Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas and all that. I don't want to sound too much of a scrooge but, I just don't feel the Christmas spirit yet. That could be because it is still only October and we still have a good many weeks to go before the yuletide is upon us or it could be because I don't have any children to keep reminding me that Santa is coming soon, who knows. What I do know is that the shops have started stocking Christmas decorations, mince pies and Christmas puddings already, so in order to keep up with our overly eager competition, we at ScotlandShop have decided to present to you a series of blogs covering all things festive. So, although in reality it may not, let's pretend that the song is right and say, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Make your own Christmas decorations
In order to help it begin to look a lot like Christmas, we thought it would be fun (I use the collective pronoun quite inappropriately I assure you) to show you how to make your own Christmas decorations. All of the ScotlandShop staff have pitched in ideas to help you add a touch of tartan to your tree's trim. My idea is up first.
A Gingerbread Clan
Basically it seems that this time of year is a time not for family but for fattening, especially if you live in the north of the UK like we do. Think about it, the days get much shorter, the weather is appalling and the Great British Bake off is on telly. This means that there is very little time to do any exercise and if you were to venture out for a run or a bike ride, you'd likely die of exposure so we sit inside and watch Mary Berry tasting amazing delicacies created by talented amateur bakers. With this in mind, I have decided that my decoration is going to be a Gingerbread Clan - that is gingerbread men decorated to look like highlanders, and like all highlanders, there can be only one - in this case it is because I was too lazy to make more than one and the Bake Off was on the telly.
What you need
- 450g Plain Flour
- 1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 2 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1 tsp Mixed spice (I used All Spice, Cinnamon and Nutmeg)
- 125g Unsalted Butter
- 115g Light brown sugar
- 100g Golden Syrup
- 1 egg
What to do
- Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
- Mix the sugar, golden syrup, and butter in a pan. Place the pan over a low heat and stir until the butter is melted and all the sugar has dissolved. It may look a little funky at first, but persevere and you will end up with a nice smooth syrup. Once this has been achieved, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.
- Mix all the remaining ingredients, except for the egg, in a bowl.
- Add the cooled syrup to the dry ingredients along with the egg and give it all a good stir until a dough is formed.
- Put the dough in the fridge to firm up for a wee while.
- Roll out the dough so it is about half a centimeter thick.
- Using a cuter, make as many gingerbread men as you can (I made a custom cutter out of cardboard for mine so I could get the appearance of a kilt and tam then used a knife to go around this template).
- Put your Clansmen on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove the gingerbread men from the oven and allow to cool before icing them with your favourite tartan design (I cheated and used shop-bought icing but you could always make your own).