into the cave, I was really pleased with the end scene. I then hoped to win the raffle ticket to claim my prize back (merely to keep the kids happy!), but no it wasn’t meant to be. Even if I did, I wouldn’t have eaten much of it as I find icing far too sweet to tolerate for more than a few bites. I took enough photos to satisfy me.
The whole scene is made of gingerbread biscuits, royal icing, and sugar-paste for the animal models.
I would have written a full-post picturing how I made all the models, but unfortunately I didn’t think that far ahead at the time.
Here’s the gingerbread recipe I used, modified from The Bourke Street Bakery.
Gingerbread Biscuits – Makes about 12 (depending on the size of cookie cutter)
- 280 g plain flour (I use Kamut flour)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 150 g unsalted butter
- 90 g unrefined Muscovado sugar
- 80 g honey or golden syrup
- 1 egg
To make the biscuits, sift the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and spices together in a large bowl.
In a separate large bowl cream together the butter, sugar, honey (or golden syrup) with a hand-held electric beater until pale and creamy. Add the egg and mix until well combined.
Using a spatula add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and thoroughly mix, stopping as soon its all smooth. You don’t want to over-mix any biscuit dough as it will result in a dry-tough biscuit.
Split the dough into two batches, and flatten each batch into a disc. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, or for up to 3 days.
Preheat oven to 170 C or 155 C fan assisted. (325 F/Gas 3).
Remove from the refrigerator and allow the dough to soften slightly. Lightly flour your work surface, or roll out your dough between two sheets of baking paper, until about 3 mm (1/8 inch) thick.
Cut into desired shapes and roll back any remaining dough until it has all been used.
Place the biscuits on a baking trays lined with baking parchment, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly puffed and golden. Allow to cool on the trays and NOT a cooling rack. This allows them to harden enough to be used for decorative purposes.
Pipe with icing of your choice and let your imagination run wild, or even better let the kids make a right
“All was quiet in the deep dark wood. The mouse found a nut and the nut was good.” - The Gruffalo