Initially I was surprised to discover Ikea sold gingerbread house kits coming up to Christmas but when you think about it Ikea is the perfect place to sell a flat pack gingerbread house…
Aidan and I spent two happy evenings assembling the house. Here is the pack unwrapped
We started by mixing up 300g icing sugar and covering a base board, using a palette knife to spread the icing.
We then used a number 12 dot icing nozzle and stiff icing to ice the major joins.
We left the house like this for an hour to set before putting the roof on.
At this point we left the house overnight to set. Next evening we decorated
We mixed another 200g icing sugar and spread it over the roof and chimney. We used match makers to get the diagonal roof stripes and used smarties, wine gums and liquorice allsorts to do decorate.
I made the snowman from 2 large marshmallows one on top of the other with a cocktail stick pushed through. I then used a large chocolate button topped by a mini marshmallow and chopped off the excess cocktail stick. I used 2 chocolate drops for the eyes and a strawberry lace for the scarf.
We used stiff icing throughout and added the warm water a teaspoon at at time to make sure we didn’t add too much at once.
Using a kit is a great way to build confidence before baking your own gingerbread. Aidan (age 13) did most of the mixing of icing, assembling and decorating with me on hand to help out.
This is the other fudge recipe I made with Aidan and his friends last w/e for their sweet making party. This is very much another safe fudge recipe to do with children and was a little on the sticky and sweet side. However all of it was eagerly eaten by the teens. I would make it again with younger children but I’d get teens to do something more challenging next time. I’ve adjusted the quantities slightly as I thought there were too many marshmallows. We made it without walnuts as a couple of the boys weren’t keen on walnuts. Since it needed something else on other than marshmallows I put on the white chocolate chips and sprinkled on some chewable silver balls. (I came across the chewable silver balls in the baking section of my local co-op, for reasons I don’t understand kids & teens love silver balls on cakes & ice cream etc but they are usually so hard I worry about impact on teeth. Hard silver balls would definitely not work on fudge)
- 1/2 tsp Vegetable oils
- 150g mini marshmallows
- 250g plain chocolate chips
- 1 can (430ml approx) condensed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 250g chopped walnuts (optional)
- 100g white chocolate chips (optional)
- (chewable) Silver balls (optional)
- Line a 20cm baking tin with tin foil, use some kitchen towel to rub with oil
- Put chocolate chips and condensed milk in a bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Then stir, if not melted return bowl to microwave for another 30 secs 1 or 2 more times stirring each time (be care not to get the chocolate too hot).
- Gently stir the vanilla essence, most of the marshmallows and walnuts into the chocolate mixture
- Scape the chocolate mixture into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top
- Sprinkle fuge with remaining marshmallows, white chocolate chips and silver balls if using and press down gently.
- Put in fridge for an hour
- Lift foil to remove fudge from tin, peel away foil and cut into pieces.
This is a recipe book I bought my boys years ago but we never got around to using it. The only way really is to set aside an afternoon for this sort of activity just as I did last w/e for Aidan’s birthday. This really is a great recipe for younger kids as well as teens as no hot sugar is involved and they tasted great, creamy and chocolatey with no ability to detect that their is cream cheese in the recipe. (I doubled up the quantities as the original recipe really wouldn’t have made enough fudge for several teens, these are my quantities)
- 150g full-fat cream cheese
- 700g icing sugar
- 2 level tbsp cocoa powder (I always use green & blacks)
- 150g plain chocolate (recipe calls for chocolate drops presumably so they will melt quicker)
- 80g butter
- Use a paper towel to wipe some vegetable oil onto the sides and base of 22cm square cake tin, Line the base with greaseproof paper and wipe the paper as well.
- Put cream cheese into a bowl, sift the icing sugar and coca into the bowl and mix well together.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a separate bowl.
- Add chocolate and butter mix into the cream cheese mixture and beat toegther with a spoon until they are creamy.
- Spoon the mixture into the tin pushing it into the corners, smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
- Put into the fridge for two hours until it is set
- Turn fudge out onto a chopping board and remove the paper
- Cut into squares
This will keep for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge.
I remember watching Urvashi make honeycomb in series 2 of the Great British Bake-off and she made it look so easy I thought I’d have a try on Aidan’s sweet making birthday party (we also tried a couple of fudge recipes I’ll do as a separate post). Humm it really didn’t work as well but tasted good so I will try (and try) again until I get it.
- 200g Caster sugar
- 500ml runny honey
- 1 tbsp liquid glucose
- 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Put the sugar, honey glucose and 3.5 tbsp water into a pan.
- Bring to the boil and boil until a sugar thermometer reaches 150degrees C (it should be a light caramel colour).
- Remove from heat and quickly add bicarbonate of soda whisking it in.
- Pour the mixture onto a lined baking sheet and leave to cool and set.
Aidan’s friend Conor who was helping said they had tried doing it at home and that temperature was really important, too hot and it tasted bitter/burnt, too cool and it was too chewy. With that in mind we were really careful with the temperature.
So what went wrong ? Mine ended up with a thin layer of glass like sweet topped by a thin layer of almost honeycomb. The bicarb clumped (it was a bit past it use by date) so I didn’t get the right degree of fizz.
I did some trouble shooting for advice and found others mention similar problem but not really any answers other than keep trying. I think I was too worried about the need to pour it into the tray quickly that I didn’t mix in the bicarb enough (and clumpy bicarb didn’t help). And looking at other recipes I’m not convinced there was enough bicarb. I’ll just have to practise…