Tag Archives: Christmas

Look What I Made: Christmas Quilt

I don’t blog as often as I used to (does anyone these days?), but I still am drawn to documenting the things I make. It seems past generations, without nifty social media and the wonderful world-wide web, didn’t keep records of their creations like many of us do today. I have no record of the creations made by my late grandmother – the expert knitter – besides the few jumpers and cardigans that still remain, at the back of a cupboard. Jumpers and cardigans that would arrive to our door wrapped in brown paper with a blue Air Mail sticker and a green customs notice. (Who could resist peaking at the description of what was hidden inside!) I like looking back at things I’ve made, especially as many of them have new homes.

This past Christmas – my baby’s first – I made him a keepsake gift, a Christmas quilt. I was inspired in part by an Instagram post (there’s that nifty social media) by Kelle Hampton who decorates her children’s bedrooms for the season. Brilliant! I chose somewhat non-traditional colours, so it still fits with the rest of his (current) room décor. I did um and ah over using snow-themed fabrics because their ain’t no white Christmas in Australia. But I reasoned Santa comes from the North Pole and there is snow there, and Santa is Christmas! Dilemma solved.

Vital Stats:
Finished size – 126 x 104cm
Quilt top – Dashwood Studio Merry Little Christmas by Jane Farnham, and assorted Prima Homespun and Christmas fabrics from Spotlight
Batting – 100% cotton
Backing – Nordic Holiday by Amanda Murphy
Quilting – Vertical and horizontal lines on both sides of the seams
Binding – 1/4 inch double fold cross-grain hand sewn binding

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Christmas Cookies

*Edit – A few people have asked where I got the containers with lids. They are from my local supermarket, and are a generic brand. If you are in Australia I think they are from Coles.

Christmas treats for my co-workers have been baked, packaged and gifted. The out-of-office alert is active on my e-mail account and work is done for 2011. Now it’s time to wrap presents, bake food to share with family and friends and to look towards 2012. I’m looking forward to the new year and the possibilities it brings. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season.

Christmas Kitchen Sink Cookies

Homemade Oreos (without filling)

Snickerdoodles

Reindeer tages by Eat Drink Chic

Knit tags also by Eat Drink Chic

Wood type tags by Ellinee

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Gingerbread Cookies

The thing I don’t like about gingerbread cookies is the, um, ginger. I remember getting gingerbread men from, of all places, Pizza Hut when I was kid. Because they were cute, not because I liked the taste. Sounds like I wasn’t the only one! These cookies have a mild ginger and brown sugar flavour. My decorating won’t win any awards but I had fun. Hope you all had a merry Christmas.

Gingerbread Men
From Taste.com.au

These gingerbread men are both fun and easy to make, and, what’s more, the kids will love them!

Ingredients

Melted butter, to grease
125g butter, at room temperature
100g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) golden syrup
1 egg, separated
375g (2 1/2 cups) plain flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Plain flour, to dust
150g (1 cup) pure icing sugar, sifted
8-10 drops red liquid food colouring
8-10 drops green liquid food colouring
Smarties, to decorate

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush 2 baking trays with melted butter to lightly grease.
  2. Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the golden syrup and egg yolk and beat until combined. Stir in the flour, ginger, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Press dough into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
  3. Meanwhile, place egg white in a clean, dry bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add icing sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Divide icing among 3 bowls. Cover 1 bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Add red colouring to 1 bowl and stir until combined. Add green colouring to remaining bowl and stir until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
  4. Place the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper and roll out until about 4mm thick. Use a 9cm gingerbread man cutter to cut out shapes. Place on trays about 3cm apart. Repeat with any excess dough.
  5. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven. Transfer to a rack to cool.
  6. Place prepared icings in small plastic bags. Cut a small hole in a corner of each bag. Pipe icing over gingerbread men to decorate. Finish with Smarties.

Notes & tips

  • Allow 30 minutes resting time.

From Good Taste, December 2003, Page 40. Recipe by Nadia French

 

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Christmas Crackers

Christmas lunch is not complete without Christmas crackers.

From Wikipedia:

Christmas crackers or bon-bons are an integral part of Christmas celebrations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and other Commonwealth countries, as well as in countries of the former Soviet Union (where it is called “хлопушка”). A cracker consists of a cardboard tube wrapped in a brightly decorated twist of paper, making it resemble an oversized sweet-wrapper. The cracker is pulled by two people, and, much in the manner of a wishbone, the cracker splits unevenly. The split is accompanied by a small bang produced by the effect of friction on a chemically impregnated card strip (similar to that used in a cap gun).

In one version of the tradition, the person with the larger portion of cracker empties the contents from the tube and keeps them. In another, each person will have their own cracker and will keep its contents regardless of whose end they were in. Typically these contents are a coloured paper hat or crown; a small toy or other trinket and a motto, joke or piece of trivia on a small strip of paper. Crackers are often pulled before or after Christmas dinners or at parties.

For my crackers, I made rolls from the cardboard found inside Christmas wrapping paper.

The “snaps” came from Lincraft for about $3 for a packet of 12.

I bought a very cheap set of crackers to pull out the hat and jokes. I added Santa chocolates to each hat and joke. If I’d had more time, I would have made hats.

I picked up this gorgeous paper from Michaels in the US. It was 40% off after Thanksgiving.

Always test your materials! One layer of brown paper worked, two layers did not.

I used a little sticky tape to hold the snaps inside the cracker.

Roll it up and fix with some double-sided tape.

Decorate the outside of the cracker in any way you please.

Finish off with some ribbon or thread, perhaps.

Voilà! Make enough for everyone and then a few extra, because you never know who might turn up at the last minute!

 

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Christmas Cookies

This was a gift for one of my oldest and dearest friends Elise. We have been friends since she was two she will tell you! It’s  a jar with all the dry ingredients for a batch of cookies. She will add butter, 1 egg and vanilla and bake them for about 8 minutes. The idea came from the talented and creative Bakerella. I got the M&Ms in the US, it seems there are no Christmas-themed M&Ms in Australia this year. The jars are from Ikea.

I baked a couple of batches of the cookies myself and they are indeed good. Not quite as good as kitchen sink cookies, but pretty close. Happy baking and Merry Christmas Elise!

Cowboy Cookies in a Jar
From Bakerella

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup & leveled
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooking oats
3/4 cup m&ms
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Stir all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Add
1 slightly beaten egg
1/2 cup butter (melted slightly in the microwave)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Use the back of a large spoon to work it all together. You may even need to use your hands to get everything incorporated.
Then roll the cookie dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, place on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. I got about 26-28 cookies out of these.

Attempt One: Opps, messed up the order of the ingredients.

Attempt two: The jar was still hot from washing and melted the choc chips.

 Attempt three: Didn’t happen as the third jar was missing a seal.

Attempt four: Bingo! Well, not perfect, but looks good.

Finished product.

Instructions and a handwritten tag on the back.

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Wilton No. 2110 (1M) Open Star Decorating Tip

Santa also brought a new tip for my piping bag. The No. 2110 (1M) is the attachment you need to create great big swirls of icing to pile on top of your cupcakes. It usually requires a large coupler (the plastic part to attach the tip to the bag), however, you could probably get away with not using one — just slide the tip into your bag. Here is a good explanation of how to make swirls with your No. 2110.

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xmas_cuppies.jpg

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For Wilton products in Sydney, try The Essential Ingredient in Crows Nest, Peters of Kensington in Kensington or eBay. Unfortunately, Wilton’s online store does not ship internationally.

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Christmas Cookies

This recipe is from Coles’ free Christmas magazine. The magazine is available in Coles supermarkets and also on the Coles website.

christmas_cookies.jpg

The cookies are very plain, allowing you to decorate them as you please. The recipe can be used to make  cookies of any shape; it’s also a good one for kids to make and enjoy. Next time, I will use Donna Hay for cookies instead of this recipe. The Donna Hay’s mixture is more like shortbread and sweeter tasting. I will use it for another batch of Christmas cookies closer to Christmas day.

I do not own a food processor, so I used my electric beaters. They will work as long as the butter is soft.

Be careful with the cooking time on these. You don’t want them golden brown on top, only underneath. I found 8-10 minutes was enough time, but this will depend on the size and thickness of your cookies. Cook small cookies on a separate tray to large ones, so each can be cooked for the appropriate time.

The topping on my cookies is melted chocolate and icing. Melt chocolate and drizzle over the top of cookies any way you like. Or dip the cookies in icing (icing sugar mixed with food colouring and a tablespoon or two of hot water) and then decorate with sprinkles, M&Ms or cachous. The icing needs to be thick, so add the food colouring to the icing sugar before adding water. Then add the water gradually, while stirring.

Christmas Tree Cookies
Adapted from: Coles’ Christmas magazine

2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup icing sugar mixture, sifted
200g butter, chopped
2 tablespoons cold water

2 cups pure icing sugar
Food colouring
Hot water
Decorations eg: sprinkles, cachous

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 160 degrees Celsius for a fan-forced oven. Line baking trays with baking powder.

Place flour, icing mixture and butter into a food processor. Process in short bursts until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add 2 tablespoons cold water and process until mixture forms small, moist clumps. Turn out onto non-stick baking paper or a floured surface and gather the dough into a ball.

Roll out mixture until 1cm thick. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters.

Place onto trays, bake for 8-12 minutes, until cookies are golden brown underneath but still pale on top. Cool in wire rack.

Sift pure icing sugar into a bowl. Add food colouring and stir. Add up to 2 1/2 tablespoons of hot water and stir until smooth. Icing should be thick enough to cling to cookies.

Decorate cookies by dipping them into icing and sprinkling decorations on top. Leave to set.

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