Our favourite biscuits to make (and eat) are gingerbread and for these we fill our homemade piping bag with royal icing. However once you know how to make your own, you can fill the piping bag with melted chocolate, frosting, whatever you fancy. Read on to find out how to make your own piping bag.
So we’ve been making rather a lot of these biscuits lately. My eldest wanted to make them for a school project and event, I made some for the school cake stall at their Christmas concert and I ran a class making them. Unfortunately we ran out of time to ice them and I’d really like to share that part of the process today so that you can have a go at home.
We made a special effort with the icing and I made up a stiff batch of royal icing (egg white and icing sugar) and some homemade piping bags.
I was blown away by the outcomes, they had really improved their technique from last time (probably about a year ago). I loved seeing the concentration on both girls faces, and listening to the unusual silence that accompanied the painstaking decoration process. This was a real feel good moment.
You can watch my “how to” video here
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Why you should bake…
Here’s why I think making and decorating gingerbread men with your children is super good for everyone…
As well as being a sweet treat, gingerbread men must be praised because the process of making and decorating involves spending valuable time together.
Good quality ingredients
The ingredients that go into the biscuits are completely within your control. There are no added nasties to make the biscuits last longer, look better, hold together better, more crisp etc. You can include wholemeal flour, free range eggs etc according to your personal preferences / needs.
Nutritional education (you didn’t think I’d actually leave this out did you?
When you make treats yourself, your children can appreciate for themselves just how much sugar and fat goes into biscuits and later on they will be able to make informed decisions about how many they want to / should eat.
M practiced weighing out the ingredients independently. There are loads of ways you can include numeracy in your baking time with your children, but that’s a whole other blog post.
Following instructions. There are many technical words in recipes and these can be a challenge to children. So here’s a good opportunity for you to start to demystify the world of baking.
In my class we talked about the jobs that different ingredients do and why we were using them in this recipe. E.g. bicarbonate of soda. The more you cook, and talk and ask questions the more they will pick up, sometimes subconsciously.
Improves handwriting (fine motor) skills
Icing the biscuits is an excellent way of practicing fine motor control skills, especially for children who struggle with handwriting. We made our own mini piping bags from greaseproof paper and cut a tiny nozzle. The girls had to concentrate really hard to get the designs they wanted. Their outcomes were so much improved from last year, it was really exciting to see. Find out how to make the piping bags here