We deregistered my eldest son from school when he was 8, and I remember one of the things he did during his first year of home education was to set up little businesses - selling soaps he had made, then chocolates and, later, hand-made wooden crosses at Eastertime. My third son is now almost the same age, and he has been expressing interest in starting his own little business. This week, he was motivated by his Christmas shopping list and the fact he needed more money to buy all the gifts on it. He came up with the idea of making biscuits to sell, so we worked together on this project yesterday. He looked through some of our cookbooks, and decided to make gingerbread angels - edible Christmas tree decorations.
We worked hard baking LOTS of biscuits, then icing and threading them. We finished 20 in time for him to take them down to a Messy Church event he was attending where he figured he might be able to sell some. He made a special box to contain the biscuits and a wooden money box with his Grandpa to collect his takings. We talked about costing and how much we had spent on ingredients. How much profit would he make? Then we thought about all the time we had put in, and the fact that I was working unpaid. Was his business idea viable? This is on the school curriculum in the secondary years, but two of my sons have shown real interest in enterprise at the age of 8. The biscuits sold like hot cakes, and he brought home £10.00 which he was thrilled about. And we've lots more biscuits to ice this week if other opportunities arise to sell some.
How to Make Gingerbread Angels
Ingredients (for 20-30 biscuits)
90g demerara sugar
200g golden syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
115g unsalted butter
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg, beaten
500g plain flour, sifted
1) Preheat oven to 160 degrees C / 325 F / Gas mark 3. Grease and line 2 baking sheets. Put the syrup, sugar, ginger, cinnamon and cloves into a pan and bring to the boil, stirring. Remove from the heat.
2) Put the butter in a large heatproof bowl and pour the sugar mixture over it. Add the bicarb and stir until the butter has melted. Beat in the egg, then the flour. Mix, then knead on a floured surface to form a smooth dough.
3) Divide the dough into four pieces, and roll out one at a time to 3 mm thickness, keeping the rest covered to prevent it drying out. Stamp out medium rounds with a cutter, then cut off two segments - one from either side - to give a body and two wings. Place the wings, round-side down, behind the body and press together.
4) Roll a small piece of dough for the head, place at the top of the body and flatten with your fingers. Using a cocktail stick, make a hole through which a ribbon or wire can be threaded later.
5) Place the biscuits on the baking sheets and bake for 10-15 mins until golden brown. Remove from oven and leave to cool slightly. Transfer carefully to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
6) We used white writing icing and silver balls to decorate our angels but you can be creative and use piping icing or any small sweets, hundreds and thousands or chocolate sprinkles. Leave the icing to set and then thread loops of fine ribbon or wire through the holes in the tops of the biscuits so they can be hung on the Christmas tree. Enjoy!
This recipe comes from The Kids' First Cookbook by Nancy McDougall