This should have been one of those Visa advert moments.
Ingredients for shortbread: £1.50
Betty Crocker ready-made icing (because I was short of time and am lazy) and food colouring: £3.20
The look on the faces of the toddlers at the 2nd birthday party we went to: priceless
Basically, my idea was to make some shortbread, roll it out into a big flat oblong, press some shapes into it with some cookie cutters and bake it, removing it from the oven every ten minutes to recut the shapes so that they don’t disappear. Then, ice a scene onto the whole thing and package up the shapes separately, so that the kids have to find the right shapes to fit the holes in the background. Viola: an edible puzzle.
And yeah, it was all very sweet and they did love it (FYI: time it took six toddlers to turn the entire puzzle into a rubble pile smeared in a totally unappetising looking, brown-grey icing? Five minutes) and since we still have 3/4 of a tub of icing left we did save money and it was all very gratifying to look like a domestic goddess for a few minutes etc etc…
But… Did I still wish I could just pop to a shop and pick something up instead of spending an hour and a half of my Sunday morning downing coffee and swearing at pastry? Yep.
This is a great idea. It’d be even greater if you’re better and baking and general creativity than me (whoever you are, that means you).
But here’s a tip. Don’t attempt it if: you’ve come home from a party at any point past twelve the night before, having forgotten that you are due at the party at 10.30am, are generally unpractised and rubbish at baking, ditto to art, and are being forced to drag a toddler around the kitchen while he clings to one of your legs and screams: “THE OVEN IS ON FIRE!!!! I’M COMING TO RESCUE YOU, FIREMAN SAM.”
Otherwise? You’re good to go.
We’ve got a lot of kids’ birthday party parties coming up. So any ideas for DIY presents that don’t involve eating 5,000 calories out of desperation would be extremely welcome.