Sometimes it’s the small touches that make your events pop. And sometimes it’s not too much to do to add those small touches. I had my parents and my son and his fiance’ come over for Christmas dinner. I had already made tons of cookies for gift baskets for them so I didn’t want to have more of the same to put out for dessert. I wanted something simple since I was going to be doing the turkey with all the fixin’s but, like my Mama always says, “Presentation, presentation, presentation!”
We are all fans of Red Velvet Cake, especially with toasted pecans in the frosting. I made two 8″ rounds for the cake. I added my toasted pecans to the frosting between the two rounds but kept the outside frosting pecan-free to keep it smooth. We’re also big fans of cream cheese frosting so covering this cake in fondant wasn’t an option, plus it’s faster and easier to just frost the cake. Once the cake was iced I sprinkled it with clear decorative sugar to make it look like snow. I didn’t want to make a bunch of frosting for the black and the orange so I just bought a tube of each color. I added the eyes and the carrot nose. To make the bottom of the cake cleaner I piped a little line around the base with more frosting then pushed in some larger candy pearls I had gotten. Then I added a few candied snow flakes around the sides. I found a fun candy mold to make Christmas light bulbs so I made enough to put around the edges and my cake was finished. This is really fast and easy but “Oooo’s and Awww’s” were totally worth it. I almost felt guilty!!
So, now I wanted to make a few cookies to put around my dessert area. We had an event at my office that consisted of a Gingerbread House decorating contest. There were 4 teams and about 30 minutes to put boxed kits into houses. You can image how they came out but it was a blast!! This got me going to want to do some gingerbread house to have as another dessert option. I thought about making little mini gingerbread houses but they are too hard to really eat and enjoy. So, I decided to make just the font of the house as a cookie.
Again, just use your favorite gingerbread cookie recipe and roll out your dough. Cut the cookie to look like a house front. I took a little round cookie cutter and cut out a circle towards the top as a little window but that’s not necessary. The rest was just having fun. I used melted chocolate instead of royal icing to save drying time but either will work.
I found a pack of candied decorations that looked like an elf, snowman, Santa, etc. at Michael’s I used one for each of the cookies. The wreath around my window were some sprinkle candied decorations they had at Michael’s for the season. I piped a little melted green chocolate around the circle cut-out then placed the leaves and berries to make the wreaths. If you are using chocolate be sure you have everything laid out and ready to go since chocolate sets pretty fast.
This is something you can get the kids to do, too! Since the cookies are flat it’s easier to decorate but you can still get the fun out of decorating a gingerbread house. And don’t panic if your candied decorations break. The little elf got his head broke off when I was taking him out of the packaging. I glued him on the cookie with melted chocolate then piped a little line with white chocolate at the neck and sprinkled with mini beads. No one knew the difference (until now) and he looked really cute like that. To make your own decorations just squeeze on some green chocolate to make a tree shape and add a little white chocolate for the snow on the branches and sprinkle with a little candied beads. Black chocolate makes the door, although I think white would have looked great too, and some icicles and more candied beads and sugar crystals. All that’s left is to add a candy cane to the door and you’re ready to go!!
I added a few white chocolate covered Oreo Cookie’s and made a snowman face with black and orange chocolate to go with my gingerbread cookies. Then just put some green and red M&M’s in a bowl, added a chocolate covered Nutter Butter reindeer and some puppy chow that was a wonderful gift from our neighbors and bring on the wine and hot cider!!