December 07, 2012

Simple Pleasures

Gingerbread candle holders
Filmmaker Casey Neistat has created numerous videos but I especially like this one that he made (below) about his 92-year-old grandmother, Louise Neistat, and her tap dancing career. A former Rockette, Louise did what she loved- teaching classes 6 days a week up in her attic and producing dance shows for her students- right up until she died. All her ticket proceeds went to cancer research.

Louise Neistat, you my dear, are this week's beauty.

Also this week I have the recipe for the gingerbread candle holders for anyone who is interested. They are so easy to make and last until the warm weather returns here in New England- when the humidity does them in. This year however I am going to try preserving them in the freezer when it arrives and see what happens:

Blend 1/3 cup of Crisco with 1 cup of brown sugar. Add in 1.5 cups of molasses (not black-strap) and then 2/3 cups of cold water. Gradually add in 6.5 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon,  and 1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg and ginger (the last cup of flour needs to be kneaded in by hand as the dough gets too thick to mix).

Allow dough to sit for 1-2 hours at room temperature.

Don't forget to cut your donut holes before baking the dough!
Next roll 1/4 of the dough out at a time on a floured surface until it is about 1/4" in thickness. If dough is too sticky knead in more flour. I cut my circles with Ateco's 12 piece cutter set, but you can probably use various sizes of glasses or other circular things you have around the house instead. For my circles I used Ateco's 3.25", 2.5", and 1.75" cutters (plus the 7/8" one to make the holes in the two smaller circles for the candle to rest in- see photo above). Be sure to make your holes a tiny bit bigger than the candle you are going to use. My favorite candles are Trader Joe's  tapered Danish ones because they are dripless and inexpensive.

Bake for about 10 minutes, on greased cookie sheets, at 350 degrees.

To glue the 3 circles together and decorate candle holders I make this Royal Icing. I make 1/4 of this recipe for starters and I don't add in the lemon extract. Put the icing in a sandwich bag and cut a very small hole in one of the corners and it works like a charm for decorating.

The above recipe makes about 24 candle holders.  I don't double the recipe as I found the dough too hard to mix and deal with in large quantities.


Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section.

Recipe by Lisa Carrino, owner of The Round House Bakery.