Here at The Madhouse, we love baking and we love arts and crafts too so when we find a fun activity that combines both, it's guaranteed to be a hit ! You can tell from Juliette's face how excited she was when she got her mitts on this Decorate Your Own Gingerbread Man kit from Bespoke Foods.
Unlike some other kits on the market, you don't have to make the gingerbread yourself, which is great news if you're in a rush or if your kids are too impatient to wait for it to cook and cool. You get a huge gingerbread man sealed in a plastic bag to keep it fresh, a sachet of ready-to-use icing and a bag of Smartie-type sweets. All you need to add is a good dose of imagination and creativity. Oh, and a child squealing with excitement helps too !
I snipped a corner off the icing bag and Juliette instantly started decorating the Gingerbread Man, starting with his eyes.
Then a smile - almost as big as the one on her own face ! The icing was just the right consistency - easy to squeeze out of the hole in the bag but not too runny so it was easy to control.
I left Juliette to get on with the design and let her imagination go wild with no input at all from me, and she used all the sweets on the head as eyes, a mouth and hair. As a parent, I predicted arguments when everybody wanted the bit with sweets and nobody wanted the body but this didn't happen at all in the end, probably because I chopped the head into bits to share out ! I took this photo thinking it was finished.
Then Juliette remembered that we also had some ready-to-use red and black icing tubes and asked if she could use those too ! Well, why not ?! Once again, I told her to let her imagination run free and couldn't help but chuckle when she said that on his right hand, he's got nail varnish on and on the left hand, he's got a dirty hand after doing some painting ! Ahh, to have a kid's imagination !
The huge smile on Juliette's face says it all - she had great fun and was extremely proud of her creation.
The instructions on the box suggest leaving it for 24 hours to dry out thoroughly but the kids wanted to eat it straight away !
They happily nibbled lots of icing and sweets but weren't too keen on the gingerbread itself. I had a taste and thought it had an overly strong of one of the ingredients - possibly aniseed or licorice. This surprised me as it is made by the Pertzborn family following an authentic German recipe that has been used for generations.
However, the next day, they had another sneaky nibble and thought it was much nicer. I thought they'd gone mental but had another taste too and the aniseedy-taste that nobody was keen on had receeded. The gingerbread man is big enough that after all three of them had been happily munching, there was still a big piece left over for the next day.
The gingerbread is free from artificial flavours and preservatives but nevertheless has a long use-by date (my kit was best before the end of April 2012). It provided a whole afternoon of fun, between the icing and the eating, for a very reasonable price (£6) and it would also be perfect for allowing your kids to create a personalised gift for someone special for Christmas.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £6
for more information : http://www.bespoke-foods.co.uk/suppliers/#bespoke-christmas
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