Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dashing Through the Dough

That statement pretty much sums up my holiday season. Literally (and probably just like some people, figuratively too). From Thanksgiving until Christmas, it seemed like my oven was never turned off. If it could talk, it would have probably  begged me to give it a little break. It was a busy holiday. Busy but fun :)

This display below was from the Holiday Open House my sister and our friend hosted.  It was a fun start of my "baking season".  I made cupcakes, mini berry tarts, macarons, cake balls, and gingerbread cookie pops.  I also made those gingerbread houses, it's just so fun decorating them!

       Vanilla macarons

                This was the only time my kids were off limits from decorating these gingerbread houses!

                                                        Red Velvet cake balls

                                                    Gingerbread cookie pops

Christmas tree cupcakes.  When I get a chance sometime, I'll put a tutorial here on how to do that :)

Right before my son's winter school break, his friend Mason came over for a playdate.  To keep them busy I thought I'd let them decorate a giant gingerbread man.  I didn't have a giant cookie cutter so what I did was trace a gingerbread man/girl cookie cutters on paper then enlarge it in my printer.  I enlarged until it occupied pretty much  the entire 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of printer paper.  I cut it out the used that as a template to cut the gingerbread cookies. 

And here they are decorating. They look so serious!

Logan's gingerbread man

Izzie's gingerbread girl

Mason's gingerbread man

Here they are altogether.  Can you tell who loves sugar?

I mentioned this was a busy season for me.  My sister asked me to make her gingerbread house kits and cake balls to give as presents for her friends and co-workers.  So, her wish is my command (hahaha, well especially if she's paying me for it!).

So these were the gingerbread house kits.  It included the gingerbread house fully assembled, candies, and the "glue", which is the royal icing for decorating. I actually didn't get to make a lot of gingerbread houses this time.  Previous Christmas,  I made about 30! Yes, fully assembled!  20 of them went to my daughter's preschool (almost a tradition now, although this year we opted for a cardboard box gingerbread houses because of food allergy issues in class), and the rest were given to friends, and I also threw a gingerbread decorating party for my kids' friends.  We didn't get to do that this time because I just got a little too preoccupied, LOL.  I kinda feel bad because a couple of kids who were at the party asked me if we were going to do it again. I'm glad they really had fun and I'll have to make it up for them sometime this year somehow :)  Thinking of a Valentine's party.
And here are the cake balls.  I don't remember how many there were, but it was a lot! Aside from what my sister ordered, I also made some to give to my friends.  I don't know if I'm gonna make cake balls for a while!

Chocolate, Red Velvet, White Chocolate Peppermint, and Gingerbread cake balls. 

I put four of them in a box. I love those candy boxes!

Speaking of friends, I made crinkle cookies for them.  Acually prior to these batch, I've made a few batches too to donate to my son's school's PTA for their annual "cookie exchange" for the entire school staff.  I guess it wasn't really an "exchange" since the staff didn't make them.  They just got to pick out cookies and baked goods they want that were donated!  Lucky! But they do deserve it--for all their hard work and caring for our children :)

You'll notice though that this batch didn't have the white powdery stuff on it.  Instead of rolling it in just plain powdered sugar before baking, I rolled it in powdered sugar with cocoa powder to give it more chocolatey flavor.  For those asking me for the recipe, click here.  I give credit to Williams-Sonoma on this one.  I tried crinkle cookies for the first time when my in-laws came for a visit a week before Christmas. My MIL made crinkle cookies and I fell in love with it! But I forgot to ask for the recipe and I just had to have the recipe right away (LOL) so I Googled one and found the Williams-Sonoma version really yummy!

This is how I packaged them.  Thank you Martha Stewart for your beautiful packaging!! If you haven't noticed by now, I'm a big Martha fan!  And those packaging I found at Michaels were already on clearance! Score! 

On Christmas Eve, I decided to do a little craft with my kids. I love Pinterest and I do browse in there a lot for craft ideas, but I'd like to take full credit on this idea hahaha! I present to you the "Gingerbread House Snowglobe"! Ta-da!

I had some left over gingerbread cookie dough but didn't  have enough to make 2 regular sized houses. And I just refused to make another batch, so worn out from all the baking at that point!  But when it comes to crafts, my kids had have their own.  So, I had to make the houses smaller to make 2.  The houses end up being about 3 inches wide and about 4 inches tall.  I assembled the houses on a 6" cake board and had the kids decorate them.

Went to Michaels and got  6" glass "fish bowls".  I'm not really sure what was the right term for it, but that's what I call it.

Here are the materials: the houses, the bowls, candies, and royal icing.

And here they are decorating.  Again, looking so serious! What's up with that?

Finally, a smile!

Showing his little gingerbread guy

The little guy

These were the only ones that Izzie let me do.  These little things were only about an inch! So cute!

See how she lined up her gum drops?  My daughter has always been like that!  She wants things a little more organized! 

Izzie's on the left, Logan's on the right.

These were both Izzie's, front and back. I didn't get to snap Logan's. 

Voila! After decorating the houses, just put the bowls over it. If you want, you can seal the bowl with royal icing.  I didn't do that here since we just left them for display on a table.  I think next Christmas when we do this again, I'm going to find a plastic bowl instead of glass, I'd feel much safer working with plastic with the kids. One good thing about putting a globe over it is that the kids were not tempted to grab and pick on the candies while displayed! Especially when I'm not looking :)
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading through my busy season. And I hope that I gave you some ideas to make for next Christmas!


  1. Wow! Amazing creations, Maria. I love your work! -Allison

  2. I feel less than adequate after reading your blogs! :)

    1. Hahaha LOL Beth! I meant to inspire people not to make them feel inadequate ahahahaha!

  3. You are SO TALENTED! Thanks for the Christmas goodies! xo