Rainy Day Baking


Rainy Day Baking

I’m a mother who is running out of things to do during the rainy days of the school hols! I have bought zip up shell suits for the kids and luckily they love puddle jumping in them. I think we are pretty good at it as a family, even verging on a bit of puddle surfing which I think could become a toddlers’ sport in future.

We have been on the Brecon Mountain Steam Train which was great fun, and had to eat our picnic under an awning, but the view was still amazing and we learnt about sheet rain as we had a very visual lesson!

We have been swimming a lot, as has most of Cardiff it would seem. We’ve gone to the movies, but the kids fidget loads and need the loo all the time! And so I guess it is not that surprising that I turn again to cooking with the kids. As a parent you just have to accept the chaos, clear all the work surfaces and gather the ingredients. You are now ready for your mini cooks! We have made cakes, pizzas, chocolate mousse, jelly, bread, pancakes, meat balls and gingerbread men, my favourites!

The recipe is easy and does not need to be completely exact. The recipe is also fun involving pulsing the mixer (my son Jake’s favourite job!) and pouring the syrup (without a shadow of doubt my daughter’s Molly’s favourite occupation in the whole world, although this could be something to do with sucking the spoon at the end!). The chilling of the mixture is important or you will find it really hard to roll and work with and the decorating is so much fun.

Gingerbread Men

Ingredients:

  • 12oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4½oz butter
  • 6oz light soft brown sugar
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup

To decorate:
Writing icing
Cake decorations

Method:
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon into a food processor. Cut the butter into small chunks and add to the flour. Pulse together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, the egg and dribble in the syrup. Pulse again until the mixture forms a soft dough. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for an hour (a perfect time to practice some puddle surfing manoeuvres).

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350◦F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. On a well floured surface roll the dough out to 0.5cm/¼in thickness. Try to keep the dough even, and turn it 90 degrees after each roll to prevent it sticking on the bottom.

Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them if you want singles or just touching if you want pairs or a row. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations.
If you don’t have a ginger bread man cutter circular ginger biscuits are great for decorating with patterns or faces.