Teachers Homemade Gifts- Ice Cream Hamper

I’m not sure why it started but creating a hamper at Christmas and the end of year for the teaching team at school has become a bit of a thing.

At the end of the last school year we had fun creating a gardening themed gift, this year with the weather pretending we were going to experience a sun-filled summer we decided on an ice-cream themed hamper.Teachers Ice Cream HamperOne of the things I always struggle with is what to put our hampers in. As we make hampers for the LSAs and teachers, this for us totals 8 (and I hate to think what it will be next year with B & E going into separate classes!). Baskets tend to add to the expense, and yet aren’t what the gift is about. This year, coincidentally I bought the children a load of shoes in the Clarks’ sale and I decided to use them by covering the boxes in brown paper and getting the children to decorate them and lined with tissue paper. Perfectly individual and really, really low-cost.

We filled the hamper with:

  • Ice-cream sprinkles
  • Salted caramel sauce
  • Malteser Vodka
  • Ice-cream tubs
  • Ice-cream spoons
  • Napkins
  • Cocktail umbrellas

There were other things we could have included, such as ice-cream cones or an ice-cream scoop, or you could go with sundae glasses if you had more pennies to spend. As it was for us, the contents fitted perfectly in a shoe box, and we wrapped with cellophane as the lid wouldn’t fit.

I did change the presentation from the version above by separating the tubs and placing the sprinkles into the tub.Teachers Ice Cream Hamper GoodiesThe tubs, napkins, spoons and umbrellas all came from Dotcomgiftshop. The sprinkles were from Asda and Morrisons. I thought they’d look better (and cement the clue that there was an ice-cream theme!) putting them in cellophane bags (from The Works) and adding a topper which matched the tubs and napkins. I created them on Picmonkey and printed them as nine to a page of card which seemed to work. I then cut them folded in half and stapled them over the filled cellophane bag.Confetti ice-cream hamper printableFor the home-made gifts I must admit to finding convenience this year over previous experiments.

Both the vodka and caramel sauce were presented in jars which needed sterilising. 

I sterilised them by washing in hot, soapy water, rinsing, and them placing in an oven, fan heated at 120 degrees celsius for 15 minutes.For the Malteser Vodka I added 70g of maltesers per 100mls of vodka and mixed in a Nutribullet until blended. You do need to do this a few days in advance and shake every day as it’s really about the maltesers melting into the vodka. Using the Nutribullet takes the stress out of the process with (according to Mr J) delicious results.
Teachers Ice Cream toppersThis year I decided to try making the caramel sauce using a slow cooker. The results definitely worked but were a little trial and error.

The best way was to put baking paper in the bottom of the slow cooker, put tins of condensed milk on top, fill with water until the tins are covered. Either put the slow cooker on low for 18 hours or on high for 10 hours. 

Take out of the water and leave until completely cool. Open the tin and fold in sea salt to taste.

Fill up the jars and seal shut.

 

And they were hopefully well received and consumed!

A Go-To Celebration Cake

My relationship with baking has somewhat fizzled out over recent months, between work and trying to eat better I’ve stayed away from my love of baking cakes and bread. And it is a bit of a shame, because I probably love to bake more than I love to eat what I make, and I love to bake because it takes my mind of work. So the chance to bake this week for someone other than me was a win-win. I decided to go for a simple celebration cake, I was so fearful that I might have forgotten how to bake that I decided to stick with what I know.My Go-To Celebration CakeThe cake itself is a simple Victoria sandwich, I still bake using my mum’s trusty recipe- based on the weight of the eggs- and to give it the ‘more than a Victoria sandwich’ enthusiasm there’s trusty Cadbury’s Fingers and a load of Malteasers for a bit of ‘yum’. I discovered, now more committed than ever to getting the weight off, that this recipe is not great for keeping off the pounds, as based on a ‘normal’ round cake tin the perimeter of the cake takes exactly two packets of Cadbury’s fingers, plus four from the third packet. Conned.Victoria SandwichTo make this so simple cake, the first thing you need to do is:

Weight 4 eggs and preheat the oven at 180 degrees celsius.
Put into a mixing bowl the weight of the four eggs in Caster Sugar and Unsalted Butter, and cream.
Add two of the eggs and mix.
Measure the same weight of the four eggs in self-raising flour, add a couple of tablespoons to the mix.
Add the remaining two eggs and mix.
Add a third of the flour, combine, another third and combine, and the remainder and combine.
Add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla essence and mix.
Divide the mix between two cake tins.
Put in the oven for 20mins or until golden brown and a skewer is clean when put into the centre of the cake.
Remove from oven and leave to cool.
Sandwich the cakes together with jam.
Cover the cake with buttercream (a pre-bought tub works fine).Easy Celebration CakeAdd Cadbury’s Chocolate fingers around the cake. Simple Celebration CakeAnd add Malteasers, I start from the outside and work my way in. At this point I did of course realise using chocolate buttercream would have been far better. Easy, Simple Celebration CakeI have no idea why, it doesn’t need it, but I do prefer to add ribbon round the cake. The cake doesn’t need it, but I think it finishes the cake.My Go-To Celebration Cake