Guys, it was so, so much fun baking, decorating, assembling, and also filming this gingerbread house (video further down below). You can’t imagine how wonderful this was. Probably because this year is different and so I needed to relax even more than usual. I dare say that I have become a gingerbread expert over the years. You need to know that I always decorate our tree with gingerbread, I also make tiny gingerbread houses you can actually place on your mug every year. I have learned a lot making gingerbread over and over again. And today I am going to share with you how to make this gingerbread house from scratch. You will find a recipe for a sturdy house, lots of helpful hints and tips, a recipe for royal icing and a video showing the entire process. I have traditionally made a gingerbread house for the first of advent for several years. I just love when the entire apartment smells like cinnamon and other spices throughout December. So let’s get started!
Cookie boxes are my thing! I love shipping cookies to friends and family during the season! I have been doing this for years. And since this year is so special and you may not be able to see everybody you hold dear, how about shipping a cookie box instead? This post will let you know which type and size of box to choose, which cookies are best to ship with lots of recipe suggestions, how you make your cookie box look nice and give it a personal touch and how your cookies make it safe and sound without breaking or going bad. Let’s have a look:
#1 Which box is best to ship cookies?
It may sound counter-intuitive, but I do prefer rectangular boxes, even if round cookie boxes seem so much more common here in Germany. I find rectangular boxes so much better as you can easily create smaller compartments by cutting out some carton (yes, you can use an old cornflakes box) and by placing them inside your cookie box to create smaller compartments. So stacking the cookies becomes much easier as each has its small compartment and is protected even better. You probably could create something similar with a round cookie box, but I am very bad at this. This is not to say that you can’t use round boxes, but as stated, for shipping rectangular boxes are better.
A tin can will work best and can be found in German stores during this time of the year. Once I even bought a cookie box already filled with cookies in a grocery store and replaced those with my own homemade cookies. So you can go with tin, thick carton, or wood. Paper is not thick enough, you may only use it if you want to wrap single cookies in some extra containers.
The size is also tricky, they shouldn’t be too small as you won’t be able to put in any cookies (and they fill up much faster than you think), but also not too large. I would suggest about 17-20cm in diameter and 8-10cm in height for round cookie boxes, these are the ones I liked a lot. For a rectangular box again height should be between 8-10cm, the largest I shipped was 17cm in width and 20cm long.
Have I mentioned that I hate fondant? I really don’t get it. You see a wedding cake with fondant and you know that whoever made that cake spent hours and hours on beautiful decoration with the fondant, there are flowers and little figures and you can only imagine how many hours it must have taken to prepare them. But what happens next, you see that all the guests happily reach for a piece and quickly get rid of the fondant because it is so ultra sweet. Nobody wants to eat it. I find that extremely sad. I will always say that flavor is so much more important than looks. But this does not mean that a flavorful cake needs to look boring! That’s why today I am going to introduce to you how to make flowers with buttercream. Below you will find lots of helpful tips and tricks and also a video for you to practice making different flowers with buttercream.
Today I am going to introduce you to dulce de leche. Never heard of it? This is Spanish and literally translates as “sweetness of milk”. In English it is often translated as milk caramel. Its taste is similar to traditional caramel, but since it is prepared with milk, it has a slightly different taste. Dulce de leche is widely used in Latin America and served with desserts, pastries, but also along cheese or as sweetener for coffee.
It has been a while since I last did a how to post. Shame on me. For that reason I wanted to give you twelve tips today to produce the fluffiest, lightest and best sponge batter. I love cakes with sponge batter, I especially love sponge rolls. If you would like to check out my recipes, please scroll down. I love sponge rolls, because they are fast to prepare, look all fancy and are perfect if you have company coming over. Sponge is also a nice and unassuming companion for any layer cake you want to create. It does not take over flavorwise, it holds back and nicely complements whichever buttercream or frosting you have in mind to fill it with. But sponge batter can be a bit hard to prepare. If you are not careful, it can get dry and it may not rise as much as you had hoped while baking. For that reason I have twelve helpful tips for you how your sponge batter is going to turn out perfect.
#1 Your eggs need to have room temperature
Eggs are what makes a sponge cake fluffy and light, so be sure to use the best eggs you can find and have them at room temperature. Why? Because they will be much easier to beat and will take less time. So be sure to use them at room temperature. If you are anything like me, you will most likely forget to take them out on time. So here is a little trick, put them in a mug with warm water while you take care of step two and you will be good to go.
Beating the eggs is one of the most important steps for fluffy sponge batter. This is because you are beating in air into the eggs so that they can lift the batter while it is baking. So if you don’t want your beaten eggs to deflate while you are rushing around finding utensils and measuring all remaining ingredients, prepare and measure out everything beforehand. Believe me, your batter will come together much better and you will be less stressed out when you start beating the eggs.
#3 Beat egg yolks and egg whites separately
There are different ways of creating fluffy sponge batter. You can either beat the eggs as a whole or you can do it separately. I seem to always get better results beating the egg parts separately, so this is why I recommend you doing it, too. I didn’t own a KitchenAid for many years, so I had to use a handheld mixer and believe me, if you want to beat the whole eggs, you will need to beat them for at least ten minutes or longer. Not so much fun with a handheld mixer, is it? Also, if you beat your egg yolks and egg whites separately, the total amount you need to beat is still much lower, so I still do it that why. And here is another tip, if you use a handheld mixer, start with the egg whites, you can then just continue beating the egg yolks without washing anything.
#4 Beat your egg whites in a fatfree enviornment and don’t beat them for too long
You need to be absolutely sure that your bowl and mixer are completely fatfree before you start beating the egg whites. If there is a little bit of egg white in your egg yolk, that’s no problem, but if you have egg yolk in your egg white, it may not get stiff. To help stabilize your egg white, I always recommend a pinch of salt or a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Here in Germany we don’t have cream of tartar, so this is our way to stabilize it. I usually add the salt when the egg white is foaming and changes color, becomin white, which usually happens after a minute or so. Originally I thought I had to beat the egg white until stiff peaks form, but I learned recently that that was a little over the top, you only need to beat it until soft peaks form (see picture below). This is another reason for me why I prefer beating egg whites and egg yolks seperately, it doesn’t take that long.
You have no idea what to do with leftover egg whites or egg yolks? Here are some recipes for you to use them up! Scroll down if you want to know how to freeze properly. And yes, it is possible to also freeze egg yolks, just use a little trick.
#What to do with Egg Whites
The easiest way to use leftover egg white is to make meringue. Meringue basically means beating the egg whites with sugar until stiff and firm and then drying this mixture in the oven at low temperature. There are a lot of delicious recipes with meringue, either as frosting, as an entire part of its own or as decoration for cakes. I give you some options below, click on the links to get to the recipes.
Hi guys, I have decided it is about time to finally write another “how to” post. This time I decided to focus on pie crust or shortbread. Why so? Because many people are afraid of it, many are scared to even try it. Which is a shame, considering that you can make soooo many wonderful things with it.
At the end of this post you will find a list of recipes you can make and believe me, there is so much more than only pie you can make with! As you can see from my pictures, cookies or tarts also taste wonderful with it. You can make decorations such as the featured roses or surprise somebody with cookie stamp cookies.
So let’s have a look at the basics, what is important for pie crust? Continue Reading…
If you are into baking and if you like to bake with others, you should host a baking party. Since a lot of people are fond of French Macarons, I would suggest making it a Macaron Baking Party. Yes, it is a lot of work and yes, things can go wrong, but believe me, it is soooo much fun! If you follow my advice, I can grant you that your party will be a success. I learned from trial and error. So let me try to lay it out for you:
I originally planned to post here once per week, but I am so excited, I am going to ignore that plan and post anyway. There are two reasons why. No. 1: Anna from the blog Teigliebe (in German) asked today which was our favorite spice for baking. Which made me think. The answer is really simple: I have come to realize that vanilla extract does give a recipe a very nice flavor. I have often been forced to leave out vanilla extract because it is soooo hard to come by in Germany. But the baked goods taste so much better if you add it. And no. 2 is because, you know, I finally found out how to make my own vanilla extract. It is so simple and easy, I am a bit angry I didn’t know beforehand.