Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Baking! Can you say Yummy!?!?

I love holiday baking! Actually I just love baking whether it be the holidays or not! This year I made my very first gingerbread house from scratch. I can't believe how easy it was and I absolutely loved the way it made the kitchen smell. I have come to the conclusion that the success of your house all rides on the frosting. Luckily I found the proper frosting the first time and didn't have to learn this by trial and error! My frosting was like super glue! I have heard many stories this year of frosting that just would not set up or would not hold the candy on, let alone keep the walls up!

For the gingerbread I used this recipe:

Classic Gingerbread Cutouts
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the molasses and eggs. Combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour, baking soda, salt, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger; beat into the molasses mixture. Gradually stir in the remaining flour by hand to form a stiff dough.
  3. Divide dough into 2 pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting (Royal Icing):
3 tablespoons Wilton Meringue Powder
4 cups shifted confectioners' sugar
6-10 tablespoons warm water

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).
Makes 3 cups.
I also made the little gingerbread men with this same recipe. I made several little packages of these guys and gave them out as "thank you" gifts for the mail carrier, the UPS man and some other people. I packaged about half a dozen of them in those clear cellophane bags you get at Wal-Mart in the party section. They sell them as treat bags. Then I tied them up with a little ribbon and either gave them with a Christmas card or a little hang tag that I made that said "Merry Christmas from the Manvilles." I love giving little treats like this!

Every year several of the ladies that live out here by us get together and have a cookie exchange. These are such a great idea. Everyone brings the same amount of one kind of cookie, like say 5 dozen. Then after much talking and laughing and catching up on what everyone has been doing and of course eating a few cookies, you divide all the cookies between everyone who came. Depending on how many people come, you end up going home with several different kinds of cookies to share with your family and your holiday guests.

This year I made the most fabulous cookies. They were absolutely delicious! I got them from the November 29, 2009 issue of Family Circle. Click on the link below and it will take you to the recipe.

Caramel and Chocolate Tartlets

Well, time to close for now.

Make some time to do some holiday baking!!

1 comment:

  1. is this a closed circle? I dont remeber a cookie exchange! Jen