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Gingerbread Barn

 Gingerbread Barn
We came up with the "plans" for this Christmas gingerbread barn…then "stocked" it with farmyard friends. The country-as-can-be project will add a cheerful rustic touch to your holiday decor—and it's so easy to assemble, you can start raising the roof right away! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
1 ServingsPrep: 3 hours + standing Bake: 50 min. + cooling

Ingredients

  • DOUGH:
  • 2-1/4 cups shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 8-1/2 to 9 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • Heavy-duty cardboard
  • Muffin tin
  • ICING AND ASSEMBLY:
  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups shortening
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 12 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 17-inch x 22-inch display base—heavy-duty cardboard or cutting board or piece of plywood, covered with foil wrapping or aluminum foil
  • Serrated knife or emery board
  • Red, green and black liquid or paste food coloring
  • Small new paintbrush

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Gingerbread Barn (continued)

Ingredients (continued)

  • Pastry bags or heavy-duty resealable plastic bags
  • Pastry tips—#10 round, #5 round and #67 leaf
  • Spice bottles
  • Heavy-duty cardboard
  • Masking tape
  • 1 package (9.5 ounces) Triscuit crackers
  • Cardboard roll from wrapping paper (about 10 inches long x 2-1/2 inches in diameter)
  • 2 cups oyster crackers
  • Thin butter ring cookie
  • Decorating candies and sugars
  • Thin red ribbon, optional
  • Thin pretzel sticks
  • Sugar ice cream cones
  • Spearmint candies or marshmallows
  • Black and white jelly beans

Directions

  • In a bowl, beat shortening and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs,
  • molasses, corn syrup, ginger, cinnamon and cloves until well-mixed.
  • Gradually add flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough can be formed
  • into a ball. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth
  • and not sticky, adding more flour if needed. Cover and chill several
  • hours or overnight.
  • Cut all barn patterns out of cardboard. Cut out windows and discard.
  • Referring to Fig. 1, cut out two barn side walls (8-1/2 in. x 5-3/4
  • in.). If side windows are desired, cut out and discard five 1-in. x
  • 1-1/2-in. windows measuring 1 in. from the bottom and 3/4 in. from
  • each side, allowing 1/2 in. between windows. (Note: Roof is
  • assembled from cardboard, not gingerbread.)
  • If farm animals are desired, cut out patterns provided or use your
  • favorite animal cookie cutter.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease the foil. Lay a damp
  • towel on the counter; place prepared pan on towel (to prevent
  • slipping). Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out one-sixth
  • of the dough directly onto the baking sheet into a rectangle about
  • 1/4 in. thick. Position a barn pattern on the dough. Using a sharp
  • knife or pizza cutter, cut out according to quantities noted on each
  • pattern piece; remove pattern. Remove the dough scraps; cover,
  • refrigerate and save to re-roll if needed.
  • Using a sharp knife, score outlines to mark the doors and windows

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Gingerbread Barn (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • where indicated on the pattern, being careful not to cut all the way
  • through the dough. Score vertical lines in barn to look like siding
  • if desired. Cut out windows where indicated.
  • Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until edges just begin to
  • brown. Remove from oven; immediately replace barn patterns on
  • cookies. Cut around edges to trim off excess cookie if necessary.
  • Cool 10 minutes or until pieces begin to firm. Carefully remove to a
  • wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough and
  • patterns.
  • For roof of silo, cut a 5-in. circle of gingerbread. Turn a
  • standard-size muffin tin upside down; spray the bottom of one cup
  • with cooking spray. Mold dough circle over and down the sides of the
  • cup, pressing together any cracks and trimming off excess dough.
  • Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 10
  • minutes on tin. Carefully remove to a wire rack; cool completely.
  • Use remaining dough for cutouts of farm animals and gingerbread
  • people if desired. Bake cow or people cookies at 350° for 12-14
  • minutes and dog, chicken or pig cookies for 6-7 minutes.
  • To make icing: In a large bowl, cream butter and shortening. Add
  • water and vanilla; beat until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar; mix
  • well. Place a damp paper towel over bowl and cover tightly between
  • uses.
  • To assemble frame of the barn: Test cookie pieces to make sure they
  • fit together snugly. If necessary, file carefully with a serrated
  • knife or emery board to make them fit.
  • Combine 4 teaspoons water and 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring.
  • Carefully brush onto front, back and sides of barn with a small
  • paintbrush. Let dry completely or overnight.
  • Insert #10 tip into pastry bag; fill two-thirds full with icing.
  • Beginning with the back of the barn, squeeze a wide strip of icing
  • onto the bottom edge of the back piece. Position on display base
  • about 7 in. from one short edge. Prop it upright with spice bottles
  • until icing is firm, about 3-4 hours.
  • To add barn sides and front: Squeeze icing on the lower edge of one
  • side piece and side edge of the back piece. Align pieces at a right
  • angle, making sure they are as tight as possible. Prop up with spice
  • bottles. Repeat with the other side. For added stability, squeeze
  • icing along the inside edge of all pieces and corners (see photo).
  • Squeeze icing onto the bottom and side edges of the front piece;
  • position with the other assembled pieces. Prop up with more spice

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Gingerbread Barn (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • bottles; let dry completely.
  • To assemble barn roof: From heavy-duty cardboard, cut two 10-1/2-in.
  • x 3-1/2-in. pieces A. Also cut two 10-1/2-in. x 2-1/2-in. pieces B.
  • Tape one long edge of roof pieces A and B together with masking
  • tape; repeat. Tape both A pieces together to form center roof peak.
  • Squeeze icing on the upper edges of the slant of the front and back
  • edges of the barn. Carefully place roof on the slants so that the
  • roof's peak is even with the points of the front and back. (There
  • will be an overhang of about 3/4 in. on the front and back.)
  • For roof shingles, cut Triscuits in half. Using icing, attach
  • Triscuits to cardboard roof in rows, beginning with bottom row;
  • slightly overlap each row, alternating shingle seams (see photo).
  • Repeat for other side. Cut narrow strips of crackers and attach to
  • center of roof peak.
  • To make silo: Coat cardboard roll with icing; press one side of
  • oyster crackers into icing to cover entire silo. Squeeze icing onto
  • the top edge of the silo; carefully press gingerbread silo roof onto
  • the silo. Squeeze icing onto lower edge of silo; stand it upright at
  • the corner of the barn.
  • To decorate barn: Using a #5 tip, outline windows and doors with
  • white icing. Tint a portion of the icing with green food coloring;
  • use the leaf tip to decorate a butter ring cookie to make a wreath.
  • Add decorating candies or ribbon if desired. Attach wreath to barn
  • with icing.
  • Combine 1/2 teaspoon water with a small amount of green food
  • coloring; brush onto shutters. Attach to sides of small window on
  • barn front with icing. Pipe icicles on barn and silo roofs with
  • icing. If desired, frost base around barn and silo to create snow.
  • To make barnyard fence: Overlap ends of pretzel sticks at desired
  • angles; fasten together at intersections with dabs of icing. Let dry
  • until icing is firm, about 1 hour. (If you're having difficulty
  • making the icing hold—and you're planning on using your barn
  • for show only—use white glue to adhere pretzels together.)
  • Arrange fence around barn and attach with icing.
  • Add finishing touches: To make trees, use a serrated knife to
  • carefully score and cut sugar ice cream cones to desired heights.
  • Tint a portion of icing with green food coloring; decorate trees
  • using the leaf tip. Use spearmint candies for shrubs or decorate
  • marshmallows with leaf tip. When frosting is dry, arrange as desired

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Gingerbread Barn (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • and attach to base with icing.
  • To frost markings on barnyard animals, thin a small portion of the
  • icing with water; add black food coloring. Paint markings on animals
  • as desired. Allow to dry. Position animals around the barn; secure
  • with dabs of icing.
  • To make path, cut jelly beans in half lengthwise; arrange with cut
  • side down and adhere to board with icing.
  • Yield: 1 barn and about 2 dozen large cookies.