Friday, 27 November 2015


Dear all,

Sometimes we have to accept defeat. Failure can even lead to a liberating feeling of relief.

This year, I have been working hard: I have finished the manuscript for my new book that will be released by HarperCollins India in June 2016. The past week I have spent at the Film Bazaar in Goa, pitching my idea for a TV series to producers and directors.

The Film Bazaar is a yearly event in Goa that happens at the same time as the Film festival. It is a great opportunity to meet people from the film industry but it is also exhausting. Normally I spend my time writing in front of my screen. Meeting people and selling my ideas does not come naturally to me. However, I got to know some people interested in my humble endeavours. Let’s see, if something comes from it.

Still tired, I tried to realise a dream of mine. For years, I have been wanting to make a gingerbread house. I had done my research, cut out a template and yesterday everything went according to plan. My house seemed to hold together until it collapsed and broke. I don’t know what went wrong. Maybe my royal icing was too liquid. In the beginning, it seemed to stick. Then the gingerbread softened and broke into pieces.

There was no way I could fix it. So I tried a piece and decided that the taste is good enough for my newsletter. I cut out some cookies and decorated them with the coloured sugar pieces meant for the house. Honestly, I was quite happy I did not have to fiddle with decorating a full gingerbread house. It was so much easier just to bake some cookies.

That’s why my newsletter for the Christmas season features a recipe for gingerbread. I admit defeat and I don’t know if I will ever try my luck with a gingerbread house again. Maybe in a couple of years…

Wishing you happy cooking, always!

Kornelia Santoro with family


Gingerbread cookies
Ingredients (for three dozen cookies):
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup raw sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 100 grams butter
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
  • pinch of salt

Royal icing:
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 ½ cups icing sugar

Use the butter at room temperature. If you don’t have time to wait, 20 seconds in the microwave will do the trick. Beat the butter together with the sugar. You can do this in a food processor. I use my hand mixer for this job.
creaming butter with sugar and spices
Add the eggs and the spices and beat the mixture until you have a creamy substance. I add cacao powder to enhance the colour. Because I like gingerbread spicy, I add a lot of cinnamon and ground ginger. If your taste buds are sensitive, you might want to cut down a bit on the spices.
making dough
Work in the flour. In the beginning, I use the hand mixer and then I knead the dough by hand until it is smooth.
dough in cling film
Wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest. My recipe for the gingerbread house suggested resting it overnight. However, if you only want to make cookies, the usual half hour in the fridge should be enough.
rolling out dough between cling film
When you need to roll out dough that tends to crumble like this one, using cling film is the way to go. Place the dough between two sheets of cling film and roll it out. When it flattens, you have to lift off the cling film several times to give space to the dough.
template for gingerbread house
If you want to make a gingerbread house, you need a cardboard template like this. Use three times the amounts given above for the dough.
pieces for gingerbread house
Lift off the upper sheet of cling film. For a gingerbread house, now is the time to cut out the template pieces. Keep the piece on the cling film and turn it upside down onto a cookie sheet that has been buttered. I use a silicone sheet that works great.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the oven at 190 degrees Celsius. It should brown slightly.
making royal icing
For the royal icing, beat half of the icing sugar with the egg white. Then add the rest of the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
royal icing
When you want to make a gingerbread house, bake all the pieces of the template and then stick them together with royal icing. Use glasses or tins to prop up the pieces until the royal icing has set.
gingerbread house in the making
I thought my gingerbread house was quite stable. I removed the props and it seemed to hold. But one minute after it collapsed.
gingerbread house collapsing
First one part and then the rest.
gingerbread house collapsed
So I rolled out the rest of the dough – luckily I had some leftovers – and cut out cookies with a cookie cutter. At this point, I did not even feel like attempting to cut out a gingerbread man by hand.
gingerbread cookies
Bake the cookies and then decorate them as you wish. I stuck on the coloured sugar pieces meant for the house with a bit of royal icing.

Please tell me, if anybody of you ever managed to make a gingerbread house.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

#Empirekred - the place to be

Why I have joined Empire.Kred and its Leaders


I consider myself a professional writer. With two awards for published cookbooks and numerous publications in newspapers and magazines you could call me fairly successful.

However, my social media presence left a lot to be desired. I had plenty of friends on Facebook, but all my post never seemed to attract any attention.

Then a friend sent me the invitation to Empire Avenue, how it was called then. That was in February. Since then, my social media activity has skyrocketed.

I near the 1.000 mark on Twitter and my Facebook page. Now I know that I can get more than 10 likes for a Facebook post if I really want to.

How? Thanks to Empire.Kred and its missions. When I create a new post, I advertise it on Empire.Kred with a mission and people are drawn to my Facebook page – or wherever I invite them to go. The best: It does not cost me a penny.

A few months ago, the owners of Empire Avenue changed. Although Empire Avenue had loyal supporters, it did not create the expected revenue.

With Empire.Kred, there is hope now. The people behind the Kred imperium belong to Peoplebrowser, a fairly successful enterprise with money to spend.

At this point, I wonder, why Empire.Kred is still not making money. It is the most useful tool for social media that I have come across.

Among its members you find first class social media experts – and they are all willing to give you a hand.

I have joined Leaders, the elite community of Empire.Kred, because I loved the supportive spirit present in the Empire.

Come and join us, you will not regret it.