12/22/08

Yuletide Greetings!




Are you guys ready to welcome jolly old Saint Nick with open arms for breaking into your house, raiding your cookie jar, and delivering every present on your list?

Yeah, me too. My heart is thumpin' with anticip . . . ation!

I've been baking goodies all month long, in the hopes that my relentless kissing-up will get me back on Santa's Short, but Nice List , and I've got a few more days to go.

Jeepers. I'm almost willing to bet my little scheme will guarantee a nice present under the tree with my name on it. However, if said plan fails, we're all going out the old fashioned way, guns a blazin'!

Of course, I'm kidding. You don't really think I'd heckle the dude in the red suit, and certainly not three short days before Christmas. Besides, I know I can count on my friends' awesome power of intercession, to bail me out. Be you the friends who will vouch for me? Well, be ya?


In the meantime, I'm hoping this will help clear my name...



Everything you see pictured above is gingerbread. I know it's late to post the instructions for this colossal cookie, but it's actually pretty basic, achieved with mostly straight cuts for the rustic sign, ribbons and bow.
The pine boughs and pine cones were rolled into 2½" long sticks, and the pine cones were rolled into slightly-elongated oval shapes. They were all baked, and cooled completely before piping the needles and petals with royal icing, using #4 tip for needles, and #102 for petals.

I used white royal icing for all the "greenery" and once they were completely set, they were airbrushed in the appropriate colors. You could also paint them, following the instructions here.
Once fully dried, the pine cones were lightly dusted with gold petal dust to give them some depth.

The bow consisted of two pieces, each about 4½" long. Each piece was wrapped around (greased and floured) cannoli tubes, and baked. Allowed to cool at least 15 minutes before sliding off the molds.

Here's the recipe for the gingerbread I use. This is an old recipe, which is pretty tasty and also pretty strong, and it's the only one I use for gingerbread houses and even the choo-choo train on the right. I've also used it for making Christmas tree decorations. You hear that Santa baby? I be good.



Gingerbread



1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
4½ cups AP flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon baking soda


Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, molasses and salt, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Set mixture aside to cool.
Sift dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in cooled molasses mixture and blend well. Dough will be stiff. Knead lightly until it just comes together.
Press dough into a thick flat disc. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll  out dough onto a lightly-floured surface to a ¼" thickness. Bake gingerbread on parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool cookies for several minutes, or until they're firm enough to lift. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.


Peace and Joy to you, my friends.

29 comments:

  1. Those Santa ornaments are adorable! The gingerbread cookie looks delish!

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  2. amazing! I love the ornaments!

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  3. Always in awe of your talent, dear one! (Your cookie recipe is similar to mine that never gets past cute gingerbread men or angels). Trust me, I can't imagine Santa not having a special place in his heart for you, as I do. Christmas Blessings, dear new-found friend, and a Happy New Year!

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  4. the gingerbread looks fabulous and the workmanship is world class ;p Happy Holidays my dear friend ^o^

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  5. YOU PIPED THE NEEDLES? OMG, you have too much patience. I'm sending my kids over to your house to live right this minute, Sol! Be careful of the younger one, she has that eye ball rolling thing going on :)

    Awesome as usual! Wishin' you the Merriest of Merries and the Happiest Happies! Merry Christmas, Sol to you and your family :)

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  6. I would love to see you in action Sol...oh my god.I'm gonna copy that recipe, NOT to make a pine bough you can be sure!, but to try some gingerbread teapots for January.

    Have a wonderful holiday and if Santa doesn't want your goodies, I'll take em! ;-)

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  7. Very beautiful, Sol, as always. I'm sure your handsome Santa will treat you good!

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  8. Sol, What a treat to come visit your blog and see such masterpieces. Love your Santa ornaments, and your Believe plaque is incredible!

    I hope Santa is very good to you!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. ((hugs))~m.

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  9. Mon Dieu:)

    Says she in exclamation mode..
    It's all so humbly beautiful.
    Thank goodness I have a "SOL" folder in My Pictures.
    When I tell Lulu I love him..he says " I believe you"
    I immediately thought of that although I have seen the Polar Express etc.. and know it's not about Lulu..It's about Believing..in the magic of it all.
    And the reason for the season:)

    Bonne Année aussi ainsi qu'un très Joyeux Noël~

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  10. oh i believe, i believe you are a genius and santa is going to gift you well! so beautiful sol, thats my idea of perfection... doen't get any better then this...

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  11. Maris and Melissa, that funny little ornament also makes me smile.

    Joey, I have to admit your comment made me spring a leak. It brought to mind Clarence's comment to George Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life:

    "No man is a failure who has friends."

    Thank you my dear friend.
    Hey, did I just hear a bell ring?


    Oh Carol, I'm not known for being patient, and I could've done the pine needles in half the time, had I used my #233 decorating tip, which is meant for piping grass and fur. But the simple round tip I used, was precisely what I chose, Why?
    Well, piping one needle at a time feels sort of like doing needlepoint. It's crazy slow, but so very therapeutic.

    And feel free to send all the kids over, Thumper and I would love it.
    In regards to the eye-roller, don't forget, I also have an eye-rolling kid, so I'm completely and totally immuned :-)


    M, you're sweet. I can't wait to see those GB teapots. I once decorated our Christmas tree with gingerbread cookies, all iced in white. And it was very pretty, in a Martha Stewart sort of way.[G]


    Annie, I'll take your word for it. And thank you dear heart!

    Mari, I'm sorry to report some of my masterpieces are in pieces.
    I dropped a little tray of them, but I still think I have enough left to satisfy Santa and his reindeer. Hugs right back at you!


    Monique, je suis rouge. Messy bird coop :-)
    You know, I think I've seen The Polar Express 17 times, this year. But I've enjoyed it each and every time.
    And I love little Lulu's reply. Could you please put me down for a hug?
    Joyeux Noël!


    Jain, I heart you so!

    Thank y'all, and Merry Christmas!

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  12. Marisol, your posts are always a treat. Joyeux Noel et bonnes fetes de fin d'annee! Best wishes for a sweet holiday season...

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  13. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you!

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  14. Peace and joy to you too, for the coming new year! That's gingerbread? WOW! :) I think the gingerbread presentation alone definitely put you on Santa's short list for many years to come ;).

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  15. Merci mon ami Alexa! Notice my French is limited to exactly three words.

    Thank you Y and Sophie! We kept the gingerbread pretty simple this year. The sign was Thumper's idea, the pinecones and greenery were mine. Collaboration is key, I always say ;-)

    Thank you all for the lurve.

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  16. Ooohhh, so pretty!

    Best wishes for the New Year! Have a great time with your family and friends!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  17. Marysol, that is beautiful!
    I always wanted make gingerbread house from scratch! I think I will do it next year with your recipe for the dough. Cookies I made are very similar to ginger bread but they are not so gingery and they supposed to stay soft... I'm testing one left over cookie and even now after 5 days is still soft :)
    Happy New Year!
    Margot

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  18. That gingerbread looks good! Have a great new years!

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  19. That is so cool, especially the pine cones!
    Happy New Year to you, and looking forward to reading your blog in 09!!

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  20. Glad to see you posting in such wonderful form, Marysol! Happy New Year!

    You know you've been such an inspiration at CF and GBs - I hope you don't mind - I've 'tagged' you on my blog ;) Jain tagged me - gotcha.

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  21. Jessica, I just peeked at your adorable GB station; too cute for words!

    Thank you Kevin!

    Nic, the dough for the pinecones had to be rolled so thick that biting into one would've prompted a trip to the dentist. So that's all that remains of the sign.

    Susan! It's good to "see" you; with a skip and a hop I'll be checking out your blog.
    Well, I'll be darned, I'm a poet!

    Thank you kindly everyone. May you all have a safe and wonderful New Year!

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  22. That's amazing! I love it. What an artist you are. Best wishes for a happy New Year!

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  23. Thank you Lynn. Happy New Year to you!

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  24. I just have one question..:)
    Why can't you post every day?:)

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  25. M, one of my New Year's resolutions was to find the time to post more often, but I'm not starting out very well, am I.
    Forgive.

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  26. Merry Christmas Marysol...
    I've discovered you through Monique...(my sweet friend).
    I knew instantly if she loved your blog I would follow!
    Looking forward to getting to know you and your blog this new year...
    xoxo~Kathy @
    Sweet Up-North Mornings...

    Merry Christmas to you and yours...

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  27. That is beautiful! I hope to try the recipe now.

    Thank you for sharing- I came from La Table de Nana's blog.

    Carolyn

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  28. Thank you Kathy and Carolyn very kindly. And welcome!

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