Gingerbread Cookies

What screams the holidays more than a sugared-up cookie? I stumbled upon these cookies from my family recipe tin (see last week’s post Molasses cookies made simple and easy). I really wanted to create fun and unique Christmas holiday cookies complete with Santa’s sleigh and an abominable snowman. After quickly realizing I was not going to find these shapes easily in any store around town I realized I could just make my own cut-outs! You can use this method for any shape and size you’d like. As a bonus, this recipe comes together perfectly to create gingerbread cookies that don’t spread out in the oven.

All this takes is some Googling and scissor skills. When trying to recreate specific characters I find it best to search for your image by cartoon. For example, search for “cartoon Santa sleigh.” This way there are usually limited details in the image, but enough to capture what you need for shape, size and decoration. Once you find the image you want, print it out and cut out the shape.


Place the printed cutout guide on top of rolled-out dough. With a paring knife carefully cut-out the dough around the shape of the paper guide. Once all of your desired shapes are done use a spatula to transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I kept my dough a little on the thicker side since I wanted these to have a nice snappy bite.


Once baked-off to a perfectly crisp gingerbread, design and decorate to your heart’s content. Royal icing works perfectly to add color and artistic flare to the gingerbread. My royal icing piping skills could use some work but I find that it is very forgiving.

Tip: if you want your gingerbread to stand upright for a display or showstopper, use that same sharp paring knife to carefully cut a straight base to the cookie. I found this works best once they are baked since the edges soften as they are in the oven.

Decorating in process



  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup shortening (or unsalted butter)
  • 4 tbsp molasses
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp each: cinnamon, cloves, ginger.


If this recipe looks familiar you have a keen eye! This is the same recipe from my recent post Molasses cookies, but without the baking soda. Chill the dough and then roll it out on a floured surface. Use cookie cutters or cut your desired shape. Place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet. You don’t need to worry much how far apart to place these. Since there is no rising agent these will not spread very much.


350° for 10-12 minutes. For this display, my intention was to have all of the cookies free standing so I baked them off until they were well done but not burnt. For a softer cookie, stick to around 10 minutes!

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook & Instagram!


3 Ways to Make the Best Shortbread for the Holidays

Need a quick and easy cookie to bake for that last minute holiday get together? Look no further for how to make easy shortbread. It’s a crowd pleaser and easy on the eyes. Also there are three different variations I like to mix it up and give ‘er the old razzle dazzle. Start with the base dough and you can get creative from there. You can also play with extracts and toppings to show your personality!img_9437

Yes, make the dough! It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Cream the butter & sugar and then add in the flour. At this point let’s get our hands dirty. For real. It’s best to do this part by hand and knead the dough slightly. If it’s quite crumbly add a bit of butter until it just holds together. Chill the dough; I usually say until I’m done being patient and then roll it out and the real fun begins.

Dough texture pre-rolling out



1) Sugar Sprinkles

The first decoration (and the easiest, I might add!) is to use a cookie stamp decorating tool. Cut out the desired shape and press the stamp into the dough to reveal a gorgeous design. Then sprinkle with sugar and bake!

2) Chocolate Peppermint Crunch

Number two!  The second option is for our chocolate lovers. For this variation you simply roll out the dough and cut a simple shape. I like to keep the shape simple for this so the outside decorations can really have their moment. Bake off, and while the cookies are cooling melt some dark chocolate and smash up a candy cane. Then dunk half of the shortbread in the melted chocolate and sprinkle with peppermint pieces. It’s best to set these to cool on parchment unless you like shortbread glued to your countertop. No judgement here.

3) Holly Jolly Trees

Aaaand number three. For the third variation we circle back to the holiday classic with MORE sugar. Grab your royal icing and get busy. Surprisingly adding royal icing to the shortbread really tops off the flavor and is a lot of fun. Of course buttercream would work as well if that is your icing of choice. Here you can mix & match the cookie colors of your dreams! I went with a fun twist of the Christmas tree and make it neon and top a few with sprinkles. Cause why not?!




  • 3/4 cup butter room temperature (add more as needed to bring dough together if too crumbly)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (plus extra for topping)


Cream butter & sugar until just combined. Mix in vanilla. Stir in the flour 1 cup at a time. At this point its best to use your hands to finish incorporating the flour. Once combined, move the dough to countertop and lightly knead. Wrap in parchment paper and chill the dough. Roll out keeping the dough about 1/2 thick on floured surface. Use cookie cutters or cut your desired shape. Place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet. You don’t need to worry much how far apart to place these. Since there is no rising agent, these will not spread very much.


350° for 15-20 minutes.

Let cool, add icing, sprinkles, or chocolate and peppermint crumbles to create your favorite variation. Enjoy the best shortbread for the holidays!


Did you make any of these variations? Tag me on IG and FB!


Orange Puffs: To Choux or Not to Choux

noun,  plural choux [shooz for 1; shoo for 2] /ʃuz for 1; ʃu for 2/.

Or, “shoe” for the non-French speaking among us. Once again I stumbled upon this dandy little recipe card from my grandma’s recipe tin. Having never made choux pastry before the fact that it was named Orange Puff made it far less intimidating. My only familiarity with choux is from the Great British Baking Show (stop me there, if I get going on Mary Berry and that show all of our eyeballs will be crossed since it is amazing, cute, cozy. Ok after this you can go watch it because it’s like the best show ever). I digress. So having seen how choux was made I was I knew I was in for it.

Here’s where I really like the technicality of baking where true technique makes all the difference. This orange puff takes all of the pain-points away and makes it very user friendly! Also one of the great things is it doesn’t require many ingredients which also tricks my mind into momentarily believing this is easier than it should be.



Do simple ingredients mean simple technique? Yes and no. This is definitely a recipe you want to read over a few times before turning on the oven. Once you have all the ingredients prepped and ready you are set to carry on. This is why I sift and sort out my ingredients beforehand…or mise en place (this week is full of French vocabulary!) Before this bake I had never made a mixture to then bake in the oven, which is quite fun! Cooking the ingredients on the stove cooks the flour and also makes your arm very sore. Once the water, butter and salt are melted together you will add in the flour and stir briskly until a smooth ball forms. Then remove the pan from the stove and beat in the eggs one by one – which is very important to getting a smooth mixture. Add in the zest and you are set to drop on the pan. Here I used zest from a mandarine orange. Not because I’m that fancy, but because that’s what was in the refrigerator this week. However, I would suggest a normal orange because getting the zest off of a mini little orange is a challenge in itself.

Mise en place (​[mi zɑ̃ ˈplas]) is a French culinary phrase which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place.”

Choux Logo2


While the puffs are baking and cooling, get busy making the chocolate filling. Mmmmm hmmm it is GOOD! And simple, which are two of my favorite things. The filling is this soft, crunchy, chocolatey filling that you could honestly eat on it’s own it is so good. For this part I used a piping bag fitted with a sharp nozzle to fill the puffs. Now, this is not my favorite part because I don’t like fiddly time consuming things but it is quite worth it in the end. Or if you have less patience than me you could cut them in half and make little sandwiches. I promise I won’t tell anyone. As long as you eat them, they are delicious & make you happy that is the most important thing!

Golden-y warm mini puffs!

And of course if you have left over oranges (and if this bake maybe didn’t go as well as you had planned), you can always use them in a summer drink. Here I decided to throw them in my cucumber-lime vodka cocktail! (And yes, it made me feel better about taking on this challenge)




Orange Puffs

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 orange rind grated


Preheat oven to 450°.  Blend water, butter and salt & bring to a boil. Sift flower, salt and add to the mixture. Stir briskly with a wooden spoon until mixture leaves the pan and forms a smooth ball (about 1 minute). Remove from heat, add 1 egg at a time – beat well each time with spoon. Fold in the orange rind. Drop by small teaspoon on un-greased sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes. Remove and immediately cool.

Chocolate Cream filling

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream


Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips over hot water. Add 2 tablespoons orange juice. Remove from heat & cool. Fold in 1/3 cup finely chopped almonds. Beat 1/2 cup whipped cream until stiff. Fold into chocolate mixture.

Then eat the rest of the whipped cream by the spoonful. Just kidding! (totally not kidding it’s delicious sugar fluff I cannot resist)

I hope you try to bake and enjoy this orangey delight!