Bulding blocks

Every year, I choose to start my Ramadan Specials on a sweet note, and this Ramadan is no different. However, this time, not only will we show you how to make a delicious dessert, but since we are shaking things up, we thought why not go for an edible decoration? Yes a delicious way to decorate your home and get yourself in the mood. Why not? There is nothing like decorating for the occasion, and this Ramadan-themed gingerbread lantern will add to the Ramadan feel and make your home smell of wonderful gingerbread cookies! Yum! It is only the first day, so you have all the time in the world to make these lanterns, right before the guests start flockin’ in, because once they see these on your table, they are going to be so impressed and you will shine like a star, and who doesn’t like that! Since you are at it, why not place these lanterns on your buffet, or as a centrepiece for your Ramadan table, nothing like a handmade piece of decoration 😉

Watch the video below and meet food blogger Sarah Walton (aka The Hedonista), who in this first part will show you how to make the cookies for this gingerbread lantern, and will go on to show you how to assemble the lantern together in part 2 tomorrow. While she is at it, she will also share with you a slice of her life as an expat living in Dubai.

What has expat life taught Sarah? How does she deal with a different culture? What does she take back home?…

Perhaps, these are all questions that are very relevant to expats everywhere, and today’s life in general. 

So let’s see what Sarah has to say…


Dough Ingredients
250g butter, softened
2/3 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 cup date honey (dhibs)
2 eggs, beaten
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
15-20 clear boiled sweets (lollies)

Icing ingredients
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp colouring
1-2 tbsp boiling water

Crush the candies with a mortar and pestle into coarse powder. Then Prepare your template, as shown in the video above (four sides and two pieces for the roof). Set these aside until ready to use.

Start making the dough,

Cream the butter, sugar and golden syrup with an electric beater. When light and fluffy, add the eggs gradually.

Switch to a wooden spoon, and add all dry ingredients, sifted together. As dough firms up, remove from bowl and knead a little on a floured surface.

Divide the mix into two, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180 C.Remove one piece of dough from the fridge, place between two pieces of baking paper and roll to 1/2 cm thickness. Remove top paper, place template and cut to size.. Remove excess and place with other pieces in the refrigerator.

Imprint with a design, as shown in the video above (fondant or cookie cutters work well – I have used an 8-petal flower ), and cut holes all the way through for the ‘windows’.

Bake for 8 minutes on a lined baking tray. While you are waiting, prepare your second piece.

When 8 minutes is up, remove the piece and quickly yet carefully fill the holes with a thick layer of powdered lollies, taking care to get into all corners, but not onto the surface of the gingerbread as it quickly melts and sticks. Put back in the oven for 2 minutes, or until lollies have melted. Don’t burn the gingerbread!

Repeat until all pieces of the template are complete. Set aside to harden at least overnight. Cover with a cloth once cool.

To assemble the lamp (see part two video in tomorrow’s post)

Combine icing ingredients, starting with 1 tablespoon of water, and increasing little by little if it is too dense to stir. You are aiming for a very thick paste. Colour if desired

Use a piping bag to attach sides to each other. Tie a string around the standing lamp until dry, or use household items to prop into place so the lamp doesn’t slip while it hardens. Use a knife in a cup of boiling water to smooth over rough finishing and tidy up. Feel free to adorn. Press in decorations before it dries.

Gingerbread will keep for at least two weeks, (unrefrigerated, but covered when unattended) however, after a few days will become too stale to eat. Light a candle and place it inside to display, but don’t leave it in all night – it may melt the sugar!


Are you an expat? Do you find yourself facing the same challenges, asking the same questions? How do you deal with different cultures and what to you is the most important thing to take back home from the whole experience?
Do share your thoughts and tips with us because you, like Sarah, could be helping those who are new to the whole “living away from home” experience to feel a bit easier 🙂

Ramadan Mubarak
Appreciate, Love & Giveback a little this Ramadan 🙂

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