Thursday, 27 December 2012

IHSW, Christmas baking and more

I hope you all had a great Christmas and are now enjoying that quieter time of year between Christmas and the new year - at least it always is for me. Now on to the updates:
I didn't get as much embroidery done as planned during the weekend as I was still recovering from being ill - needed lots of sleep so it was good the ids were at ex's for the weekend. All I managed was a small start on the air side of the next biscornu that goes with the fire and water one. No photo's of that right now as it's too dark to take photo's and ecru on white really doesn't show up well.
As every year I did some Christmas baking - this year I started with cookies on Monday using Sugarbelle's recipe and put them away till I had more time to ice them, which I did on Sunday. The plan was to ice them using royal icing as per her recipe but the amounts were too large so I stuck with the recipe on the Wilton's meringue powder packet. The cookies are delicious and having seen that Sugarbelle used flavouring in her icing I decided to do that too and made the icing lemon flavoured using lemon zest. One thing I found out is that my hands really, really don't like piping for any length of time (outlining more than 3 cookies actually lol) so i decided to go with the quick and dirty method of no outlining and either spreading it on or using shaped tips to pipe allover patterns.  Not the best looking but they taste good so who cares - my kids certainly don't... they loved them!
In between making the cookies and icing them I did a lot more - first of course was to get the tree up and decorated and get my Lego Christmas Village out. This year I used the bauble boxes and a white sheet set up under the tree to put the village on and it really does look good at night when the lights are off but the tree is still lit. The kids always have a lot of fun playing with this and used the angled slopes between the different levels of the boxes as ski slopes for the Lego skiers.
On the Thursday before Christmas it was time for the bi-annual Christmas fair at the kids school so it was time for me to bake something for them to sell there - this year they wanted 48 mini cupcakes so that's what I made for them a couple of hours before the fair so they were at their freshest.  Half were chocolate and the other half vanilla topped with a same flavoured butter cream icing. (I'd used a different recipe than I usually do - a local sweetshop was selling this packet of powder to make the butter cream with but I didn't really like the end result so threw the rest of the packet away.)
However my baking wasn't done for the day as I also wanted to send the kids to school with cupcakes for their classmates and also some for the teachers lounge as I do every year. I needed 30 for youngest's class and 27 for oldest's class and at least 50 for the teachers lounge to make sure there was enough for all the teachers AND the admin team. In the end I baked 114 large cupcakes in 5 flavours: Vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, caramel and apple/cinnamon. I had some batter leftover from baking 2 full trays of each flavour (except chocolate which I only had enough better to make 1 1/2 trays)so I put the leftovers into the mini cupcake tins and ended up with an additional 36 mini cupcakes. I iced each flavour with the same flavour icing, except the apple/cinnamon ones which I iced with lemon butter cream (which as you may notice I didn't have enough of to completely ice everything).  Taking them to the school was a bit of a challenge till I thought of using the (cleaned out) bauble boxes to carry them in.
In the morning I helped the kids get to their classes with their boxes and then went home for some much needed coffee before taking the box you see above in a sneak ninja delivery attack to the school. Since they have an open door policy at the kids school I was able to sneak in, sneak into the teachers lounge, grab some serving dishes and put the cupcakes out and sneak off again without begin seen - the cupcake fairy strikes again! Of course they did know "who dunnit" due to the kids taking the same to their classes but it's still fun to do the cupcake fairy bit.
On Saturday I had the house full of kids so I baked another batch of cupcakes and surprised the kids with them - I made half vanilla and the other half strawberry. The kids and their friends were overjoyed and the cupcakes did their usual disappearing trick.
Somehow or another I was all ready on Christmas Eve despite starting the preparations a week late due to the illness I had the week before, so I decided to try my hand at baking an 8 strand braided bread. As you can see it didn't exactly look "right" as I'd misunderstood the braiding instructions, thought it looked weird (which it did) and then made some adjustments, which didn't need to be done at all. However it tasted good and went well with our Christmas Eve table grill meal (we usually do this on boxing day but due to the kids going to ex on boxing day we moved it to Christmas eve)

Overall it was a  busy week baking and doing stuff but the effort was certainly worth the end results!


  1. Everything looks delish! Wish I had one of your chocolate cupcakes right now!! :) Happy New Year to you and Happy Stitching all year through!! :)

    1. Thanks! *sends a chocolate cupcake*

      Happy New Year to you as well! May your needle fly through the stitches and your thread remain untangled :D

  2. When I said I would bow down and grovel at your flour covered feet I wasn't kidding! This is far beyond going all out :D

    1. lol! Funny thing is that all this feels like a lazy way to do Christmas. I will admit to "cheating" with the Lego builds - I keep them fully built in the box so only have to do a bit of repair work where necessary and put it all in place :)