Baking is a great activity to do with kids over the Christmas holidays and we think gingerbread is the perfect place to start!
Making gingerbread comes with loads of fun hand kneading, festive cutter shapes, crazy decorations and so much more. All you need to get started is a good recipe (we have one here for you), some basic kitchen cupboard ingredients and a spare afternoon. To get the most of the experience, here’s our top five tips for baking festive gingerbread with kids:
1) Getting your dough to the right consistency is key to being able to have fun rolling it out and cutting it into gingerbread shapes. A good tip is to refrigerate your dough before rolling. This makes it much less sticky. You ideally want a dough that’s a similar consistency to Play-Doh. And don’t forget to use plenty of flour to dust your surface before rolling.
2) If you want to make gingerbread shapes to hang somewhere (e.g. Christmas tree), poke a hole in the top of your shape with a straw before baking. Once they come out of the oven and have cooled, you’ll be able to thread through some pretty ribbon or string and instantly have a tree decoration with a story! Alternatively, poke two holes on either side of the shape to create a chain, this is easy way to liven up a mantel piece.
3) Don’t over-bake them or they will be too hard to eat! You have to get gingerbread out of the oven while the middle is still a little soft as they like to harden outside on a cooling rack. The edges should just be lightly brown. For very best results, pre-heat the oven, use a timer and oven thermometer, and follow the recipe exactly!
4) Coloured royal icing is one the best ways to decorate gingerbread. It’s fun, easy to use and there’s no limit to creativity. You can make your own or buy ready-made icing. Royal icing is easy to colour using gel-based food colouring but be careful as this can stain! Try not to make it too runny or else your gingerbread men won’t look so happy! Sometimes, less is more: a lot of icing can take away from the delicious spicy flavour, so here we’ve only added a small eye and beak to make these robins.
5) If you think royal icing is a little too messy, try decorating the gingerbreads before they go in the oven. Fun ways of doing this can be to go over the dough with an embossed rolling pin or stamping a pattern on. You can try sticking M&M’s or other sweets as eyes but be careful as some will melt in the oven! Alternatively, try cutting a hole out of your gingerbread shape, place in the oven for 5 minutes and then remove to fill the hole with crushed boiled sweets. Bake for another 5-10 minutes and you will have a glorious stained glass effect from the melted sweets!
There is really no better time to try your hand at some weird and wonderful gingerbread shapes and designs. We’re sure friends and family will love to taste test the ones that don’t make it to your tree and try their hand at decorating. If you don’t have time to get stuck in with baking, we’ve perfected our recipe for you: click the link here to get our little gingerbread men sent to you. Or why not choose from our three adorable Christmas character gingerbread pops, complete with stars and bows. Great stocking fillers, without the mess!
Seeing your crafts and creations is always a treat- feel free to send over pictures and follow us @fionacairnsltd on Instagram or Facebook.