DIY Gingerbread Advent Tree
It isn't something that has really crossed my mind during Christmas time in the past, because buying an advent calendar feels so instinctive. But waste, as a by product of Christmas is really quite alarming. I am becoming increasingly aware of the effects of commercialising Christmas to the extent that we have but that means more creative fun for us! So why not have a go at making your own advent this year, not just because it may help the environment out a bit, but because its a festive, lovely, little activity to do together with the family and you can put your own stamp on it, making your advent calendar unique and special to you.
Earlier in the month, I wanted to kickstart your festivities by bringing to you the ultimate gingerbread kit to make and bake your very own gingerbread cottage. For me, during baking I was left with a little more dough than I needed when producing your kits, and as my message is simply to "use what you have" I baked off small snowflake decorations that you can decorate and hang on your Christmas tree this year. But for all that have purchased the kits, you will be left with excess dough so I will leave here a little something extra for you to create your own advent tree too! (or you know, you could totally just bake them and eat them...why wait?) You also would have received your kits with items wrapped up in string, so you could re-purpose this string and use it to hang the decorations.
The Gingerbread B.I.Y kit contains all that you need to fully bake and construct your Christmas cottage that is the perfect addition to create a feeling of Christmas cheer to your home.
I have mine sitting in my kitchen windowsill which is dressed in a pine cone and cranberry garland and mini Christmas trees to create the cutest winter woodland scene. The recipe and ingredients can be found in the BIY kits.
GINGERBREAD ADVENT DECORATIONS
First, roll out your excess gingerbread and cut in circles. Of course you will 24 circles, or whatever shape you wish to cut them out! You can afford to roll the dough out fairly thin to stretch it out further as it doesn't the require the thickness it needs when constructing a house.
Once all the shapes have been cut, you can use the tip of a piping nozzle or use the tip of a pen to create the holes needed to thread the string that will be needed to hang them. During baking, I have found that the holes do shrink so the holes do need to be a little bigger than you want them to be. Bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees Celsius for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
Take the cookies out of the oven and allow them to cool. On cooling they will completely solidify so don't worry if your cookies are a little soft when they come out of the oven.
- 1 egg white
- 250g icing
- piping bag and nozzle
- food colouring
Crack your egg and use only the egg white. You can put your egg yolk in your omelette or scrambled eggs that you'll have for breakfast! Add in half of your icing sugar. Using an electric whisk, whisk the mixture to a smooth paste. Add in the remaining icing sugar and whisk on high speed for 5 minutes.
You will be left with a thick icing foundation. This is perfect for constructing but a little too stiff for decorating. Remove half of the icing and store in a container and lay cling film directly over the icing so no air can get to it.
Add a drop of water at a time (and I mean a drop- a little goes a long way) until you achieve a consistency that is thick enough to hold its shape but runny enough to ice smoothly. I added 1-1 and a half tsp to get the consistency I was looking for. Please bare in mind that if you are adding food colouring in liquid form, you may not need any water as the food colouring will alter the consistency.
Using a piping bag, fitted with a small nozzle, pipe your icing designs. I did white circles, and then once the surface was set, I went back to add small white dots to be somewhat 'snowball-like'. I used red coloured icing to write the numbers, 1-24. I wanted to use red and white in my decoration because the string that I used to hang them was candy cane string! You really can do whatever you like.
So there we have it. Your very own advent calendars that used the scraps of something else. This Christmas, I will be getting creative with ways of how I can use what I already have to create something just as a special and magical as it would have just bought from the shop. Being eco-friendly doesn't mean having to negotiate on making Christmas beautiful, it should just incite a little DIY and think a little outside the box. Join me on my upcoming blogs for ideas on how you can use what you already have to make something that costs little to nothing AND benefits the environment. I mean its a win-win!
Enjoy (and how exciting is it that Christmas is around the corner?!)
Gina ~The Noo Noo Project