Maple Walnut White Chocolate Blondies

These homemade blondies are buttery and chewy, and super easy to make.  Serve them with my maple cream sauce and you’ll be in dessert Heaven. 

Maple Walnut White Chocolate Blondies

These homemade blondies are buttery and chewy, and super easy to make.  Serve them with my maple cream sauce and you'll be in dessert Heaven. 
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 2 sticks butter softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
    2. Place softened butter in a stand mixer, and blend until smooth.  
    3. Stir in sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.
    4. Add eggs and maple syrup.  
    5. Add flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt. 
    6. Stir in white chocolate chips and walnuts.
    7. Pour batter into prepared 13×9 inch baking pan, or scoop into muffin cups. 
    8. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a crumb or two attached.
    Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
    Serve with Maple Cream Sauce

Maple Cream Sauce

  • .
    1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
    5 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
    5 Tbsp Light Corn Syrup
    1 tsp nutmeg
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
     
    Combine heavy cream, maple syrup and corn syrup in a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes or until sauce is reduced and thick. The sauce will bubble as it cooks. When sauce has thickened, add vanilla extract, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Sauce will thicken more as it cools.

Creamy Cajun Jambalaya Pasta for Two

This Creamy Cajun Jambalaya Pasta is a delicious and quick meal that can be made in one pot.  It is packed with a combination of seafood flavors with the use of lobster base as well as cajun spice.  Andouille sausage adds smokiness to this recipe.

Creamy Cajun Jambalaya Pasta

A while back I made this delicious Shrimp and Grits with a Lobster Cream Sauce.  After eating the dish for lunch, I wondered what to do with the left over lobster cream sauce. 🤔 🧐 💡 It came to me… I would toss pasta in that creamy deliciousness.  So basically that’s how I came up with sharing this recipe.  I decided to add a little Cajun spice to it to give it some more kick, and there you have it Creamy Cajun Jambalaya Pasta. 

This recipe is very quick and easy to make which makes it a great midweek recipe.  I portioned this out as a dinner for two, which makes it a great Valentines day recipe as well. 

Ingredients needed to make Creamy Cajun Jambalaya Pasta

Linguine
1 Small diced onion
Better Than Bullion Lobster Base
Butter
Flour
Heavy cream
Milk
Old Bay Seasoning
Cajun Seasoning
Garlic Paste
Diced Andouille Sausage
Peeled Raw Shrimp

How to Make Creamy Cajun Jambalaya Pasta

Start this recipe off by bringing a pot of water to boil. Once the water has come to a rolling boil add 4 oz of linguine and cook until al dente.  While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a skillet over medium heat and caramelize diced onion.  I’m not a huge fan of bell peppers, but feel free to add some at this time if you’d love a little more crunch in this pasta dish.  When onion begins to caramelize add  Andouille sausage. Allow the sausage to brown, and then add shrimp, cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, turning once midway.  Remove the sausage and shrimp mixture from the pan. Next, melt the butter in the same skillet, whisk in flour until smooth. Whisk in garlic paste and lobster base.  Gradually whisk milk and heavy cream into the skillet.  Continue to whisk until the sauce has thickened slightly.  Add some Old Bay seasoning and some Cajun spice.  Toss your cooked  linguine in the sauce. Add the shrimp and sausage mixture back to the sauce.  Bon Appetit dinner is served. 

What if I can’t find Andouille sausage?

If you can’t find Andouille sausage kielbasa would go great in this dish.  If you like spicy, add spicy  kielbasa.

What if I don’t eat pork?

You can use a chicken Andouille, Turkey  kielbasa or even Beef kielbasa. 

What else can I add to this recipe?

Chicken would be a great addition to this dish.  After browning the sausage, add some diced chicken. I would advise to add the chicken after cooking the sausage so the chicken would be flavored with that great smoky sausage. 

Bell peppers would also add a nice crunch to this recipe.  After caramelizing the onions, add 1/2 of a diced bell pepper to the skillet. 

Tomatoes would balance the creaminess of this recipe.  I would add 1/2 of a can of diced tomatoes.  I would dram the tomato juice before adding them to the pan.  I would add the tomatoes right before the pasta goes into the pan. 

If you like this recipe you’ll love this:

Shrimp and Grits
Lobster Mac and Cheese

Try some of my other Valentines Day Recipes:

White Chocolate Raspberry Fondue & Chocolate Turtle Fondue
Chocolate Martini

Creamy Cajun Jambalaya Pasta

This Creamy Cajun Jambalaya Pasta is a delicious and quick meal that can be made in
one pot.  It is packed with a combination of seafood flavors with the use of lobster base as well as cajun spice.  Andouille sausage adds smokiness to this
recipe.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

  • 4 oz linguini cooked
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 4 oz Andouille Sausage diced
  • 8 oz Raw Shrimp peeled and tails off
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1-1/2 tbsp flour
  • 1-3/4 tsp Lobster Base Better Than Bullion
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1-1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp Old Bay
  • 1 tsp Cajun Spice

Instructions
 

  • Caramelize diced onion in 1 tbsp oil over medium heat in a skillet. 
    2. When the onions begin to caramelize, add Andouille sausage. Allow the sausage to brown, and then add shrimp, cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, turning once midway.
    3. When the shrimp are cooked remove onions, sausage and shrimp from the pan. 
    4. Melt butter in the skillet, whisk in flour until smooth. Whisk in garlic paste and lobster base. 
    5. Slowly whisk in milk and heavy cream.  Cook, whisking constantly or until thickened slightly thickened. 
    6. Add Old Bay and Cajun Spice  
    7. Toss linguine in the sauce.  Add shrimp and sausage mixture back to the sauce. 
    8. Serve

Taco Queso Dip

This queso dip is super creamy. The addition of the ground beef kicks it up a notch. This queso is made with real cheese, white cheddar, Monterey Jack cheese, white American cheese, and some cream cheese, all melted together.

Taco Queso Dip

If your anything like me, you could never have enough queso. Nine times out of 10, when asked what I want for dinner, the answer would either be pizza or nachos for sure. If the answer is nachos, I either make queso or pick some up from a nearby restaurant. When I order queso, I always order a large so that I can have some leftover for the next day.

Queso dip is the perfect addition to any build your own taco party, Taco Tuesday dinner, Superbowl party, or for any day that you have a craving for cheesy, melty goodness.

Ingredients needed to make Taco Queso Dip

Ground beef
White cheddar cheese
Monterey Jack cheese
White American cheese
Cream Cheese
Heavy cream
Milk
Green Chilis
Recaito (Goya)

How to make Taco Queso Dip

Caramelize one small onion in 1 tbsp oil over medium heat in a 4-quart pot. Add ground beef, season to taste with taco seasoning, granulated garlic, and granulated onion, cook until brown. Once the ground beef has cooked, remove it from the pan. At this point, I like to drain the fat from the ground beef. In the same pot, add 3 tbsp butter. Sautee green chilis and recaito in the butter.   Pour in milk and heavy cream. If you are looking to make the recipe a little lighter, you can use milk or half and half instead of heavy cream. When making queso, I prefer to use whole milk. In my opinion, it would give you a creamier consistency in the end, vs. using 1% or 2% milk. Once the milk has warmed up, add the cheese. Allow the cheese to begin melting in the sauce, and begin to whisk. Whisk continuously until smooth.  Season sauce to taste with salt, granulated garlic, and granulated onion. Add 1/2 tsp ground cumin, and return ground beef to the pot.

Do I have to use ground beef in this recipe?

Of course not. If you don’t prefer to eat beef, feel free to try any other ground meat in the recipe. If you prefer no meat at all, this recipe is good just as queso. Skip past the cooking the meat, and go straight to the melted butter, and adding the green chilis to the pot.

If you like this recipe you’ll love this:

Pretzel Bites with Beer and Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Taco Queso Recipe

This queso dip is super creamy. The addition of the ground beef kicks it up a notch.
This queso is made with real cheese, white cheddar, Monterey Jack cheese, white
American cheese, and some cream cheese, all melted together.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz White Cheddar Cheese
  • 8 oz Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 12 slices White American Cheese
  • 4 oz Cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 tbsp Goya Recaito
  • 2 tbsp Diced green chilies (about 1/2 of a 4 oz can)
  • 3 tbsp Butter melted
  • 1-1/2 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 small Onion
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cumin
  • Salt, Pepper, Granulated Garlic, Granulated Onion, Taco Seasoning

Instructions
 

  • Caramelize one small onion in 1 tbsp oil over medium heat in a 4-quart pot.
    Add ground beef, and cook until brown. Season to taste with taco seasoning, granulated garlic, and granulated onion.
    Once the ground beef has cooked, remove it from the pan, and drain fat from the pan.
    In the same pot, add 3 tbsp butter. Sautee green chilis and recaito in the butter.  
    Pour in milk and heavy cream, add the cheese (white cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack Cheese, White American Cheese and the cream cheese). Whisk continuously until smooth. 
    Season sauce to taste with salt, granulated garlic, and granulated onion. Add 1/2 tsp ground cumin, and return ground beef to the pot.





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Corn Chowder

The weather has been pretty warm here, however when a stretch of cool weather came through I didn’t hesitate to make soup.  I’m not a huge fan of winter, but coming from NY, experiencing 60 degrees in January is just bizarre. 

This corn chowder recipe is smooth and creamy from the half and half and hearty from the potatoes.  It’s very quick and easy to make, and there are only a handful of ingredients.  Well technically 6 ingredients plus seasonings, but that’s close enough to a handful 😉.

Corn Chowder

Get cozy with a warm bowl of hearty corn chowder. This recipe is very quick and easy to make with either fresh corn or frozen.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tsp oil
  • 7 oz ham steak diced
  • 1 small – medium onion diced
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes diced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups frozen corn
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Instructions
 

  • Heat 6 quart soup pot to medium high heat, and brown the diced ham steak.
    2. Remove ham from the pot.
    3. Pour oil into the hot pot, add onions, and caramelize. 
    4. Pour chicken stock into the pot. Bring stock to a boil. Season soup with 1 tsp granulated garlic, 1 tsp granulated onion, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp dried thyme. 
    5. Add potatoes.  Cook until potatoes are fork tender.  Add ham back to the soup.
    6. Pour in frozen corn. Pour half and half into the soup.
    7. Remove from heat. 

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies with Flaxseeds

Like chocolate chip cookies, a good oatmeal cookie recipe is one of those classic recipes that everyone needs in their recipe arsenal.  These oatmeal cookies are chewy and delicious, and are healthier than your average cookie. These cookies are made with a mix of all purpose flour and almond flour.  Almond flour is low in carbs and rich in other nutrients such as protein, magnesium as well as added fiber.  Like almond flour, flaxseeds also contain fiber as well as protein.  They are also high in omega 3 fatty acids. 

These oatmeal cookies are buttery and delicious. Often times people pick up a oatmeal cookie and are disappointed because they are dry and hard, not these. This oatmeal cookie recipe won’t disappoint. 

I decided to make these cookies with quick oats because that was what I had on hand.  I’m not sure if rolled oats could be substituted in this recipe for the exact amount of the quick oats. Contrary to what I read the quick oats were great in the recipe.

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies with Flaxseeds

These oatmeal cookies have added nutrients with flaxseeds and almond flour and are super soft
and chewy and will definitely satisfy your cookie cravings.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 14 mins
Total Time 24 mins
Course Dessert

Ingredients
  

  • 1-1/2 stick butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 2-1/2 cups quick oatmeal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (craisins)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
    2. In a stand mixer cream butter with brown sugar, and granulated sugar until well combined. 
    3. Beat in eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla extract until fluffy. 
    4. Mix in dry ingredients (oatmeal, flour, almond flour, flaxseeds, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt) until well combined. 
    5. Gently mix in dried cranberries. 
    6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or the dull side of aluminum foil. 
    7. Using a 1 oz ice cream scoop or a cookie scoop to scoop cookie dough.
    8. Place cookie dough ball on prepared baking sheet.  Space balls of cookie dough evenly on baking sheet. 
    9. Bake for 7 minutes, and then spin the baking sheet, and bake for another 6 or 7 minutes.
    10. Let them sit on the baking pan for 2 minutes before removing to cooling rack.

Thai Pork Tenderloin with Lime Mint Sauce

This Thai Pork is delicious. There is a hint of added spiciness with the chili garlic sauce, but the mint is cool and refreshing. 

Ingredients

1.5 – 2 lb pork tenderloin 
2 tbsp ginger paste (divided)
2 tbsp garlic paste (divided)
1/2 of 1 small onion (diced)
1 tsp chili garlic sauce 
1 handful fresh mint (chopped)
1/4 cup lime juice 
3 tbsp fish sauce 
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp soy sauce 
1-1/2 cups chicken stock

Directions
1. Place pork in a gallon size zip lock bag along with 1 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp garlic paste, 1 tbsp ginger paste, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper.  Massage the seasoning into the meat to ensure the entire piece of pork is seasoned.  Zip up bag and refrigerate.  Marinate pork for 1 hour. 
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
3. Meanwhile make Lime Mint Sauce. Caramelize 1/2 onion in 1 tbsp of oil in a sautee pan over medium heat.  Once onions have caramelized add 1 tsp chili garlic sauce.  Pour in 1/4 cup lime juice and stir.  Once combined, add 1 tbsp garlic paste 1 tbsp ginger paste, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp honey, and 3 tbsp fish sauce.The sauce will be thick, that’s ok.  Add 1-1/2 cups of chicken stock to the pan. 
4. . Cook sauce for 1-2 minutes.  Add 1 handful of chopped mint to the pan.  Mix the mint into the sauce and remove from heat. 
5. Rinse and dry the sautee pan and put the pan back on the stove.
6. Over medium – high heat, add 1 tbsp oil to the pan. Sear the pork tenderloin on all sides. 
7. Remove pork from the sautee pan, and place pork into an oven safe pan. 
8. Pour lime mint sauce over the pork and roast pork in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes, remove pan from oven, and cover and roast for an additional 20 minutes. 

Chicken Stir Fry 

Ingredients

2 tbsp oil
1.5 – 2 lbs chicken tenders (diced)
1 lb baby bok choy 
2 broccoli crowns, cut into florets (about 1 lb of broccoli)
1 medium onion diced medium
1 tsp salt (divided)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tbsp garlic paste
1 cup hoisin sauce

Directions

  1. Chop bok choy by trimming off the thick base (about 1/2 – 1 inch above the base).  Wash individual stalks of bok choy in cold water.  Gently rub the leaves to remove any dirt. (Dirt tends to collect towards the base of each stalk).  Bunch bok choy stalks together and slice off the white stems.  Lie the stalks flat on a cutting board, and slice.  Repeat the process with the leaves. 
  2. Prepare a large bowl of ice water set it next to the stove.
  3. Bring 1 pot of water to a rolling boil. 
  4. Add broccoli florets and cook broccoli turns bright green. They will be crisp and tender.   
  5. Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon and immediately drop them in the ice water.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large skillet heat over medium high heat. Caramelize onion. 
  7. Add 1 tbsp oil to the skillet.  Add chicken (in batches if necessary) and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from skillet.
  8. Add 1/2 tbsp garlic paste.  Stir to combine. 
  9. Add bok choy and broccoli, and cook, stirring occasionally, just until crisp tender.
  10. Pour in hoisin sauce, and stir gently to combine.
  11. Serve with brown rice fried rice.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

These chicken lettuce wraps contain ground chicken and water chestnuts cooked in a savory sauce, served in cool lettuce leaves.

Ingredients

1 tsp oil
1 small – medium onion diced
2 lbs ground chicken
1 tbsp garlic paste 
1 tbsp ginger paste 
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 (8-ounce) can diced water chestnuts
2 heads butter lettuce

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Caramelize diced onion. 
  2. Add ground chicken and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the chicken as it cooks.
  3. Stir in garlic paste, ginger paste, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar.
  4. Stir until well combined. Ensure that the ground chicken is cooked completely. 
  5. Stir in chestnuts until tender, about 1-2 minutes.
  6. To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf. 

Brown Rice Fried Rice

This brown rice fried rice may be healthier than fried rice made with white rice however, it does not skimp on flavor. This is a must try.

Ingredients

7 cups cooked brown rice (cooled)
1 large onion small diced
3 eggs beaten 
3 tbsp oil 
3 tbsp garlic paste
2 tbsp ginger paste 
1 tsp granulated garlic 
1 tsp granulated onion 
1 tsp salt divided
1/2 tsp pepper
3 tbsp soy sauce 
1 tbsp sesame oil 

Directions

  1. Heat a skillet, frying pan or wok to medium high heat.  In a hot skillet, caramelize diced onion in 1 tbsp oil (I used canola oil.) Season with 1/2 tsp salt.  Once onion has caramelized, remove diced onion from the skillet.
  2.  Pour beaten eggs into the skillet.  Allow eggs to cook on one side, and then flip to allow eggs to cook on the opposite side.  Once eggs are fully cooked remove them from the skillet.  Cut cooked eggs into small pieces and set aside. 
  3. Pour 2 tbsp oil into skillet.  Add 2 tbsp garlic paste and 1 tbsp ginger paste.  Sautee. Allow ginger and garlic paste to brown slightly. 
  4. Add 7 cups of cooked brown rice to the skillet. Carefully stir everything together. After about 2 minutes of stirring the rice, and allowing it to brown slightly, create a well in the middle of your pan.  Add 1 tbsp oil, along with 1 tbsp garlic paste, and 1 tbsp ginger paste. Continue to stir everything together.  Season rice with 1 tsp granulated garlic, 1 tsp granulated onion , 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Continue to stir everything together.
  5.  Cook rice for 5-7 minutes stirring often. Add the cooked eggs, caramelize diced onion and stir well carefully. At this point add 3 tbsp of soy sauce and finish rice with 1 tbsp sesame oil.  Mix well to distribute evenly.

**I didn’t add any vegetables to my rice, but feel free to add vegetables to yours.  If you are using frozen vegetables, defrost them and add them at the time that you add your onions to the rice. 

Asian Menu

From the time I started writing this blog, until this passed November when I posted the Step by Step Thanksgiving guide I’ve pretty much stuck to posting breakfast items, drinks and baked goods.  I’ve decided to start adding savory every day dishes to Breakfast Bakes Bubbly.  If you frequent Breakfast Bakes Bubbly, I will continue to share recipes for drinks, baked goods and breakfast items, but every so often I’ll throw in some other items also.

This week I want to share a menu with you all.  I created an Asian style menu that will allow you to cook once and eat all week.  If your anything like me, you love to cook but you don’t want to be a slave to the kitchen every day. I usually do all of my cooking for the week on Sunday. Jeremy and I will eat left overs Monday – Friday, we’ll order in on Saturday and Sunday I’m back in the kitchen. 

I normally like to cook two different things so we don’t have to eat the same dish for lunch and dinner.  For this menu I made a; Brown Rice Fried Rice, Chicken Stir Fry, Thai Pork Tenderloin with a Lime Mint Sauce, and Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  I intended for the Chicken Lettuce wraps to be for lunch, and the Chicken Stir Fry and the Pork Tenderloin with Lime Mint Sauce for lunch.  This menu is perfect for a family of 2 or 3 for about 5-6 days. 

To create this menu, the first thing I did was make the brown rice in the rice cooker, which takes about an hour.  While the rice was cooking I seasoned and marinated the pork tenderloin.  Next I chopped the onions, bok choy and the broccoli. I separated the onions so I knew what I would need for each recipe.  I cooked the ground chicken for the chicken lettuce wraps. By this time the rice was done. I opened the rice cooker to allow the rice to cool.  As the rice cooled, I made the sauce for the Thai pork, followed by putting the pork in the oven. Next I made the Chicken Stir Fry, and finally the brown rice fried rice. 

Menu

Brown Rice Fried Rice
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Chicken Stir Fry
Thai Pork with Lime Mint Sauce

Shopping List

Meat
1.5 – 2 lb pork tenderloin 
1.5 – 2 lbs chicken tenders (diced)
2 lbs ground chicken

Produce
4 medium sized onions (I like to use Vidalia Onions) 
1 tube garlic paste
1 tube ginger paste
1 handful fresh mint (chopped)
2 heads butter lettuce
1 lb baby bok choy 
2 broccoli crowns, cut into florets (about 1 lb of broccoli)

International Foods Aisle
6 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1-1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 (8-ounce) can diced water chestnuts
1 tsp chili garlic sauce 
3 tbsp fish sauce 

Seasoning
Granulated garlic 
Granulated onion 
Salt
Pepper

Other
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup lime juice 
3 eggs
Canola oil
7 cups brown rice (cooked) (about 3-4 cups uncooked brown rice)

How to Build a Gingerbread House

Last year was the first time my family hosted a gingerbread competition, and I was super excited to be as creative as I could be.  Jeremy and I brainstormed about several different ideas of what to make. We came across this website called Gingerbread House Patterns. (which I think the website is inactive now, because I tried to link it to this post, and I was unable to find them) However, they had several templates that could be purchased and downloaded.  Jeremy really wanted to try to do a Big Ben Gingerbread house, but when I saw the template, it looked quite difficult.  We wound up downloading a template to make a shoe house. Like the Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe. And let me apologize in advance, the house I made this year is very nice, but its no where nearly as creative as the one I made last year. 

While making the gingerbread house we learned so many things that I didn’t know before that I wanted to share.

Gingerbread Cookie Dough

Ingredients

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick softened butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup dark molasses
Wilton’s Meringue Powder
Confectioners Sugar – about 4 cups

Directions

  1. In a  stand mixer  cream brown sugar and butter. until  smooth.
  2. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and molasses until combined.
  3. On low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients(flour, salt, ginger, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, baking soda)  into the wet ingredients. The dough will be pretty thick.
  4. Divide cookie dough in half, flatten into discs and wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours or up to 3 days.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  
  6. Remove each disc from the refrigerator and roll out to about 1/8 inch thick on a floured surface.
  7. If you are using a template for your gingerbread house cut out the shapes.  Lightly flour the underside of the gingerbread house template shape.  Use a pizza cutter to carefully cut the dough into the gingerbread house template shapes.  Your template will tell you how many of each shape you will need.  If you are using gingerbread house cookie cutters simply press each cookie cutter into the dough.  Re-roll dough scraps to ensure you have enough dough for the whole house.  Feel free to use any extra dough to make other fun shapes to embellish your house. I made a few snowflakes, trees, and extra ginger bread men. 
  8. Carefully arrange gingerbread house shapes onto prepared baking sheets, about 3 inches apart. Use a bench scraper to straighten out edges in case some of them become misshapen when moving them onto baking sheet. 
  9. Bake larger house pieces for about 15-18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Bake smaller pieces for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Allow shapes to cool completely on a baking sheet. 
  10. I used the Wilton Meringue Powder and confectioners sugar to make Royal Icing as the “glue” for the gingerbread house. 

Wilton’s Royal Icing

3 tablespoons Meringue Powder  
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
5 tablespoons warm water

Beat all ingredients together until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).
** I had to add a little more water then this recipe suggested, to be the consistency I wanted. 

Decorating and Constructing Your House

Once my royal icing was done, I put it in piping bags to begin decorating my house pieces. I prefer to decorate all of my house pieces before they go on the house, and use the royal icing to fix anything that may have fallen off during the constructing process.  Jeremy and I used the royal icing to draw roof shingles, and bricks on the walls of my house. 

I like to have an edible base.  I make Rice Krispies treats according to package directions, and press the Rice Krispies treats into an 8×8 disposable pan.  The cookie cutter kit that I used had a base. I began by putting icing on the bottom of the base, to stick to the Rice Krispies treat.

Ice the bottom of your gingerbread base.
Stick your gingerbread base to the Rice Krispie treat.

Take a handful of Rice Krispies treat and place it on the base of your gingerbread house. Form the Rice Krispies treat to be about the same size as your base, leave about 1/4 inch lip around the base so your walls can fit on the base.  This will help the walls of your gingerbread house stay up. Royal Icing takes time to set, and harden. Last year when Jeremy and I were making the house we were trying to hold the walls ups so they wouldn’t fall in. This way with the Rice Krispies treat your house has support on the inside, and the Rice Krispies treat is sticky enough to hold the wall in place as you ice around each wall to really secure your house.

Pipe some Royal Icing onto the base of your house, on either the front side of your house or the back side of your house, to stick that wall up.

Ice the outside base for extra support.
Put icing on the inside where your Rice Krispie treat meets the wall of your house.

Continue building your house this way until you have put all of your walls up. 

For the Roof

Pipe a thick line of royal icing on the top of the house, and stick your first roof piece on.  Be sure to pipe royal icing in the seams where your roof meets the base of your house.  Repeat with second roof piece. 

Pipe royal icing inside any seams, inside and outside of the house, to fill any voids.

Another reason why I like using Rice Krispies Treats as a base is because its pretty pliable.  I can use a butter knife to pry a small opening to stick things into.  I decorated a few trees with some green sprinkles and stuck it in the Rice Krispies Treat.  I added some more Royal Icing behind the tree to give it more support. 

I finished my house by adding “snow”. I put some shredded coconut into the food processor and pulsed until I had small pieces of shredded coconut. I also put some confectioners sugar in a fine mesh strainer and sprinkled some on top of my house.

Brown Sugar Maple Pecan

Brown Sugar Maple Pecan

Ingredients
1-1/2 stick butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup pure maple syrup 
1-3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans

Maple icing
Ingredients
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup confectioners sugar
pinch of salt to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In a stand mixer cream butter with brown sugar, and granulated sugar until well combined. 
  3. Beat in egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract and maple syrup until fluffy. 
  4. Mix in dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon) until well combined. 
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  6. Using a 1 oz ice cream scoop or a cookie scoop to scoop cookie dough.
  7. Place cookie dough ball on prepared baking sheet.  Space balls of cookie dough evenly on baking sheet. 
  8. Bake for 7 minutes, and then spin the baking sheet, and bake for another 6 or 7 minutes.
  9. Let them sit on the baking pan for 2 minutes before removing to cooling rack.
  10. Prepare maple icing. 
  11. Once cookies cool completely, dip them in drizzle them with maple icing. Let stand until glaze is set, at least 20 minutes.

Directions for Maple Icing

  1. Melt butter in a small sauce pan, and add maple syrup.
  2. Once the butter has melted remove from heat and whisk in confectioners sugar.
  3. Add a pinch of salt.
  4. Drizzle icing over cooled cookies, and allow icing to set for about an hour.