Sunday, December 17, 2006

Even Grinches make concessions

It's a week until Christmas and I've made two concessions to the season: gingerbread and the Christmas tree. Last year, the gingerbread flopped when I had a Dory moment and accidentally used cornflour instead of plain plour, and I couldn't be bothered putting up the tree. After all, you just have to take it down again, don't you?

The whole kitchen is covered in a fine film of flour and cinnamon and there are little dribbles of melted honey on the cooktop, the bench and the sink. This isn't real gingerbread, I'm afraid, but it tastes good and making it gives one that Nigella glow. See, I'm domestic, me!

Also, it's the only time I ever get out my rolling pin unless I need to muddle rum and limes for mojitos. The recipe I use is a German honey biscuit recipe that my old neighbour Trudy gave me. There isn't any ginger in it, but somehow it still tastes like gingerbread. Trudy used to make an enormous batch every Christmas and she had a big collection of cookie cutters. I'm too lazy to do lots of shapes, so I just go for hearts and minds:

Just in case you're feeling all gingerbread-enthused (or you just fancy a biscuit), here's the recipe. Sorry the measures are a bit weird - I've converted from pounds and ounces.

Trudy's honey biscuits
230g honey or golden syrup
115g white sugar
1 beaten egg
1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
230g plain flour plus 115g plain flour, extra
1 teaspoon bicarb soda, mixed with 3 teaspoons vinegar

Warm the honey/golden syrup and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Let it cool. Add the beaten egg and spice, then sift in the first 230g of plain flour. Stir to combine. And the bicarb soda and vinegar and stir through. Add the extra 115g flour and a little water to mix and stir to a thick dough. Let stand overnight. Roll out on a floured surface to 1.25cm thick and cut into shapes. Brush with beaten egg and bake for about 10 minutes at 180 degrees C.

It's best not to roll the dough out more than three times. If you do, it tends to make crappy biscuits. The recipe makes about four dozen hearts or stars, but I usually double it.

Putting up the Christmas tree was actually rather fun. Our tree, while made of fake piney stuff, is quite definitely as nature intended it. It is not upside-down, it is not made of purple tinsel and it wears a fairly normal collection of ornaments. I put the non-breakable decorations on the bottom and near the window sill, as Mr Furpants is rather fond of playing kitty tennis with baubles. He knocks them off and then chases them under the couch. As one would, if one were a cat.

Right. Apart from going out for a long lunch with my besties on Friday and cooking a big mofo of a turkey on Monday, Western Consumer Holiday is all sorted. Thank Ford for that.

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7 Comments:

At 4:25 pm, December 18, 2006, Blogger Ariel said...

I know what you mean about the domestic glow ... I get it when I bake (not often) but also when I do a big house clean. Domesticity is NOT my strength. Impressed with the cookies. They look good. Might just have to try the recipe!

 
At 4:26 pm, December 18, 2006, Blogger PetStarr said...

YOU MADE 8 DOZEN BISCUITS??????????

 
At 4:58 pm, December 18, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

Ariel, domesticity isn't really my strong suit either, so when I bake everyone better appreciate it ;)

Pet, erm, yes. Everyone in the family likes them, so I have to make a crapload.

 
At 7:25 pm, December 18, 2006, Blogger Mars said...

Hah! Western Consumer Holiday.

I'm stealing that.

 
At 12:01 pm, December 19, 2006, Anonymous ThirdCat said...

Never mind the biscuits (although they do look very good - extremely consistent quality which I do admire in a baker) - you make your own mojitos? I do hope to one day make your real life acquaintance redcap. Do you do lychee martinis too?

 
At 2:20 pm, December 19, 2006, Blogger redcap said...

Mars, all yours :) I probably stole it from somewhere myself.

Thirdcat, Thanks! I've never actually tried making a martini. I usually stick to mojitos, cosmopolitans and slushy margaritas. I must make that my summer project.

 
At 5:04 pm, June 21, 2007, Blogger River said...

To ariel, do the baking first, (brownies), then the house clean, then you have a nice reward for your efforts,(brownies).

 

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