Source: Rnews.co.za / http://mype.co.za
By: Allan Straton
Capsicum chefs show their sweet side, teaching kids to decorate Christmas cookies
Mini pastry chefs in the making are exploring their culinary talents as they ice, spread and sprinkle their way through hundreds of freshly baked biscuits as part of Baywest Mall’s holiday programme.
From Wednesday to Friday this week (December 7 to 9), Capsicum Culinary Studio is hosting a kids’ creative corner in the mall, with chefs Lynette Steffens and pastry expert Bernice Warner assisting the budding bakers where needed.
Children can choose from a range of seasonal cookie shapes and a selection of toppings to decorate their creations. Once they are done, the chefs will help them tie a ribbon onto their cookies to take away as homemade Christmas tree decorations or a special personalised gift.
Baywest Mall marketing manager Christopher Hutchings said the response had been very positive and that it was great to see children discovering their passion for food and keeping busy while their parents got on with the serious business of shopping.
“Thanks to TV shows like Junior Masterchef, we’re seeing kids getting interested in cooking and baking, which is good because it teaches them important life skills and steers them away from processed food towards making their own healthier, homemade options.”
As an added incentive, Hutchings said the shopping centre would be giving away great prizes for the future foodies.
“All those participants who fill in their details will go into the daily draw. We’ll be giving away three baking, pizza and burger kitchen sets, as well as wooden rolling pins and chefs’ outfits each day.”
Adding to the festive spirit, he said Capsicum’s student chefs would be displaying their gingerbread houses and cake creations, as well as their own cookie-covered Christmas tree.
The kids’ creative corner is open from 10am to 3pm daily. No bookings are required and it is free of charge.
For those inspired to continue their kitchen adventure these holidays, Capsicum’s Chef Bernice has shared her recipe for easy vanilla biscuits.
VANILLA BISCUIT RECIPE
30 minutes prep time
Yields 20 shaped biscuits
Bake 10-15 minutes @ 180 degrees Celsius
Baking equipment needed:
Measuring spoon set
Clear cups or muffin tray to display decorating ingredients
Whisk or electric hand mixer (ask Mommy to assist when using electrical equipment)
200g castor sugar
200g baking margarine or butter
1 large egg
5ml vanilla essence
400g cake flour
80-100g cake flour for dusting the surface.
Water to adjust the consistency
300g icing sugar
2ml lemon juice
Food colouring of your choice – liquid/gel or powder
Assorted sweets (Smarties/fine coconut/sugar pearls/confetti/ sprinkles/ mini marshmallows)
Wash your hands and clean the kitchen counter where you will be baking.
With a whisk or mixer cream the sugar and the butter or margarine until light and pale in colour.
Add the egg and vanilla essence and combine well.
Sieve the dry ingredients and add to the egg mixture. At this point this is where you knead the mixture on the kitchen counter until combined. Refrigerate the biscuit dough for 20 minutes until it has firmed up.
Sprinkle a small amount of cake flour on the kitchen counter and on the rolling pin to prevent sticking of the dough. Roll out the dough to about half a centimetre. Now use your assorted cutters to cut out the shapes you want, place them on a lined and prepared baking tray – remember to leave some space between the biscuits as they do expand a bit during baking.
Bake for 10-15min or until light golden brown in colour remove and allow to cool before decorating.
Decorate with icing sugar of a thick pouring consistency, by drizzling or piping and placing the assorted sweets to form buttons, eyes or hair, for example.
Wait for the icing to harden completely before packaging or gifting.
Image: CHRISTMAS COOKIES: Capsicum pastry chef Bernice Warner (centre) shows Yasmeen Gertse, 6, (left) and Eithan Warner (right) how to decorate their very own festive season treats as part of the Baywest Mall holiday programme. (Image: Supplied)