Scenes from a Gingerbread House Decorating Event + Secrets to Building a Gingerbread House that Won't Collapse


two sweet ladies with decorated gingerbread houses
(First off, how cute are these ladies?!?)
Last weekend, I hosted a little gingerbread house decorating event for a school that I love, Frassati Catholic High School, in north Houston.

I've made very few gingerbread houses in my life, so what I brought to the table was not experience, but literally icing and lots and lots and lots of candy. Oh, and I brought the houses.

Here are a few secrets to building a gingerbread house that won't collapse. (I know this heartbreak first-hand as one collapsed on me a few weeks ago.)

Glazed Cranberry Almond Bars

Glazed Cranberry Almond Bars |
While I typically choose chocolate over any other flavor, I'm not so sure why. There's something about tangy and sweet, like these cranberry almond bars that makes me swoon.

Glazed Cranberry Almond Bars |
These bars are not cookie bars, but more like cake. Soft and pillowy, they have a punch of tart cranberry complimented perfectly by a sweet almond cake. They are divine and a huge hit for the holidays!

Glazed Cranberry Almond Bars |
Hello, beautiful!

Creative Ways to Use Applesauce

Creative Ways to Use Applesauce | for The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends
A few weeks ago, I shared a recipe for homemade Instant Pot applesauce. It's so yummy that I was actually eating it for dessert. (So weird, I know.) Well, straight up is not the only way to enjoy that delicious sauce!

Over on The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends, I'm sharing 6 creative ways to use applesauce.

Creative Ways to Use Applesauce | for The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends
Y'all. Have you ever included it on a cheese board? Or made apple pie ice cream sundaes? Or made applesauce cookies...not to replace fat in a recipe, but where the applesauce shines?

Creative Ways to Use Applesauce | for The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends
Come read all about those ideas and recipes (and more) over on Food & Friends today! 

Way Back Wednesday: December 4, 2019

This week's look back over 12 years of recipes puts us smack dab into the holiday season. Lots of Christmas spirit here!

peppermint popcorn crunch : super cute and easy recipe for the holidays
This sweet, minty treat always gets RAVE reviews. As a matter of fact, I brought this to a couple of school events when Jack was younger and the next year, one classmate of Jack's said, "tell your mom to make that popcorn again." Ha. 

How to make Christmas Tree Cookie Pops |
These are simple cookies but still some of my favorites. Pretty sure they're going to be on my "must make" list for this year, too.

chocolate peppermint blossoms |
Think peanut butter blossom but with more chocolate...and a peppermint kick. Delicious and oh so pretty! 

If you're going to an ugly Christmas sweater party, bringing these is a must. They're so easy, too!

Have you started your holiday baking yet? 

The Perfect Recipes for Decorating Christmas Cookies

The Perfect Sugar Cookie Recipe for Decorating Christmas Cookies, no chilling required, can be frozen
It's here! It's here! DECEMBER! The peak of the cookie decorating season!

I'm here to tell you FIRST and FOREMOST that your cookies will be beautiful and so well-received...whether you think you messed up or not. I promise.
REPEAT AFTER ME: I will not stress out over cookies.

There. I'm glad we had that talk. Now, I want to share some recipes with you that are all you need to make the cutest decorated sugar cookies.

The Perfect Recipes for Decorating Christmas Cookies
My perfect every time, go-to, vanilla-almond cookies are the quintessential cookie for decorating. Thick, cake-like, no chilling required. The dough can be frozen, the baked cookies can be frozen, the (royal icing) decorated cookies can be frozen. BOOM. Here's the recipe.

My go-to royal icing is all you need for decorating. Read the post with the recipe tons of tips and lots of Q and A from Bake at 350 readers.

Vanilla Bean Cut-Out Cookies : no-chill, no spread sugar cookie recipe for decorating
Let's say you want to think out of the box and do a flavored cookie this year. Here are some of my favorite options:

  1. Gingerbread Cookies (duh!)
  2. Cinnamon Sugar Cut-Outs
  3. Nutella Cut-Outs (oh, try not to eat this straight from the bowl!)
  4. Butter Pecan Cut-Outs
  5. Vanilla Bean Cut-Outs 
The Perfect Recipes for Decorating Christmas Cookies, from Bake at 350 |

The Perfect Recipes for Decorating Christmas Cookies, from Bake at 350 |
Do you have any questions about cookie decorating? Post them in the comments or reach out on Instagram! Happy baking!