Browsing Category

DIY

Cozy Gingerbread House

Adventures, Cookies, Desserts, DIY, Holiday, The Holidays

Cozy Gingerbread House

Let’s make a Cozy Gingerbread House!

Did you ever have a Barbie Dream House? I think I asked for one for my eighth birthday (if I remember correctly) and I imagined myself being a grown-up in it. I had dogs (of course), I had a husband (Ken) whose head I shaved because I thought his blonde hair was ugly (I dunno) and a few kids who were ok. But most importantly, I had a pool with a slide and a trampoline. I also had a siqqq car that was bright pink that I’d use to pick up my friends so we could go to the movies and Disneyland.

When I got the insane idea that I should built a gingerbread house, I started to think: What should it look like? What should it include?

I remembered my Barbie Dream House and decided maybe that should be my inspo? I decided to leave out people because I don’t think I can make realistic versions of gingerbread humans.

Let’s start from the beginning…

Cozy Gingerbread House

Cozy Gingerbread House

 

What You Need to Build a Gingerbread House!

The first step to making my gingerbread house was planning the dimensions like the architect that I AM NOT.

I started crunching numbers and ended up using old Amazon boxes that were in the recycling for my templates. And XACTO knife comes in real handy in this instance.

Gingerbread Dough

Erin McDowell’s recipe is by far the best. I thought about developing my own recipe but I was short on time. And honestly, hers works wonderfully, no surprise there.

I happened to have shortening in my pantry because of these biscuits and it ended up making life SO much easier. Her tips, btw, are absolutely brilliant. She over-bakes her gingerbread to make it sturdier. I did the same and I found that really helped, too.

The Roof!

I decided on an almond-shingled roof. I LOVE the results.

If you’re interested in a true zen experience, glue on a million perfectly slivered almonds for two hours. Truth be told, I actually enjoy these types of things. I mediate and zone out and think about my life. Sometimes I even cry—it’s fun!

Creating Stain-Glass Windows!

Last minute I felt like I needed to create some dimension and lure to the cozy gingerbread house so I cut out some windows on each side of the house and the front.

I baked the sides of the house FIRST and then filled a few of the windows on the side and in the front with crushed up Jolly Ranchers.

I baked them for maybe around 5 to 6 minutes and the Jolly Ranchers ended up melting in the oven and making the prettiest pink windows.

Making an Edible Pool!

The pool is made from gingerbread dough that I cut out into an oval. I filled it with a piece of foil and crushed blue Jolly Ranchers to replicate the look of frozen water. I added a diving board because that’s what I would want in my own backyard.

Building Amelia’s Dog House!

Amelia’s Dog House is obviously just for show because she wouldn’t think of ever sleeping outside. She prefers to sleep on beds and pillows. But it is cute. I used this gingerbread mini house cookie cutter.

Cozy Gingerbread House Continue Reading

How to Make a Doughnut Wall

Desserts, DIY

I went to school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It’s a teeny little college town (especially compared to a big city like Los Angeles). I went to a conservatory, which technically means you’re classically trained in whatever you’re studying, but what it really means is that you’re stressed out all the time and you study and work like crazy.

We’d have super early shoots at 6am and I’d always, ALWAYS drive past Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (their original location!) and let me tell you, that “HOT NOW” sign that would light up was like a spark of joy and hope to us all.

Today, in honor of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts’ 81st birthday, I’m teaming up with them to show you how to make a very simple and very cute doughnut wall.

It was much simpler than I had imagined in my brain. I thought a drill would have to be involved and a tabletop wood cutter but it turns out, I was able to streamline it so it was super easy.

Continue Reading

How to Freeze Cookie Dough

How To Freeze Cookie Dough

Chocolate, Cookies, Desserts, DIY

I would like to confess something to you all: I use to be anti-freezer. But it all changed when I started to freeze cookie dough.

I didn’t like the idea of freezing food. I have no idea why. It sounded stale and not “fresh.” I was also a very single person for a long time and really had no need to freeze anything. But I’ve since found my freezer to be a true gift. I freeze all sorts of things: sauces, cakes, muffins, pie crust…and cookie dough!

I always get questions about why I scoop cookie dough so close together. People ask me if I bake them that close together. NO, SILLY! If I did that it’d be one gigantic cookie (not a terrible thing).

How to Freeze Cookie Dough

I scoop them out because I usually make a double batch of cookies and freeze most of the recipe for later use. It always comes in handy when people come over or we have a party to go to. I can usually reach in my freezer, bake off some cookies and have something to bring.

Here how I freeze cookie dough:

STEP 1: Make the cookie dough. Now this works best with cookie that needs to be scooped out and baked. It can work with, say, shortbread but those are different directions all together.

STEP 2: Per the instructions, I transfer it to the fridge to chill for 1 hour. You can chill it for longer, it just gets tougher to scoop out the colder the dough gets. So I always say an hour is good. This will also depend on your recipe.

STEP 3: Scoop out balls of cookie dough. My favorite cookie scoop is this medium-sized ice cream/cookie scoop from OXO. It’s the perfect size. It measures about 1 1/2 tablespoons.  It makes it super easy.

The edges of this cookie scoop are very sharp, so it easily cuts into cold cookie dough.

I place the scoops right onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and I place them super close together, though none of them are touching.

How to Freeze Cookie Dough

STEP 4: BAKE..OR FREEZE. If I’m baking the cookies, I’ll line another baking sheet with parchment paper and just transfer about 6 cookies to the tray and stick it in the oven. While those cookie are baking, I’ll usually transfer the cookies to the fridge, especially if it’s a hot day.

It makes the baking process much easier because once the cookies are done, I line another baking sheet and keep going. I reuse the parchment and baking sheet, I just allow it to cool a bit before adding the cookies to them.

How to Freeze Cookie Dough Continue Reading