Our Advent Calendar | Christmas 2014
Friday, 21 November 2014
Making our advent calendar with Baby MiH and Mr MiH was a lot of fun - it may have involved eating raw pastry and smarties, but that is why I prefer baking than playing with play-do.
It is a bit early to make an advent calendar - especially one involving biscuits (they need to last for a bit of time) but as I was not sure whether I would have time to make it for the first of December I decided that last weekend was as good as any - and I could make fresher biscuits in between and these could be decorative.
I probably got out all the cookie cutters I have in my possession to make the cutting interesting, but also the advent calendar a bit more special. As you can see from the icing - this is very much homemade. Baby MiH was involved in the cutting but not in the icing - I am not really good at it, so with a toddler I dread to think what we would have ended up with.
I used a new cookie recipe for these biscuits - from this book. It is an ok-ish book but it does have an interesting section on baking with children. I think it is the third time we baked with Baby MiH - and actually the first time with a pastry that does not stick everywhere, and got him interested for a whole hour! So it is probably worth using pastries like this with toddlers.
The recipe is for classic honey cookies - these are super sweet (Baby MiH cannot get enough of them, we are a bit less keen, but they do smell wonderful!). You need to make the pastry beforehand - so just be aware of it, if you have mentioned to one little toddler that he will be baking soon...
You will need (this makes a lot of pastry - way enough for the advent calendar and more; I followed the proportions because I wanted thick ones and I was worried I needed spares for the calendar because of icing accidents - but I think you can reduce the amounts by a third):
- 1 jar of clear honey (450g)
- 225g of light brown cane sugar
- 225g butter
- 10g of baking powder
- 2 tbsp of rosewater
- 1 kg of flour
- 2 tsp of ground cinnamon, 1tsp ground ginger, and 1tsp ground cloves
How to make the pastry:
Bring the honey, sugar and butter to the boil, stirring constantly, and leave to cool. Dissolve the baking powder in the rosewater, stir the wet ingredients into the tepid honey mixture and add half of the flour, mixed with the spices. Mix well and gradually add the remaining flour. Knead the dough, put it in a plastic bag, and rest in a cool place for 24 hours (I left it for an afternoon in my garage...).
Roll out the dough to the thickness you want, cut into pieces and bake at 200 C for 15-18 minutes.
Let them cool down. And then get on with the icing, once the toddler has gone to bed. I used some already made icing (this one in red and white)- so much easier to handle.
I know this is not perfect, but the fact that we all contributed to make our advent calendar is pretty cool (although I am not saying it is less expensive than one off the shelf). Also it did allow me to keep with the theme I have in mind for this Christmas. I am just wondering now how I am going to display it. It is one thing to display them neatly on my vintage trunk and another to make a Christmas garland out of them...
What is your take on advent calendars this year? And do you have kids pastry recipes you would recommend?