Last Friday I did a small bake sale at my husband’s workplace for the Wallace and Gromit’s Big Bake to benefit Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Charity. They’re a UK group raising funds to improve the lives of sick children in hospitals and hospices by providing medical equipment, family care, art/music/play therapy, and more.
Peo and I found out about the Big Bake at the Cake and Bake show in London and saw promos again at the Birmingham Cake International show, and we thought we’d give it a go even though we’re not set up to do anything large-scale here.
As it was, I ran out of time to do as many goodies as I wanted, but I at least made enough to fill small boxes and bags, as shown below.
In keeping with many of my recent posts, I made a bunch of 3D mini-Smarties filled ornaments:
I was going to do a separate post on how to make these, but given that I’ve covered the basics elsewhere I’ll do a quick how-to here as a recap. First, start with the Base Cookie instructions back here on the 3D Candy Filled Baseball Cap Cookies post. Then simply roll out some fondant in whatever colour you wish, using a texture mat or pin if you like, and affix the fondant over the cookie with a bit of corn syrup/golden syrup thinned with some water. Add a little lump with a hole in the middle on one side to serve as the hanger and voila! You can then leave it plain or add more elements, paint on some colours or dust, or whatever suits your fancy.
I actually pre-made some basic ornaments back in Austin with the intention of posting a tutorial on them, but since I’ve now made these new ones I’ll discuss some of those individually and put further details in the captions on how they were made.
I also made some basic shortbread cookies using a recipe from the Renshaw blog. I cut most of these out using the cutters from the Autumn Carpenter snowflake set and then covered them with fondant. The round ones were cut with a set of graduated two-sided cutters I found at Poundland.
I also used the Autumn Carpenter snowflake set to make these large, fondant-covered cookies. In the past I’ve done fancier things with that set but since I was pressed for time and didn’t have all of my tools, I just went for a basic texture mat finish dusted with Disco Dust.
I also had a go at making some candies for the sale. First I used Oh Nuts’ Homemade Peppermint Patties Recipe to make some mints. I had trouble making the log roll as per the directions because my mix was too crumbly, so I added about a tablespoon of milk and that helped. The recipe doesn’t specify what kind of cream and I had Double Cream on hand (which is like Heavy Whipping Cream in the US), so it could be that they meant to list a thinner cream.
I also cut mine a lot smaller so they would be pop-in-the-mouth size, so I used more chocolate to coat. I melted some of my new favourite baking chocolate (which I think is not actually baking chocolate and that might be why it’s so delicious), the Tesco’s Finest 72% Swiss Dark Chocolate bar. I’m not sure how much I melted because I softened some and then added more as seeding to try and keep it tempered, and I also knew leftovers could be used to glue together the 3D cookies above.
Since I recently graduated to Proper Cake Decorator status by actually making sugar flowers that aren’t Audrey II, I tried making some mini poinsettias using a set of three graduated five-pointy-petal cutters (they are probably calyx cutters but they were unlabeled) I found in a bargain bin at the NEC show. These are really easy: you just cut out a green and red in the largest size, then a red in each of the smaller sizes, stack them with the petals offset, and put three yellow dots, sprinkles, sugar pearls, or whatever in the middle.
The only downside was I bought plain white flower paste with the intention of colouring it as needed, and the only gel colours I had on hand were the Dr. Oetker ones which I must say are terrible. Ugh, those gels are barely above the watery, cheap, grocery store sets of four colours. Despite adding tons of the red to my flower paste, the best I could get was pink. How I miss my Americolor Super Red!
I also made some easy dark chocolate truffles using this recipe. Once again I used the 72% Swiss bars mentioned above. These are delicious.
I totally just got sprinkles all over my keyboard nomming one of the spare ones while working on this post. Food blogging is very perilous. Yes. Hang on, I should roll a saving throw against Sugarification…
Anyway, next came the Doctor Who cookies, all in my standard Dark Chocolate Rolled Cookie recipe. Because every Christmas cookie package should have an Angel cookie in it, right? And Adipose cookies are like fat little snowmen, d’awwww. And Dalek cookies are festive because…because…um…BECAUSE DECORATE! COOKIE-ATE! CHOCO-LATE! OM-NOM-NOM-INATE!
Or maybe I just knew the nerds at my husband’s workplace would fork over more charity cash if I geekified the boxes, booyeah!
The Angels are fondant cut with the same cutter as the cookie. These cutters (which all came from Warpzone) are fairly deep which meant I had to roll the fondant much thicker than I usually would in order to get the interior imprint.
The Adipose are covered in royal icing, which turned out to be quite a pain to mix when one is living without a mixer. I had to whip it with a flimsy electric whisk, so that’s why the Angels have fondant: I just didn’t have the energy to mix more royal!
The Daleks are also covered in royal icing. I did the body circles first and put on the gold balls while it was wet. Oh, but let me tell you about the balls! Both the Fourth and Tenth Doctor were right to call standard dragees/sugar pearls “edible ball bearings” because they’re pretty to look at but rather nasty and hard to actually eat. But the gold balls on these Dalek cookies are Gold Crisp Pearls I found at Tesco (they also come in silver) and they’re actually quite lovely! The bottle says they are “milk chocolate covered cereal crispies coated in a gold coloured sugar coating.” So they’re like teensey weensy Nestle Crunch morsels in shiny gold. This means when you eat the cookie and get to them, you don’t have to brace yourself for a tooth-shattering impact, because they pretty much melt in your mouth with the slightest crisp texture and blend in perfectly with the rest of the cookie.
Anyway, once the dots had set I flooded around them with red royal icing and then immediately sprinkled some Red Sugar Shimmer crystals over that. I put some Baby Blue Glimmer crystals over the eye piece and for kicks put a snowflake sprinkle on the suction cup arm.
There was also a Tardis cookie but I seem to have forgotten to take a photo of it. Which might be just as well since I didn’t do a great job of icing it. I’m going to go ahead and blame wibbly wobbly timey wimey reasons.
In the end I prepared nine boxes stuffed full of cookies and candies and took them to my husband’s office, which is more boxes than employees there. I asked for a suggested donation of £10 per box and some folks gave more, so we raised £70 with three boxes left over.
I offered the spare boxes online to anyone who could come pick them up, but unfortunately all of my friends who were keen to donate and get the goodies were too far away. So I gave the spares to neighbours with the Wallace and Gromit stickers on the box so hopefully they’ll learn about the charity and donate separately.
All in all I think £70 (which is about US$109 on today’s exchange rate) isn’t bad for a one-person bake sale at a small office.
Thanks to everyone to donated and to the Wallace and Gromit charity for doing such important work for those who need it most!