I worked (teaching preschool) for a full day, then spent an hour and a half finishing off some Christmas shopping and I felt like I should be awarded a medal of honour!
I neeearly poured a glass of wine to congratulate myself but chose juice instead to save the calories for Christmas day wine consumption.
As much as I love the silly season I'm beginning to see why others don't.
It is pretty tiring. In fact, I'll admit that I had a mini melt down in the middle of the mall today while shopping with Mr S for his Christmas present, I actually said "I hate Christmas!" ...okay it was more like this "I HATE CHRISTMAS!!!" then followed up with "I finally admit it, I hate Christmas just like everyone else."
Now that I'm cool, calm and collected (and have my feet up) I can tell you that I do not in fact, hate Christmas, Christmas just hates me this year.
I know I have put myself under too much pressure and tried to do everything. Next year I think I'll try and take it easy.
Even though this years Christmas has raised my blood pressure and probably aged me more than any other, I have enjoyed all the baking I managed to get in.
The latest baking gift I made are these adorable little gingerbread houses that sit on your coffee cup, ready to be dunked in and enjoyed with a nice cup of hot chocolate.
I found out about these cute creations last Christmas when Pinterest was still new to me and have been wanting to make them ever since.
I am so grateful for Megan at Not Martha for her extensive research she put in before blogging about her creations. From all of her notes I was able to make the mini gingerbread houses knowing exactly how to go about it.
I kept reading in the comments on her blog post people saying "gosh that's a lot of work to put in but well worth it" and I'm thinking, psssht, it doesn't look like that much work...famous last words. These bad boys take up a lot of time but yes, I do think they are worth it.
If you would like to make these sweet little gingerbread houses I suggest checking out Martha Stewart's gingerbread recipe (or use your own favourite recipe) and be sure to give Not Martha's blog post a good read to find out how to bake them properly (it's trickier than it sounds!) here is my run down:
How to make mini gingerbread houses
You will need:
Paper templates of the mini houses (can be found at Not Martha's)
Baking trays, lined with baking paper
Piping bag and tips #1 and #2
- Prepare cookie dough as recipe suggests and make sure it is very chilled.
- Preheat oven.
- Roll out a third of the dough mixture onto a foil or baking paper sheet nice and thin (1/8th of an inch if you want to be exact).
- Cut out the pieces of your gingerbread house and cut away the excess (instead of moving the pieces) this makes sure that the house pieces will stay in shape.
- Pop the foil or baking paper sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Bake the gingerbread, keep an eye on it and take them out when they are just starting to brown.
- While one batch is baking cut up another and put in the freezer. I managed to get 2-3 houses on each tray.
- Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the tray then peel them off and let cool on a rack.
How to assemble mini gingerbread houses:
- Prepare royal icing (I always use this recipe)
- Once cookies are completely cool get each house ready in front of you with two of each piece.
- Fill piping bag with royal icing fitted with a #2 tip or small round tip.
- Pipe two lines on the outer edges of the door pieces.
- Attach walls to one door piece and let it stand.
- Attach the other door piece to the walls and let it sit for about 2 minutes or until it is reasonably stable.
- Pipe two lines along the roof top and attach the two roof pieces.
- Make sure to work fast when working with royal icing or it will set and try to hold pieces in place for a few seconds before letting go.
- Once the house is put together you can go crazy with the decorating.
To coat with crushed candy canes:
- Refrigerate or freeze candy canes until they are chilled.
- Pulverize them in a blender or food processor until they resemble rough crumbs.
- Pipe an outline of royal icing on the roof of the gingerbread house.
- Spread royal icing with a knife over the entire roof, making sure to spread it to the edges.
- Dip houses in a bowl full of candy cane crumbs, pressing down firmly.
- If there are missed spots sprinkle some candy cane crumbs on and press down.
- The candy cane crumbs will stick together when they are not chilled so in between dunking houses put the crumbs in the fridge to keep them cool.
I am submitting this recipe/tutorial for December's Sweet New Zealand (which I'm hosting whoopee!) Sweet New Zealand is a monthly blogging event where Kiwi food bloggers share their sweet recipes. It's lots of fun so do check it out if you're keen to get involved!