Tuesday, 20 December 2011

What makes Christmas Christmassy?


Gingerbread hearts

This year I have been super excited about Christmas, as in SUPER EXCITED. I’ve “stepped into Christmas” big style. Imagine a little kid running mad around her living room squealing and winding all the adults up and you are getting close. I think I must be pretty annoying right now. The flat looks like a mistletoe tree has exploded in it, there are little sprigs all over the place just in case. I’m hedging my bets. I have spent many a quiet moment drifting off into a daydream about seeing my chums, spending time with my grandparents and munching on the fabulous festive food that is yet to come . . .

our lovely Christmas tree

In an ode to Christmas I’ve composed a what makes Christmas Christmassy list.

  1. Tinsel in my hair at work (a naff but compulsory accessory in the hospital at Christmas)
  2. Lugging a 6ft fir tree up the 3 flights of stairs to our flat.
  3. The free bar at my boyfriend's office party
  4. Pigs in blankets
  5. Christmas Eve diner with the Glasgow girls
  6. Vacherin Mont D’Or
  7. My Dad’s incredible to-the-minute Christmas lunch planner
  8. Making gingerbread hearts for decorating the tree, twee moi?
  9. Lazy pajama morning on boxing day 
So dear reader, tell me, what makes Christmas Christmassy for you? What makes your day?

gingerbread heart tree decorations

My lovely sister came to stay with me last weekend and in amongst the mulled wine glugging, present wrapping by the fireside and other clich├ęd Christmassy things to do we made these gingerbread hearts. Tasty and festive, a winning combination.

Gingerbread  - barely adapted from the Hummingbird bakery cookbook
Oven preheated to 180°

400g plain flour
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
180g unsalted butter – at room temperature
125g light or dark muscovado sugar
1 egg
125g black treacle

Sift together the flour, bicarbonate, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Set aside till later.

Add the butter and sugar to a separate bowl and mix together with a handheld whisk until light and fluffy.

Add in the egg and mix until incorporated.

Scrape down any unmixed ingredients as required.

Add in the flour mixture one tablespoon at a time, continuing to mix throughout.

The Hummingbird bakery advises leaving the dough over night in the fridge but we didn’t have the patience. We used the dough straight away and all was well.

Lightly dust your worktop and rolling pin and roll out your dough until it is about 5mm thick.

Use your cutters to make shapes and transfer onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper.

Make sure you leave plenty of space between them as they can spread slightly in the heat.

If you are making your gingerbread into decorations pierce the dough to make a 5mm hole. We used a chopstick to do this.

Bake for approx 12 minutes.

Leave to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy and have yourself a truly wonderful Christmas.