Advent calendar for cooking affectionates

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A cooling rack, cooking ingredients, some kitchen tools and the corresponding recipes. All this makes a lovely advent calendar for all those who love cooking. I printed a recipe for Christmas cookies and one for cupcakes and packed up the necessary ingredients (except eggs, milk and butter) in small cellophane bags.Adventskalender2015-7Cookie cutters, small cake moulds, a baking brush, vanilla sugar and baking powder can directly be fixed to the rack with a ribbon. Among the ingredients place some chocolate Santas to be savoured while waiting for the recipe to be completed.
I took all ingredients of the cookies’ recipe for the first advent days so that the cookies can be made before Christmas. The cupcakes will have to wait until after Christmas, they could be a nice surprise for New Year’s Eve.
Adventskalender2015-6Rack and ribbons are decorated with some fir and conifer twigs. A little nice decorative apple and a white Christmas bell create further Christmas atmosphere. Fastened to a less frequented wall cabinet it’s hanging right where it should be used lateron. A link for lovely advent calenar numbers was already posted in my las proposal for a calendar.
This method works well for other crafters too. Take papers, punches and pencils for scrapbookers, wool, needles and instructions for knitters, small tools like nails, screws and folding rule for crafters etc…..

Hedge reloaded

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Autumn – time to make your garden winterproof and to cut the hedges. If you have a conifer or yew tree hedge you can use the cut branches for Christmas time. If you leave them outside so that they will get some rain from time to time they’ll really last until Christmas. We will take them to form some small Christmas trees. According to the length of your branches you’ll need a piece of tree chunk making the base of your Christmas tree. I had only left some pieces of a birch tree chunk but it doesn’t really matter. Leave the tree natural with some cones at its side and keep it outside on your balcony or terrace right now. For Christmas decorate it with some Christmas balls or other accessories.

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Twist some florist wire around the ends of three or four conifer branches or twigs. Then add further branches placing them a bit higher than the first one to get a fir tree shape. When the tree’s finished twist some extra wire round the ends to get a thin tip. Then put your tree chunk in the middle of your branches and here you are with a lovely little Christmas tree.

Baum5Today I already decorated one little tree for Christmas to show what they look like when decorated. On top I glued a small wooden star and some angel hair goes down the branches. Combined with a yew tree twig and some Christmas balls it makes a lovely fragrant center piece. If you take even smaller twigs for your tree you may use it as a decoration for every seat. Write down of your guests’ names on the stars or on Christmas balls attached to your tree.

Chocolate squares

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Yum, yum, delicious chocolate cake. The recipee was found at Dr. Oetker’s but the reason to look for it where lots of last year’s still edible chocolate Easter bunnies and Santas.

Pastry:

200g dark chocolate (bunnies and Santas)
125g butter
125g caster sugar
1 bag vanilla sugar
3 eggs
1 cup of soured cream (150g)
175g wwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder

Icing:

200g dark couverture
3-4 tbsp desiccated coconut

Melt chocolate in a bain-marie and leave to cool again.
Grease a baking sheet, flour lightly and place a baking frame (30×25 cm).
Preheat oven at 180°C.

Blend butter in a large bowl with the whisk hooks of your mixer. Add sugar, vanilla sugar and the melted chocolate step by step until creamy. Then add the eggs one by one stirring each at least 1/2 minute. Fold in soured cream. Sieve flour and baking powder in two portions. Pour pastry on baking sheet and spread evenly with a bendy spatula. Cook for about 25 minutes and cool on a rack.

Meanwhile melt couverture in a bain-marie too, stirring softly and pour over your chocolate cake. Spread coconut on top. When tempered cut into 5×5 cm squares and serve. Adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to the butter mixture makes them perfect for Christmas.

Advent calendar 2015

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Looking out of the window we feel like having spring time but a look at our calendar just tells us it’s only three weeks until the 1st of December i.e. only three weeks left to finish one or maybe even several advent calendars. I’ll start with one that is done rather quickly at least if you already bought all sweets and little gifts for it. Container for my gifts is a shabby chic basket decorated with a star garland. Cut or punch stars in different sizes and  twist a thin silver wire through the baskets edge attaching the stars every now and then.  Stars, gift wrapping paper and calendar numbers were made with papers and cardstock in harmonic colours.

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The basket’s bottom is covered with a handmade doily but you may take a Christmas paper napkin as well. My little gifts are wrapped in three different papers and calendar numbers glued on top. In the web you’ll find lots of free templates for calendar numbers. Some of them are hidden behind this link.

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The basket’s not yet filled but the last gifts only have to be wrapped to join the others. The day before handing it over I’ll put some fir sprigs among the wrapped gifts. A Christmas cardboard box will hold the gifts as well.

 

Starlight

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Season of lights – colored leaves, beechnuts and some wild crabapples will make a nice decoration. I found these wunderful lights somewhere in the web but can’t find trace it back any more. That’s why I had to make my own template. A pentagon is the base of this tealight holder. Simply copy my template or have a look at this site showing a simple trick to make one yourself.

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 Für PDF Fünfeck anklicken/click pentagon for free template/cliquez pentagone pour gabarit gratuit.

Fold the pentagon from the tip to the base points of your pentagon as shown in the right picture above. Turn clockwise and repeat with every tip and base. Cut in the dotted lines. Then fold them one on top of the other so that the edges will touch the triangle’s sides and fix with some glue.Starlight2 The picture at the side shows the overlapping halves quite well. I took different papers to make the lights, matching either with the season or the colors of the table. On the left from behind a shining Christmas paper, on the right from behind a paisley print in different autumnal orange shades. The white and silver paper is rather lucent. Be careful when folding this paper because it crushes easily. In the foreground we have a light made with some stronger paper. Folding needs to be done very carefully because the paper doesn’t allow any corrections lateron. Depending on the chosen paper the lights will glow more or less brightly. They’re looking even nicer if the paper is printed on both sides. Place the tealight directly in the middle of your folded star or use a glass tealight holder for more safety. If you want to increase the glowing  then simply grease your lights with some cooking oil. (Carefully apply it lightly with a soft brush.) The light holders need drying for at least 24 hours to avoid marks on your table or furniture.

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