Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pen pal, Christmas card

Ever wonder how technology advances that it lost the personal touch which the old fashion conventional way used to delivers.  This Christmas, we handmade and personalised a Christmas card to be sent to his pen pal, Chiara, who is residing in Switzerland.  With only a few materials :-
  • Colour papers of your choice
  • Glitters
  • Stickers
And Chiara surprised us with a little storybook titled Weihnachten mit Charly (in German) and her handmade Christmas card too.  My boy was jumping with joy and elated to receive his first card!
Handmade Christmas card for his pen pal in Switzerland
Yay! Got his first Christmas card
from his pen pal

Linking up with :-

Friday, December 6, 2013

Gingerbread cookies

Gingerbread cookies all dressed up!

This was the first time that I baked these gingerbread cookies together with my son for the festive season.  The idea was first conceived when we were at the Four Leaves bakery.  I was looking for some bread to buy for breakfast and my boy's eyes was glued on those colourful gingerbread man cookies.  Needless to say, he asked me to buy it for him naturally which I did for the last couple of years.  However, I decided to bake it myself this time because I felt that the store bought cookie was overly sweet and added with too much spices to my liking. I looked up my favourite food blog, food-4tots and found the receipe.  Together, we went Phoon Huat to gather the ingredients and cookie cutter.  Unfortunately, Phoon Huat did not carry unsulfured molasses anymore according to the saleperson. I decided to check out Paragon Market Place during Papa's monthly checkup with his orthopaedic doctor at Mount Elizabeth medical center.  Pretty confidence and thought I would definitely get a bottle this time fairly quickly. But it was not the case. I hunted high and low at every nook and corner and just could not find it.  Then, with the help of the staff there, I was directed to the lowest rack which was not easily spotted at all and there were left only two bottles of molasses.  I grabbed a bottle without hesitation.  At the same time, we picked up a packet of M&Ms too. My boy was excited about decorating his first gingerbread man with M&Ms when I told him we finally had everything we need to make gingerbread cookies.
It took us 3 days to complete due to time constraint.  Well, I must say by breaking down the process of making these cookies, my boy enjoyed doing and decorating the cookies. We started on a Friday afternoon, 29 November 2013.  We mixed the ingredients and let the dough chilled in the refrigerator overnight.  The next day, we rolled out the dough and began our home baking.  Because I only have one baking tray, it took quite a while for me to finish baking all the cookies batches by batches. I tweaked the receipe to my convenience :P  I did not brush with egg wash.  I cut short by making it an one time effort to further cook all of the baked cookies under the residual heat with the oven door shut for the extra 5 minutes in a tray.  Yeah, I was not kidding - just one time extra 5 minutes for the all baked cookies!  Lastly, I used buttercream icing instead of royal icing which we piped on the following day. All turned well and gingerbread man cookies were really yummy.
Adapted and modified from food-4tots
Made 28 large gingerbread cookies - Gingerbread man, Snowflake and Tree
(using Wilton holiday cookie cutter set)
Baked 12 minutes for each batch
400g plain flour
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
 ½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp salt
170g unsalted butter, room temperature
110g soft dark brown sugar 
100g dark unsulfured molasses
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Buttercream Icing
1½ cup icing sugar
2 tbsp. of milk
3 tbsp of butter
Merry Christmas and have a happy holiday!
Roll out the dough

Ready to bake
After bake

Icing on cookie
It was not easy to pipe for this little man

Gingerbread man, snowflake and tree
I thought my boy did a good job on the Christmas tree above.  What do you think?