Complete your winter wonderland scene with a beautiful gingerbread house. You don't have to be an expert baker—or architect—to create this cozy cottage. Just follow the plans to make holiday magic for all to enjoy. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
- 1 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup dark molasses
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- ICING AND ASSEMBLY:
- 16 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
- 12 tablespoons meringue powder, divided
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, divided
- 1-1/2 cups warm water, divided
- 1 silver dragee
- 2 cups chocolate rock candies
- 105 mint Andes candies
- Edible glitter
- Green, blue, red, brown and black paste food coloring
- Light bulb-shaped sprinkles
- 7 ice cream sugar cones
- 5 colored nonpareils
- 70 pretzel sticks
- Cookie cutters--boy, girl and dog
- Pastry tips--round tips #3 and 7; leaf tip #67
- Pastry bags
- Foam core board (21 inches x 19 inches x 1/2 inch)
- Small cans for propping
- In a large bowl, combine shortening and water. Add brown sugar and molasses. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and spices; beat into molasses mixture until blended. Divide into three portions; chill overnight.
- Enlarge patterns by 115%. Trace the full patterns onto waxed paper; cut out. Trace the remaining (halved) patterns onto waxed paper as directed on the patterns; cut out.
- With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll one portion of dough to 1/8-inch thickness directly onto a lightly greased and floured baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut out two 8-1/2-inch x 5-1/2-inch rectangles for front/back house pieces. Set aside scraps.
- Roll out second portion of dough. Cut out two 8-1/2-inch x 6-inch rectangles for roof.
- Roll out third portion of dough. Position house side pattern on dough; cut out two pieces. Roll out scraps; cut dormer and chimney pieces. Using cookie cutters, cut out a gingerbread boy, girl and dog.
- Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes; place patterns over baked dough and trim. Cool on wire racks.
- To make icing: Prepare only one batch of icing at a time. For each batch, in a large bowl, combine 4 cups confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons meringue powder, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar and 6 tablespoons water. Beat on low speed for 5-10 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Place a damp cloth over bowl and cover tightly between uses.
- To assemble house: Place front of house and fronts of dormers on a waxed paper-lined flat surface. Cut a small hole in a corner of a pastry bag; insert round tip #3. Fill two-thirds full with icing. Outline doorway and frames of windows. Pipe a dot of icing on door and attach a silver dragee.
- Using round tip #7, pipe icing along base and one side of front wall and the adjoining side wall. Place at right angles to each other on foam core board and position with front of house 9 inches from one long side of board; prop with small cans. Pipe icing along inside and outside edges for added stability. Repeat with second side section and back. Let dry completely.
- Spread one side of large chimney piece with icing. Press chocolate rock candies 1/8 inch apart onto icing. Repeat with small chimney pieces; let dry. Spread icing on back of large chimney piece; center on right side of house. Prop with cans; let stand until set.
- For dormers: Using round tip #7, pipe icing along one side of front of dormer and the adjoining side of dormer. Position at right angles to each other and place on waxed paper; pipe icing along inside and outside edge for added stability. Hold in place until secure. Repeat with second side. Repeat for second dormer. Let dry completely with front side up. Attach dormer roofs with icing; let dry completely.
- To assemble roof: On one roof piece, position one dormer 1-1/2 inches from side edge and 1-1/2 inches from bottom edge. Pipe dots of icing to mark the position of bottom dormer corners. Pipe icing onto back edges of dormer; attach to roof. Hold in place until secure, about 1 minute. Repeat with second dormer. Let dry completely.
- Using icing, attach Andes candies to roof in rows, beginning with bottom row. Slightly overlap each row until one roof piece is covered, leaving a 1-1/2-inch square section of roof around chimney uncovered. Repeat procedure with second roof piece. Cut Andes candies to fit dormer roofs; attach with icing. Let dry.
- Generously pipe icing along top edges of house walls. Position roof pieces so there is a 5/8-in. overhang in front and back. Pipe icing along the joining edges. Prop bottoms of roof pieces with cans until roof is completely dry.
- Pipe icing along edges of small chimney pieces; attach to roof and large chimney piece. Pipe icing inside chimney seams and around top of chimney. Attach Andes candies shingles around chimney, cutting to fit if necessary. Pipe icing along the joining edges of roof; press Andes candies onto icing.
- For finishing touches: Using round tip #7, pipe icing snow along roofline, on roof and around chimney and dormers; pipe icing icicles. Sprinkle with edible glitter. Tint a portion of icing with green food coloring. Using round tip #3, pipe a thin green line along front roofline of house; add light bulb sprinkles. Repeat for dormers.
- To make trees, use a serrated knife to carefully score and cut ice cream cones to desired heights. Using leaf tip #67 with green icing and beginning at bottom of ice cream cones, pipe icing in rows; sprinkle with edible glitter. Place on waxed paper to harden. Pipe wreath on door. Using leaf tip #67, pipe snow onto trees; sprinkle snow with edible glitter. Set aside.
- Tint a small amount of icing blue, red, brown and black. Decorate wreath, gingerbread people and dog as desired with colored icing; add nonpareils for eyes. Let dry.
- For path, using round tip #7 and beginning at door, pipe an 8-inch x 2-1/2-inch icing rectangle. Press chocolate rock candies 1/8 inch apart onto pathway. Working in small sections, frost board with icing and sprinkle with edible glitter. Add trees and gingerbread family to landscape, leaving room around perimeter for fence.
- To make fence, arrange two pretzel fence posts on a waxed paper-lined flat surface. Using round tip #3, pipe a dab of icing on pretzel fence posts and attach two horizontal pretzels. Repeat, forming two fences with two sections each for front yard and one fence with seven sections for back yard. For sides of yard, make two fences with six sections each, but eliminating the end fence posts. Let dry completely. Position back fence piece on board; attach with icing. Prop with cans until completely dry. Attach one side and front fence; prop and let dry. Repeat on other side. Pipe snow on fence; sprinkle with edible glitter. Yield: 1 gingerbread house.
Originally published as Cape Cod Gingerbread Cottage in Taste of Home Christmas Country Style 2006 Annual 2006, p84
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