Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Our Humble Abode

Gingerbread House from scratch!

Gingerbread snowman and girl.

Slight structural issue - not up to code!

Santa looks like he had a rough night.
Indoor lighting...
Left - from a kit, right - from scratch.

We had a lot of sticky fun making our gingerbread house from scratch.  For the gingerbread, we used a recipe we found here on Simply Recipes.  As you can see, it makes dark gingerbread.  We have some dough left over for cookies.  We have been making these for years using pre-made kits.  Lots more fun to make from scratch, and it smells reallllly good!

Speaking of cookies, there has been a lot of cookie baking going on around here.

Butterballs (aka wedding cookies) - a little piece of heaven.

Soon to be Pizelles.  

My favorite breakfast - a Taralle (that's half of one) dunked in coffee.
My aunt made the Taralle this year and mailed me a box.  We make them savory.  

Growing up, cookies (lots of Italian varieties, especially) were a big part of the Christmas season.  It's in my blood to stay - so I bake a lot, and give out a lot of cookie tray gifts.  One of my top all time faves is the Cuccidati - an Italian fig cookie, with a crust like a Fig Newton, only knock your socks off good.  They are rather time intensive, so I'm not sure if they will get made this year.  My waistline will be better off if they don't get made, know what I mean?

Do you make cookies for Christmas?  What are your favorites?  I'd have to say the Cuccidati, Pizelles (with anise oil), and Butterballs are my top 3, then in a slightly different category, but on equal par in my book is a sweet and sticky pastry called Pignolata.  It is an Italian recipe passed down from my Calabrese grandmothter's family.  I'm seriously addicted to these, so I don't make too many!  I'll post a picture when and IF they get made, but for a little eye candy and recipe, here is a similar recipe.

Click for source and recipe.

Gotta tell ya, if you make these, the best part if the citrus infused honey that drips down to the bottom of the pan.....  Oh how I wish I could share with you!

I'm headed up to the studio this evening to finish a little pair of pants for a little guy (his sisters got the skirts), then start on a special request from my daughter - a short, black circle skirt.  I have the perfect fabric in the stash!

Hope you are enjoying precious time with family and friends, getting in some satisfying sewing, and just enjoying the season.  And remember to hug your loved ones tight!

See you soon,



  1. Wow, that all looks and sounds amazing. The gingerbread house is adorable. No, I've given up baking, gluten, dairy, sugar, oil, salt, etc etc etc. So, yes, I know what you mean. :)

    1. Thanks Shams, I'll join you in your efforts after Christmas/New Year holidays are over!

  2. An adorable gingerbread house! And those biscuits look lovely too.
    You are a wonderful Mum to do all these gorgeous Christmas traditions with your children :)

    1. Thank you, Carolyn! Love doing these things.

  3. Regardless of building code violations and a Santa that had a hard night(you really had me laughing), I want you to adopt me. I'll be satisfied with a just for the holidays contract ;)

    1. Rhonda, we adopt friends all the time. Come on down and bring some snow with you!

  4. Your gingerbread house is outstanding!

    1. Thank you! We are looking forward to nibbling at it, hehe...

  5. Wow what a great looking Gingerbread house! While my hubby and aren't sweet eaters, yours delicious descriptions of your past and photos could sure make for two converts! Merry Christmas!

    1. Myra, it's taken 25 years, but my hubby is getting a sweet tooth. Merry Christmas to you!

  6. Oh boy I've never made a gingerbread house but you're making me think that maybe next Christmas I might have to. I reckon the one from scratch is way better than the itty bitty store bought kit house - and it would've tasted heavenly too I bet.

    We do baking galore here too but this year I didn't do as many truffles and biscuits/cookies as normal. Instead we had cakes coming out our ears. My waistline is still growing cos we haven't finished eating it all yet LOL.


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