Shame on me, somehow I never manage to take care of a proper Advent wreath on time. When I finally decide to buy one, they are always sold out or only very sad ones are left. I am talking about the traditional ones with candles and fir branches. But not this time. This time we will have an advent wreath made from gingerbread. I love making things from gingerbread. Years ago, when I was a poor university student, I started this tradition of making everything from gingerbread as I didn’t have money to buy any expensive Christmad decoration. I decorated the Christmas tree with gingerbread, the nativity was made from it, I even hung some igingerbread n the windows. It is definitely something I hold dear. So this year I decided to make the advent wreath from gingerbread as well.
For the beginning of the Oktoberfest I decided to introduce gingerbread hearts, they are a staple during this time, decorated with royal icing, often in blue and white for the Bavarian colors and showing the edelweiss flower common in the mountains. These gingerbread hearts, however, don’t necessarily need to be served for the Oktoberfest only, you can also give them as a gift for a special occasion such as a wedding, baptism, or as another sweet giveaway. Essentially, I went for my beloved recipe for gingerbread, which has been on my blog for a while. You can very easily make a vegan version of this recipe as it does not contain eggs. Please see details in the recipe below.
I asked several experts who have eaten hearts from the Oktoberfest and they did tell me that yes, you usually make it with the traditional gingerbread spices. You don’t necessarily have to, but it is pretty common. So folks, if you are in for some decorating, for having fun, this recipe is for you!
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!
It was the end of November, we were living as poor university students at that point in Dresden, in the east of Germany. We had no clue what to do. Everybody around us seemed to be busy decorating the apartment with wood handcraft from the close Ore mountains. Nutcrackers, smoking manikins, “Schwippbögen”, these are usually showing the nativity, were unwrapped and placed throughout the apartment. We simply couldn’t afford German wood handcraft from the region and therefore only had bare walls to show. Our Christmas decorations? Nil, nada, inexistent. What to do if you can barely make ends meet? My solution was simple: gingerbread or German Lebkuchen. Gingerbread is perfect if you want to use it as decoration. Regardless if you wish to use it for a gingerbread house (or even village?), to decorate your Christmas tree with, or to make an advent calendar. Gingerbread was my solution to our Christmas decoration.
Today I brought you some wonderful gingerbread cupcakes with cranberry filling. They are so easy to prepare, really! Basically you cream the butter with the sugar, add the egg, and then all other ingredients and that’s about it. Really simple, I promise.
There is a reason why I called these cupcakes gingerbread cupcakes. I made the cupcakes with molasses and added a lot of gingerbread spices. I mean, you do want them to actually taste like Christmas, right? I also decided to fill them with cranberry jam, which we are going to prepare in a few minutes, it is really simple. And the frosting secretly hides some gingerbread spices in the chocolate. I hope you are as excited about these cupcakes as I am!
I am also excited to be introducing the very talented illustrator Ellen Martens who designed these adorable cupcake toppers. I especially like this very cuddly deer and that cute little fox. She was kind enough to graciously invent cupcake topper PLUS Christmas cards. Let me know either her or on Instagram what you think of these illustrations.
I would also invite you to check out Ellen’s Instagram!
I honestly can’t imagine Christmas without gingerbread. Every year at the end of November I am faithfully going to make gingerbread of some kind. Be it to decorate the Christmas tree, traditional gingerbread men, or be it gingerbread cut into stars, angels, and stockings. Today I am going to present the cutest mini gingerbread houses you can decorate your mugs with. Prefect for a dinner invitation or as a gift. You can print out the mini houses here.
I do agree that anything made from gingerbread requires a lot of work, but I feel nothing says Christmas more. I really do enjoy starting the season this way. Gingerbread may require a lot of work, but there is one advantage to it, you can take a break after every stage and you can make gingerbread in advance. You can easily store the gingerbread dough for a week in your fridge. Undecorated gingerbread will also keep for weeks if stored in an airtight container, and even fully decoarted gingerbread is safe for consumption. Mind you, I at least happily munch away my Christmas tree decoration every year after Christmas. So I invite you to decorate some gingerbread with some friends. Have them come over, prepare some hot cocoa and just give it a go!