I recently saw a friend’s amazing gingerbread cookies on social media and asked if she had a tutorial on how to make them. She said she’d just learned the technique at a class by Tunde Dugantsi, whom I noticed had a video on YouTube demonstrating a similar cookie. Tunde has graciously provided Eat the Evidence readers with a unique tutorial on how to make candle holders using her gorgeous gingerbread decorating skills. This is a fabulous holiday project because you can make a batch of dough for some cookies for eating and others to act as table decorations. You can also adapt the instructions to put edible fillings in the cookies instead of candles if you like.
I’ve added Tunde’s Gingerbread Christmas Wonderland and Gingerbread Academy: Techniques of Hungarian Gingerbread on Amazon UK to my wishlist for Christmas. You can also get them at Amazon.com or via her website here. Her piped cookies are so beautiful and I want to learn more techniques on how to make them. I’m betting a lot of my readers would like that as well, so add her books to your wish list and gift list and let’s get started with Tunde’s generous guest post!
I am a Hungarian gingerbread artist living in the United States. Gingerbread is a living tradition in Hungary and many other European countries. These cookies taste wonderful for months, then dry out and can keep forever as a decoration. They are really attractive, but still easy to make. This is a great family project around the holidays. Let me show you how to make these candle holders.
First let’s prepare the cookies.
I use my yummy gingerbread recipe at http://www.thegingerbreadartist.com/2014/08/yummy-gingerbread-recipe.html. The dough has to be made the night before you want to bake them. Roll the dough quite thin, between 1/8 and ¼ inch thickness.
Cut out six bigger snowflakes (but you can do stars, or circles or any other shape that is big enough to put a candle in the middle).
Bake the 6 cookies. 3 of them will serve as the base of the candle holder. The other 3 need a hole in the middle. Cut out this hole with a circle cutter that has similar diameter to the candle (slightly bigger cutter is fine). While the cookies are still warm and soft, turn them up side down and cut the hole in the middle. If the top is on the surface when you cut, the edge will stay nice and sharp.
Then let the cookies cool completely.
For the decoration, you will need a simple royal icing, which is really easy to make. See my recipe at http://www.thegingerbreadartist.com/2014/08/royal-icing.html. The magic of the symmetric shapes is that you can draw the most simple design, repeat it a couple of times and the whole picture will look amazing. This is the reason I love snowflakes. Let’s see these three designs:
The first design is a very simple snowflake. You repeat the same thing on each tip of the snowflake. Start with a straight line, then draw branches to both sides. Only a few simple lines.
Then add a few dots wherever you see a little gap in the design.
Finally, outline the snowflake. The top part is ready.
For the bottom part, there is not much decorating to do, as only the tips of the snowflake will be visible after assembly. So draw the straight line, and one line on both sides, repeat on each tip, then outline the bottom cookie.
Let the cookies dry.
The second design might need a little practice, but the lines don’t have to look perfect for a nice finished product. Start with two curly curves starting from the middle. Then add three touching tear drops that form a fleur de lis. Add three little dots to the pattern, and repeat the whole thing six times.
For the bottom cookie, just the tear drop fleur the lis is enough.
The third design is using the same basic shapes: start with a curly curve, then add 3 curved tear drops inside and one longer one to the outside of the curve. Finish it up with a few dots. Repeat this pattern six times. For the bottom part I just do three tear drops for each tip.
When all the cookies are dry, you can start the assembly.
Use the icing to gue the parts together. Turn the top cookie upside down, add a thick circle of icing then place it on top of the bottom cookie.
Place the candle into the hole.
Fill the gap between the candle and the cookie with icing dots. It will look like a bead border and hide all imperfections.
You can also use colored candles to match your other decorations:
I hope you enjoyed this project. If you would like some more, check out my book Gingerbread Christmas Wonderland to learn 33 Christmas projects.
Or Gingerbread Academy to learn more about the secrets of Hungarian gingerbread.
Thank you Tunde for your beautiful creations and your generosity in sharing them!
Anyone who wants to take a class with Tunde in person should check out her list of upcoming classes here or use that form to request a class in your area.