Dienstag, 9. Dezember 2014

Winter Wonderland + DIY!

We had the first snow today – however, not outside, but on the dessert table! 

Inspired by this photograph of a shopping arcade in Suttgart I decorated fir tree-shaped cookies accordingly and instead of placing them into a bowl, I arranged them in a winter landscape: together with a gingerbread cake and small DIY houses for the winter animals. 

I had a lot of fun with it! 

1. Hidden underneath the snow-white fondant icing cover is a gingerbread cake with Nutella cream – wonderfully Christmassy and at the same time chocolaty. 
I used the fondant leftovers to keep the trees in place – stick short wooden sticks (e.g. pieces of popsicle sticks) to the backsides of the cookies with a bit of icing, then press them into the fondant.

2.  The snowballs are marzipan-praliné balls that are store-bought – you can add some sprinkles of shredded coconut on top of the fondant to achieve the perfect “snow effect”! 

3. The particularly elaborate fir trees are cut out with cookie cutters and then extended with the help of simple triangles that I cut out of the dough by hand in different sizes and heights. 
I divided white sugar icing into 3 small bowl and added green food coloring in varying amounts to achieve the different hues of green – this way every color, from soft to vivid, plays a part. 

Gingerbread cake with a filling of Nutella cream 

2 cups flour
2 Tbsp cacao powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla essence 
4 oz semisweet chocolate
2 tsp oil
7 Tbsp butter
1 ½ cups sugar
4 eggs
1 ½ cups buttermilk or plain yogurt 

8 oz semisweet chocolate
1 cup Creme Double
6 oz Nutella
3 tsp gingerbread spice 

1. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and 1 ½ tsp salt. 
Melt chocolate and mix with the oil. Cream butter and sugar together, add vanilla essence and eggs one by one and mix thoroughly. 
Fold in chocolate mix. 
Quickly stir in flour mixture in 3 portions, taking turns with the yogurt. 
Pour half of the dough into a greased spring baking pan (approx. 8”) and bake in a preheated oven at 325°F for about 40 minutes.
Remove from oven, let cool. 
Use the remaining dough to bake a second layer of cake. 

2. Chop chocolate and place into a bowl. 
Bring cream to a brief boil, pour over chocolate, let sit for a moment, then whisk to a smooth consistency, add gingerbread spice. 
Let cool to room temperature until the mixture has thickened (I let it rest in the refrigerator for a few hours). 

3. Heat Nutella a little until slightly liquid (in a pot or in the microwave), mix in Crème Double. 
Spread this mixture onto one of the layers of cake. 
Top with the second layer, cover cake with the chocolate gingerbread cream all over. 

Optionally you can add a layer of fondant after the chocolate icing has hardened in the refrigerator for a few hours. 

If you, too, want to build winter quarters for your (toy) animals you need the following materials for 2 little houses (small and big): 

Winter house DIY.

Have a plywood panel cut to the following dimensions in your local hardware store:
5 pieces 4” x 4”
1 piece 4” x 8” (back panel)
5 pieces 6” x 6”
1 piece 6” x 12” (back panel)
White paint (I used regular wall paint) 
Hot glue gun

Paint all pieces from both sides (it is important to paint both sides, so that the wood does not warp). 
Cut pointed back panel with the help of a coping saw. 
Glue all pieces together with the hot glue gun. 

Green cake stands, white snow balls, white fondant, fir tree cookie cutter, silver sugar beads:  
Everything via Blueboxtree

I always use this food coloring via Amazon.

Good news for everyone living in Munich and surroundings: 
In November Blueboxtree opened a small but exquisite retail store in Munich, Türkenstraße 76, München-Schwabing
You can find all your favorite products from the online store as well as selected, exclusive articles – a paradise for every baking and party aficionado! 


BTW, you will find a big Winter Wonderland dessert table HERE.

And HERE you will find a small Winter Wonderland "to go" to make yourself and give away! 

This post was translated by Ginnell Studio.

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