Sunday, December 21, 2014

Advent crowns made with gingerbread

Hi Dears, 
Are You prepared for the Holidays? :)
I still need to bake a couple of things, like more Beiglis, some snow crescents, Chocolate roll etc... 
But I baked these Advent crowns a while ago, to decorate the dining tables of my family members. I baked 6 different crowns. 
I hope You will like them as well. 
As for me, I always loved creating home-made presents. They are cuter and more personal. And this one is easy as well, only You need some free-time, a few hours.
Ingredients:
250 g = 1 cup of margarine
130 g = 1/2 cup of sugar
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp of honey
4 tbsp of gingerbread spice mix (or cinnamon, ginger, anise, cardamon)
2 tbsp of cocoa
a pinch of salt
600 g = 2 + 2/5 cup of flour
2 tbsp of baking powder
grated peel of 1 lemon
50 g= 1/5 cup of milk

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1 egg white
icing sugar  - at least 250 g = 1 cup
desiccated coconut
food coloring
decorating elements - rose hip, little apples, candles
Preparation:
(Firstly, I planned the crowns...)

1. Heat up the margarine a bit in the microwave, then knead it with the flour.

2. Then you can add all the other ingredients, the egg yolk, the honey, the sugar, the spice mix, the cocoa, the salt, the baking powder, and grate the peel of a lemon as well.

Finally, loosen it up with milk. 

3. Knead the dough to a homogeneous ball.

4. Cover it with foil, and put it in the fridge for about half-an-hour to allow the flavors to come together. 

5. Then roll out the half of the dough on a floury board. I think the half will be enough for at least 6 crowns with their decorations as well, so you can use  the other half for regular gingerbread cookies for eating purposes. :)

6. So, what you will need, is a flat baking tray, covered with baking sheet. You will bake at least 4 times with this dough.

7. For the crowns, grab a little plate to use as cutting mold. Cut the circle with a knife, and place it on the tray. 

8. Then with the regular cookie cutters, cut out the gingerbread decorations. You can place them on the crown pastry, but you can bake them separately as well, because later on, you can glue them on, with the royal icing. 

9. Leave places for the candles. I marked their places with one of the candles. 

As  I tried it both ways, I can suggest that you don't need to cut out the whole circle for the candle. (As in the picture, don't do that! :D ) It's the best if you just push the candle a little bit into the dough, then take out the candle. 
Then, after it's baked, you can do the same pushing with the soft warm pastry, as it will allow You to form the pastry for a minute after You have taken it out. But You should be really that fast, because after it cooled down, You won't be able to change the form of the pastry, as it will harden.
If you cut out the place of the candles, the pastry might change during baking, and the candle won't fit. (True story, I broke two crowns because of this... Don't worry, if You do it as well, You can always glue it with the royal icing)

10. (If You wish to have shiny cookies, now you can grease the top with egg yolk) Bake them for about 12 minutes on 180 degree Celsius. Then mark again the places for the candles, as I mentioned before.

11. For the royal icing, whisk the egg white, then mix it with the icing sugar, and with some drops of lemon juice.

12. I placed it to 4 little cups, and colored them with food coloring. (The best would have been the gel consistency, but as it's so expensive, and You can only buy them in specific shops, I used the regular liquid coloring. If You use it as well, you will need to make the icing thicker than you will need at the end, because the coloring will soak it.)

13. Fill the icings into decorating bags, cut a tiny hole on their ends, and the fun decorating part starts. I even mixed desiccated coconut with  food coloring, it created a nice textured decoration.
 

14. Let it dry during a day, then you can place the cookies in a box, until you serve them up. For the crowns, I suggest You to place them on a paper plate, and decorate the top with cookies, that you have already decorated.

15. I used some uneatable decorations as well, like rose-hip, and apple forms, and some fake snow globes. So mine aren't eatable, but everybody loved them. The candles were Christmas flavors, Ginger, Orange, Muffin... :)


If You will be so busy the following days, preparing for Christmas, and You won't have time to visit us here, I wish You a really Joyful and Merry Christmas! :) 

But as a pre-present, I will post each day until Christmas, a Christmas dessert here at Hungarian Food Guide. :) 

xoxo: Hajni