I like getting my children to give gifts to teachers, etc – and I prefer them to be involved in the gifts somehow. I’m also conscious that most teachers probably get too many candles and soaps as it is.
So last year, my kids make some vanilla wreaths and balls for their teachers – the recipe below made about 30 of each which we shared between 9 paper plates and wrapped in cellophane, tied with red ribbon and given as gifts the next day.
Before you assume 9 teachers is a lot, I included one for each of my children’s class and instrument teachers, plus the lollypop lady, school librarian and the school cleaner (an under appreciated man!)
Here’s what I did…
250g butter, softened
145g smart sugar (or 290g castor sugar)*
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
1 teaspoon baking powder
600g plain flour
About 320g smart icing sugar *
6 – 8 tablespoons fresh orange juice (the bottled stuff is too sweet for my liking)
15 mint leaves (the lolly variety!)
About 90 red smarties or equivalent lolly (useful if you’re used to eating the red ones last! Sorry, old ad jingles stick in my head!)
Packet of 100s and 1000s or mini lollies of some sort
Cream butter and sugar
Add eggs and vanilla; combine well
Add flour and baking powder; mix into a dough
Roll out dough to about 5mm thick – it’s a bit sticky so I use sheets of baking paper on either side. I also do it in batches as there’s a lot of dough!
Cut out large circles – circle biscuit cutter or a mug will do the trick
Cut a smaller circle out of each biscuit – use a smaller circle cutter or a glass
Put the rings (wreaths) and circles (Christmas balls) ont greased or lined biscuit trays
Put full trays into the fridge while you continue rolling and cutting and all dough is used up (rework the scraps back in each time)
Place trays in pre-heated 180° oven for 8 – 10 minutes – biscuits should be a lightly golden-brown on the top
Cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the trays onto a wire rack
When completely cool, decorate as wreaths or Christmas balls.
Slice the mint leaves through the middle (so they become thinner but have the same shape as they started with)
Mix the icing sugar and orange juice in batches
Ice the top of the wreaths – I let it drip down the sides but you could ice the sides properly if you wanted to
Stick two leaf halves onto the biscuit to form the holly leaves
Dab some left over icing onto 3 smarties and stick them onto the leaves as holly berries – repeat for the other biscuits!
Mix the icing sugar with some orange juice and a drop or red or green food colouring. If you have time, it’s really nice to use two colours, but one or none will work fine!
Spread icing onto the smaller circle biscuits – making some half red and half green is fun
Sprinkle 100s and 1000s over the top
* I tend to use smart sugar for everything now – you need half as much so the food is lower GI and it’s made from Australian cane sugar. If you can’t get it, castor sugar or normal icing sugar works just as well.