Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Schmorgasbord: Part 1

Does anyone even know how to spell schmorgasbord? Is that an actual real life word? 

Irrelevant. Today is about Chriiiisssstmmaaaaaas!

Could you hear the Oprah-ness type yell on the 'Christmas' part?

Perf. I was going for that. 

First off. Am I the only one who misses making gingerbread houses? I'm young at heart, people. 

This is the most underrated Christmas activity of all time. Wanna make one? Good, let's do it. 


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light molasses or dark corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons water

  • *Oh Yes, we are making ACTUAL gingerbread. Graham crackers are for slackers. 

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and baking soda together until the mixture is smooth. Blend in the flour and water to make a stiff dough. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut paper patterns for the gingerbread house:
Two rectangles, 3 by 5 inches, to make the front and back of the house. Two rectangles, 3 by 5 1/2 inches for the roof. Two pieces for the ends of the house, 3 inches wide at the base, 3 inches to the roof line, and slanted to a peak 5 1/2 inches from the bottom. Four smaller rectangles, 1 1/2 by 1 inch for the roof and sides of the entryway. And one piece, 2 inches wide at the base, 1 1/2 inches to the roof line, and slanted to a peak 2 1/2 inches from the bottom for the front of the entryway.
Roll gingerbread dough out to edges on a large, rimless cookie sheet. After you've rolled out your dough, freeze it for 20 minutes so that it's easier to cut to size. Place paper patterns onto the rolled out dough. With a sharp, straight edged knife, cut around each of the pieces, but leave pieces in place.
Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes until dough feels firm.
Right after baking, while pieces are still hot, place patterns on top of the gingerbread again and trim shapes, cutting edges with a straight-edged sharp knife. Leave to cool on baking sheet.

Royal Icing (Glue)

  • 1 pound (3-3/4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • 1 to 2 large egg whites, or substitute 4 teaspoons packaged egg whites and 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract, vanilla or lemon juice

Mix all of the ingredients together using an electric hand mixer, until the icing is smooth and thin enough to be pressed through a pastry bag with a writing tip. Add more lemon juice, if necessary.

Place royal icing into pastry bag with a writing tip and press out to decorate individual parts of house, piping on decorations, windows, door, etc., as desired. Let dry until hardened.
Glue sides, front and back of house together at corners using royal icing. Place an object against the pieces to prop up until icing is dry (it only takes a few minutes).
Glue the two roof pieces to the pitched roofline of the house. Then, similarly, glue the sides and roof of the entryway together with icing. Attach the entryway to the front of the house.

Decorating Ideas
  • By making some icing with more egg whites, you can use it for "landscapes" and snow.
  • To create stained glass windows for your house, cut a square opening in the gingerbread square. With twelve minutes of baking left, fill the center with smashed lifesavers
  • Use chocolate covered sunflower seeds for a gravel driveway
  • Necco Wafers = a pretty shingled roof
  • Decorate an upside down ice cream cone with green icing for makeshift Christmas tree
  • Blue rock candy can double as ice chunks
  • A mix of sea salt and powdered sugar makes for some realistic looking snow
  • Pretzel sticks help with holding up the structure of your house. 

Let's switch gears a little bit. Gifting. Gifting sucks. I'm just saying what you're thinking. There's too much stress put into Christmas present buying. It's a universal opinion. Before you know it it's 9:38pm on Christmas Eve and you're racking the stores at the mall for the first thing that catches your eye. "Oh she'll definitely want a Minnesota road map!! Of Course! Right? RIGHT?!" Yeah, no. 


Introducing, The Gift Insider. This website let's you search for gifts by who it's for (mom, dad, brother, sister, boyfriend, friend, boss, baby, etc.), 

Beer savers - perfect for your fratty brother. 

what they're like (partier, girly girl, someone who has it all, you can even click 'who knows'), 

Luxe iphone Case

and what type of gift you're looking for (handmade, funny, unique, etc.). ISN'T THIS SO GENIUS?!?!? 

Custom Mousepad. Bam, instant sophistication.

The greatest inventions will always be the things that make lazy people's lives easier. Fact. 

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