When I was younger the thing I loved most about the holiday season was the dizzying array of cookies, candies and breakfast cakes that would suddenly appear in the our house. A practiced food sneak, I’d spirit away frosted sugar cookies and waxed paper-wrapped caramels and eat them in the luxurious privacy of my bedroom closet.
My parents were on to my sugar-seeking ways and would do their best to conceal the best of the treats from me so that I didn’t eat them all in a single day (I’ve since learned much about moderation). The one thing they never needed to tuck behind the cereal boxes on top of the refrigerator was the gingerbread. A yearly gift from our next-door neighbor, it was dense, heavy and smelled just slightly of bourbon. It was clearly not a cake for kids.
But as so often happens in life, my tastes have evolved over the years. The cookies I once craved now seem disgustingly sweet and that gingerbread I scorned appeals to me more than ever. That original recipe is long since gone (our neighbor died when I was 13), but I’ve spent the last few years searching out a similarly solid, barely sweetened cake to make and give out during the holiday season.
Before you mix your batter, read these tips
With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season in full swing, it can be tempting to take shortcuts for the sake of simplicity. This year, we’re all about doing whatever it takes to make this holiday your easiest, best one yet, but when it comes to building your own gingerbread house, you can skip the store-bought, pre-assembled kit and create your own one from scratch in flash. Believe it not, the gingerbread house pictured above comes together in just 1 hour and 30 minutes thanks to a fuss-free recipe with clear, step-by-step instructions. Learn the basics of making gingerbread houses below, assemble and decorate this simple, seasonal structure with your family, then post a picture of the finished product to Food Network’s Facebook timeline.
The beauty of this gingerbread dough in particular is that it can be made entirely in one bowl. After creating a stiff mixture of wet and dry ingredients, however, it’s important that the dough chill in the refrigerator for at least a half-hour. This will make it less tacky and far easier for you to roll out.
Measure twice, cut once
- Work it: Not willing to settle for simple frosting squiggles, this ginger-guy is ready to rock the runway in a bold holiday tie.
The sweetest designs of this season aren’t found on the red carpet, but instead on the pages of Food Network Magazine. Take inspiration from the styles seen on the pages of the December issue and create your own to-die-for candy outfits. Start with a batch of perfect gingerbread, and check out these runway-worthy duds:
- A frothy, layered gown worthy of the finest holiday gala.
How to DIY: Snip mini marshmallows in half with scissors; toss in colored sugar (it sticks to the cut side). Attach with royal icing. Read more »
Since we’re all home enjoying the holidays, we wanted to share some holiday memories from your favorite Food Network stars…
Tyler Florence: Best gift — moped as a ten-year old…and then, “…whatever my wife got me last Christmas. Thanks, honey!”
Sandra Lee: Best gift — a love letter from her honey.
Guy Fieri: Best gift — His horse, Rebel was his first thought. However, he changed his answer to his two sons instead.
Alton Brown: A jet from his wife. That’s right, a REAL jet.
Sunny Anderson: Beebee bear from her mom.
Danny Boome: Skiing lessons. Worst gift: Hospital bills after the skiing lessons.
Watch all the holiday memories from your favorite FN stars.
Here’s a toast to all of the FN Dish’ers!
And if your glass needs a great companion…
try Paula‘s Mama’s Eggnog. YUM!
~ The FN Dish Staff
As mentioned, Food Network staffers just baked off in honor of the 12 Days of Cookies. To settle some bets, we’d love to hear which you think turned out the best. Plus, see if you can guess all the FN Gingerbread Stars in the last of the two fan photos at the bottom. Full answers (and the staff winner of our internal taste test) will be posted this Friday in the comments below…