Reviews: Christmas Baking Course

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We have received some great feedback from our recent Christmas Baking days.

"Pulling up outside Wiston Lodge on a wild, wet and bitingly cold Sunday a couple of weeks before Christmas, it may have felt wintery but it didn't feel particularly festive.  Or at least it didn't until we eight would-be bakers pulled on our aprons in the Lodge's kitchen, where the smells of spices and warm bread quickly transported us away from the sleet outside.

"We were here to learn the art of Christmas baking German- and French-style. In the reassuring hands of Christoph and Helene, we were about to attempt our own gingerbread Christmas tree decorations, a selection of truffles and other Christmas treats and the biggest challenge of the day a traditional German stollen.

"As we plunged our hands into the various goopy messes we were mixing, kneaded the pungent-smelling dough and spent a significant part of the day licking our fingers (and utensils, and bowls…) thoughts of the stresses of Christmas shopping or last-minute pre-festive DIY quickly vanished and the aromas transported us to a sort of Nutcracker-like vision of imagined childhood Christmases. And even more amazingly, all the stollen came out edible…  A delightful way to spend a miserable Sunday.

"Now, are there actually any gingerbread decorations left for the tree?"

by Robin McAlpine

Making things for the Festive Season

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"Rory (8), Beth (12) and I (older) all headed down to Wiston Lodge on the morning of the 11th of December looking forward to a busy day of I’m not sure what. The last time I was taught to cook I was still at school, which was well into last century.

"For Beth and I the day started in the kitchen with handwashing and aprons. We then started by making ginger biscuits. To start we all designed our templates for the biscuits, which varied from traditional angels to windmills. We then made the dough, rolled it out and used our templates to cut the biscuits. These were then put on trays and baked.

"Whilst the biscuits were baking we began mixing the Stollen ingredients together. This made a sticky dough which was needed to a smooth elastic dough before being left to prove, and a well deserved cuppa.

"We then returned to add the fruit, roll out and add the marzipan. Again this was left to prove over lunch time and whilst our truffle mix was resting.

"After lunch we put the final touches to the Stollen before baking them, made Rum Balls and our truffles, a very full day.

"Meantime Rory was having a ball. He made decorations from the environment such as Willow Christmas tree decorations and a wreath. He made Christmas cards and had a great day. We saw him for 5 minutes at lunch time as he swallowed his soup and ran off again with his new found friends.

"A good family learning day for us all."

by Judith McDermid