Archive for December 2013 | Monthly archive page

Gingerbread houses are gorgeous, festive, and¬†are made to be admired!¬†For those¬†who do not love gingerbread (i.e. children)¬†we used¬†our sugar cookie recipe to bake mini “Soetkoekie” houses. Soetcookies hold their shape well when baking, this lends itself to shaping the dough with cookie cutters or a knife. We created this little house by cutting dough to fit the following template.

Ingredients:

300g Butter 1 cup Sugar 1 Egg 1 tsp. Vanilla 2.5 cups Cake flour 1/2 tsp. Baking powder 1/2 tsp. Salt

Whip the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the egg slowly with the vanilla and stir. Sift the remaining ingredients and beat into the mixture till the dough combines and forms a ball around the whisk/dough hook. Place the dough in cling film and store in the fridge for 1 hour, or until firm.

Cut a¬†slice of cold¬†dough, place the template over the dough and cut along the template to create the walls x 2, roof x 2 and front/back x 2. Place¬†on a lined/ non-stick baking tray and bake at 180¬įC for 8-12 minutes or until the edges are golden. Allow to cool on the baking pan.

We used royal icing powder mixed with water to create an icing which dries hard in minutes/ you could create your own by whipping egg whites and icing sugar. We decorated our houses using Nicoletta Christmas Tree Confetti, Heart Confetti, Snowflake Wafers, Pearl Drops, and Nicoletta Soft Pearl balls in cream, green and red. We created an edible glue using CMC and water to stick our decorations to the houses.

Mince pies are a staple food around Christmas time, and we just love to munch our way through these tempting Yule tide favourites! The mark of a great Christmas mince pie is the filling. Each pie must be filled to the brim with yummy ready-to-use¬†fruit mince. Phyllo pastry (named after the Greek word for leaf “filo”) are paper-thin sheets of unleavened flour dough. Using this light, crisp pastry¬†instead of short-crust pastry is¬†a unique¬†way of making¬†mouth watering¬†mince pies!

Ingredients:

Phyllo pastry Butter – to baste Ready-to-use fruit mince

Cut 15cm squares of phyllo pastry – 2 square sheets¬†per parcel, and brush with melted butter. Arrange the phyllo pastry in a muffin pan and fill with a table spoon of fruit mince. Bake¬† at 180¬įC for approx. 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

We cut out star decorations using Nicoletta Marzipan and White Fondant; and sprinkled a few white Star Confetti for that extra special Christmas effect.

Now is the time to decorate and embellish your rich Christmas cake. Wow all your friends and family with a superbly adorned cake! With fondant and marzipan as the traditional means of decorating, we have outlined a step by step approach to covering a Christmas cake in fondant, as well as making a few easy little figurines to top the cake.

Paint the surface of the marzipan-covered cake with alcohol or water (not too much as you certainly don’t want a “mushy” wet marzipan surface), or use smooth apricot jam. This allows the fondant to stick to the marzipan layer below. Roll out your fondant on a lightly dusted surface, measure the top and sides of your cake and compare this against the rolled out fondant – just to be sure that the fondant is sufficient to cover the entire cake. Use your rolling pin to lift and gently drape the icing onto the cake. Flatten the top before tucking the icing around the sides. Trim off the excess fondant with a knife. Smooth the top and sides of the cake with a warm hand or by using a cake smoother.

For a few more tips on covering cakes with fondant, have a look at our post on¬†Nicoletta’s guide¬†to playing with fondant, where we have¬†calculated how much fondant is needed to cover cakes of different sizes, and also¬†displayed our colour chart for mixing fondants.

We made a small fondant¬†Christmas tree decorated with metallic “Bling” balls,¬†and brightly coloured presents to bring our Christmas cake to life. These figurines were so easy to make, all we needed¬†was corn starch (Maizina) for dusting surfaces and hands, and edible glue (make edible glue by mixing a piece of white fondant with a small amount of water). Moulding decorations can be festive fun for the kids, just think of fondant as ‚Äúedible play-dough‚ÄĚ.