The Opinionated Baker

Not all of us are made of sugar and spice

How to survive Christmas without going crazy.

with 2 comments

I can’t believe this but I’m actually quite relieved that Christmas is over. It was an awesomely happy Christmas, but the baking and the present making was really quite tiring. Whew. But then again, most of it was really my fault. This year with the whole month mostly free, I wanted to up the ante and do something awesome.

So instead of buying gifts for people who could probably afford anything they wanted… I made all my gifts. And instead of baking gingerbread men again as usual, I made little gingerbread houses for all my close friends.

Which leads me to the awesome main theme of today’s post.

The Opinionated Baker’s Guide to Surviving Christmas Baking Without Going Crazy.

1. Do your research

Get your recipe from a trusted source to ensure no failures. It’s tiring enough to bake for so many people, failed attempts will just make things worse. Better yet, use a recipe that you have at least made once and be sure that you will be able to make it in large quantities without killing yourself.

Likewise, if you’re baking gingerbread houses, get your templates ready, cut them out and flour them. I got mine from here and I shrank them by half. It also helps to read all the house assembling tutorials for ideas on decorations and assembling details. I found this tutorial pretty useful.

I used chocolate chips for the windows with royal icing piping. And mini marshmallows cut into the two for the gate and the chimney.

Use a very good royal icing recipe to hold the pieces together so that the house will not fall apart. I used a basic one, 1tsp of lemon juice to 1 large egg white and as much icing sugar as it takes to stiffen the mixture enough to pipe. I also flavored it with peppermint flavoring so that the eggy taste will not be apparent.

2. Get help

There’s no point stressing out in the kitchen alone if there are free hands about the house. Having someone to help with loading and unloading the oven when you’re rolling out dough with sticky hands helps a lot. I had my sister to help with the baking this year and it lifted a lot of the burden off me.

3. Plan your numbers

Have a list of the people you need to bake for ready. Ensure as you’re baking that you have enough men/houses to meet the numbers to prevent acute disappointment. I always try to prepare a 20% buffer amount in case some men burn in the oven or break… or I missed people out (oops).

4. Don’t be overly ambitious

If you’re not into the domestic goddess swing of things yet, don’t overestimate your ability. Plan simple basic designs to pipe onto the gingerbread men. Coloured sprinkles and chocolate buttons are cheat codes that make the cookies look awesome. My sister the first time-baker decorated those cookies on top!

5. Plan your packaging

This little detail almost broke all my plans this year. I had great difficulty packaging my houses and transporting them. In the end I built the houses on a small 8inch cake base and wrapped them in an entire roll of clear wrapping paper. This was secured with scotch tape and a ribbon. Each house also had a packet of silica gel stuck inside to ensure that it doesn’t get soft too fast. The entire packaged house was then placed a large plastic bag and fastened with an air tight fastener (the ones you can get from ikea).


On top of all the baking, I made polymer clay miniatures as gifts for my friends! It’s superbly easy to make and just takes a lot of time and patience. The figurines are mostly smaller than a fingernail.

I even made itsy bitsy gingerbread men to accompany my cards in the mail. I hope they survived the journey. ):

I made a miniature eeyore and a kiwi bird for my best friend.  Aren’t they adorable sitting in the corner of an ice-cream tub? =)

3 different types of cupcakes! Hard to decide which is the cutest.

These three cupcakes were for mel! Mel did you like them?


Written by Musingsat

December 26, 2010 at 7:53 am

Posted in Christmas, Cookies, Craft, Ginger

2 Responses

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  1. OMG Chun! The little clay figurines. PRETTY.


    January 6, 2011 at 12:42 am

  2. I ❤ CAKE too.


    January 6, 2011 at 12:42 am

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