Tag Archives: Candy

Seuss Gingerbread House III: the Decoration

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.  Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.  Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.

-Dr. Seuss

Our idea for the Seuss house stemmed from the fact that we saw “Seussical: The Musical” the day after Christmas.  The audience was filled with kids who were cracking up at the silly costumes and dance moves, but the message underlying the whole story spoke to me, too–“a person’s a person, no matter how small”.  Seems like a good moral to base our baking extravaganza on, right?

Here’s another piece of our inspiration:

The whole family got involved in decorating (I was also making stuffed cabbage in the kitchen at the same time…mmm that recipe comes later):

Some of Eber’s artistic elements that really made the Seuss theme come alive:

And finally, here’s the house itself:

It was dark out by the time we finished decorating, so we had quite a set-up going as we attempted to get some good photos:

Lastly, the men included a tiny set of fairy lights inside all three levels of the house (that’s why there’s an electric cord running out of the back of the house), so it could be lit up at night:

Beautiful, isn’t it?  This was an incredibly fun and adventurous three-day process, and I really suggest you try it next year!  Maybe starting out less ambitious would have been good, because we set the bar really high for future houses, but we have a few ideas…


Filed under Desserts

Peppermint and Almond Rocha

This is probably one of the best Christmas gifts you will make, taste, give, or receive this holiday season.  The toffee is perfectly buttery, with silky chocolate and either crunchy toasted almonds or cool peppermint sprinkled on top.  Not to mention it looks perfectly imperfect.

Disclaimer: it is not healthy.  But it doesn’t matter–you’re giving it away!  Plus, it’s good for your body and your spirit to indulge in a treat every once in a while.  Just don’t eat the whole batch at once.

I made this over the weekend to give to one of our favorite couples, Bre and Zev, and as soon as they opened it we all couldn’t resist a taste…of both kinds.  It’s so simple to make and even easier to pack in a cute bakery bag, and the best part is that this recipe makes enough for several gifts–with enough left for you to snack on.

The book I took the recipe from is called A Passion For Chocolate, and this is the very first time I have used it since we received it as a wedding present.  Since this one turned out so spectacularly, all of my closest friends and family can expect to be seeing some other chocolate-themed packages in their near future.

Peppermint and Almond Rocha

  • 2 C butter
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 T light-colored corn syrup
  • 1/3 C water
  • 1 3/4-2 C semi-sweet or milk chocolate pieces (you could also use dark or white chocolate–try anything!)
  • 1 C toppings–I used 1/2 C crushed candy canes and 1/2 C chopped toasted almonds

Line a baking sheet with foil, covering the edges.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in sugar, corn syrup and water, and cook over medium-high heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan (I used a digital meat thermometer) and stir frequently, until the temperature reaches 290 degrees.  Be careful–it’s hot!  This is the soft-crack stage for the toffee, and should take about 15-20 minutes.

Pour the toffee onto the baking sheet, and spread evenly.  Cool for about five minutes until the top is set, then sprinkle with chocolate pieces.  After a minute they should be warm enough to spread over the top.  Sprinkle with toppings and press into chocolate.

Everything you own will be covered in toffee–eat what you can, then soak the rest in warm water.  It’ll come off easily.

Here’s another view of the process:


Cool the whole thing for several hours, or until it is fully set.  Break into pieces (the less perfect, the better!), and put into bakery bags or boxes, wrap ’em up, and give it all away!  You will never be more popular!

Don’t forget to save some for your husband, or he may never forgive you.

I’m off to study for tomorrow’s test, but I’m curious–what kind of baking do you like to give away for the holidays?

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Filed under Desserts