- that are still tasty for Smalls.
I've always loved the traditional look for gingerbread decorations on the Christmas tree.
In a former life I once spent 7 straight days threading tree hangings with ribbon in a craft bakery, but even that could not put me off. Going home smelling like a biscuit wasn't so bad after all.
When making biscuits to hang from a tree, you want to tweak your method to make sure they are stable and take into account that they will soften a little over time on the tree. I also like to make this gingerbread spicier and more rich than my usual gingerbread men. A little packet of five or so lovely tree hangings makes the perfect little gift. That said, they still have to be easy to bake and enjoyable to nibble for your little ones, so I have edited my go-to recipe to luxury it up a little without the festive flavours being too overpowering.
I pre-weigh the ingredients together for this as there's plenty to do without getting the smalls involved in this stage. A reliable, bigger Small might enjoy helping you to melt the pan ingredients - stirring them into a deliciously smooth, gingery soup. But for smaller Smalls, do take care when pouring the melted ingredients into the dry. Let the mixture cool a little to avoid any problems.
Weighed out in a large bowl.
560g Plain Flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Weighed into a pan
210g light brown sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp ground ginger
3 tbsp sweet cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Melt the pan ingredients until you have a deliciously smooth mixture. Take a moment to enjoy how amazing your kitchen smells now!
Once cooled a little, pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and allow smalls to stir everything together. Eventually, you'll have to get your hands in there to bring it together into a dough. You just need to squish and squash it. Once you've got a nice, soft ball of dough leave it to cool fully. If you want to make the dough in advance you can pop it in the fridge overnight. This will also help keep your biscuits shaped whilst cooking, but it's not essential.
Roll the dough between two sheets of greaseproof paper to make it easier for your little one to handle and to save on mess. Because you are hanging the biscuits, make them quite chunky. about 1.5cm thick.This way they are more likely to hang with a nice weight from the tree and be strong enough for the ribbon not to break the hole in the top.
Cut Christmas shapes of your choice and lay on a baking tray. Use a straw to make a hole in the top of each biscuit. Bake in the oven at 180°
Most biscuits will take 8-12 minutes, but very large or thick biscuits may take a little longer. Very small biscuits may only need a few minutes. Take them out when firm, but not crisp.
Once out of the oven and cooling on a wire rack or a tray, check each biscuit still has a hole wide enough for thread of ribbon. If not, whilst the biscuits are still warm you should be able to use the straw to widen them again.
When it comes to decorating...the world is your oyster. I'm a great believer in less is more, so a speedy dusting of icing sugar does enough for me. There's plenty of other glitz on the tree and the simplicity balances it all nicely. This is also a good way to decorate with minimal mess. Pop a sheet of greaseproof under the cooling rack and use a sugar shaker to dust rather than a whisk and everything can just be scrunched up and disposed of. That said, don't hold back on my account. Royal icing patters, stuck on sweetie jewels, the options are endless.
Use Christmas ribbon or string to hang them from the branches of your tree. It is best to ribbon them before decorating to avoid problems.