The A-frame design on this pretty country chalet is easy enough for even first-timers to make. So gather the kids or grandkids and have a blast creating this fun holiday project. —Peggy Anderson, Haughton, Louisiana
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 1-1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons hot brewed coffee
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ICING AND ASSEMBLY:
- 2 egg whites
- 3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
- Hot water
- 15-inch-square display base (heavyduty cardboard or cutting board or piece of plywood, covered with foil wrapping paper or aluminum foil)
- Serrated knife or emery board
- Green, red and yellow liquid or paste food coloring
- Pastry bags or heavy-duty resealable plastic bags
- Pastry tips - #10 round, #5 round and #16 star
- 2 cans (canned goods) from pantry for propping
- Colored gumdrops
- 3 Andes mint candies, unwrapped
- Spearmint candies or green gumdrops
- Miniature pretzels twists
- Additional confectioners' sugar
- Cotton ball or batting
- In a large bowl, combine butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, molasses and corn syrup. Combine the flour, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg; gradually add to butter mixture. In a small bowl, combine coffee and baking soda; stir into the dough (dough will be stiff).
- Trace patterns onto waxed paper and cut out. Lightly coat two baking sheets with cooking spray. Divide dough in half. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough directly onto the baking sheets to 1/8-in. thickness.
- Position patterns on dough. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut out according to quantities noted on each pattern piece. Remove patterns. Remove dough scraps; cover, refrigerate and save to reroll if needed.
- Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Use remaining dough for cutout cookies (about 2 dozen).
- To make icing: In a large bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar and a few drops of hot water; beat for 12-15 minutes. If too stiff add additional hot water; if too thin, add more sugar. Place a damp cloth over bowl and cover tightly between uses.
- To assemble chalet: Test cookie pieces to make sure they fit together snugly. If necessary, file the edges carefully with a serrated knife or emery board to make them fit.
- Insert #10 round tip into pastry bag; fill two-thirds full with icing. Beginning with the chimney, pipe a wide strip of icing along the longest edge of chimney piece A. Angle and press the longest edge of chimney piece B against it; set aside.
- Ice along the two longer edges of chimney piece C. Press one edge against the shortest edge of chimney piece A. and one against the shortest edge of chimney piece B to form a triangle. Gently press all three chimney pieces together (see Fig.1). Set aside to dry completely, about 3-4 hours.
- Meanwhile, pipe icing along the two longest edges of both the front and back chalet pieces. With longest sides pointing up, position first one A-frame roof piece, then the other, at about a 45° angle between the front and back house pieces. Press pieces gently together to "miter" them. Prop with canned goods and set chalet aside to dry, 3-4 hours.
- When dry, pipe icing around bottom of chalet and position it in center of display base. Press gently into place.
- Referring to photo, center chimney on one side of chalet. Ice bottom edge of chimney piece C and press onto peak of chalet so that the chimney rises above it.
- Ice the back of the door and center it on front of chalet, as indicated on pattern. Press into place.
- To decorate chalet: Frost both sides of A-frame roof with white icing.
- Referring to pattern for window placement, use #5 round tip to outline windows on front of chalet with white icing. Using #10 round tip, pipe around door. Also outline all chimney edges and around the base of the chalet on all sides.
- Tint a small amount of icing with green food coloring. Use #16 star tip to make a wreath on the door and garlands over windows.
- Tint a small portion of icing with red food coloring. Use #5 round tip to add berries to wreath and garlands.
- Cut six thin slices from gumdrops. Frost upper third of chalet front with white icing; press gumdrop slices into icing. Using #5 round tip, pipe white icicles randomly over gumdrops.
- Tint a small portion of icing with yellow food coloring. Using #5 round tip, pipe two door hinges and a doorknob onto door.
- For sidewalk, use white icing to adhere bottom of mints to display base in front of chalet door. For bushes, ice the bottoms of the spearmint candies or green gumdrops and position them in front of the chalet.
- To make pretzel fence, use white icing to "anchor" pretzels to display base all around the chalet.
- With a dab of white icing, attach one pretzel to the roof peak above the gumdrops. Using #5 round tip, pipe icing "snow" on top of pretzel on roof.
- Tuck a wisp of cotton in the chimney for smoke. Dust confectioners' sugar "snow" on display base around chalet. Yield: 1 chalet.
Originally published as Gingerbread Chalet in Country Woman November/December 1998, p42
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