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Gingerbread Christmas Cottage

 Gingerbread Christmas Cottage
Have a magical afternoon with your family creating this sweet little cottage. It is a fun kid-made surprise to bring to Grandma's house, too! —Blanche Comiskey, Franklin, Wisconsin
1 ServingsPrep: 30 hours + standing Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling

Ingredients

  • DOUGH:
  • 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
  • 14 red spice gumdrops
  • 8 large candy canes (6 inches), divided
  • Multicolored nonpareils
  • 1 red-hot candy
  • 18 leaf-shaped spearmint gumdrops, divided
  • About 150 multicolored spice gumdrops, halved vertically
  • Edible glitter
  • 10 ice cream sugar cones

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Gingerbread Christmas Cottage (continued)

Ingredients (continued)

  • Green paste food coloring
  • 30 chocolate rock candies
  • 21 pieces candy corn in Christmas colors or green gumdrops
  • 8 miniature candy canes (about 2-1/4 inches)
  • 10 green spice gumdrops
  • 4 green rock candy suckers
  • 1 large cotton ball
  • Pastry tips—star tips #16 and #20, round tips #3 and #7, and leaf tip #67
  • Pastry bags
  • Foam core board (20 inches x 16 inches x 1/2 inch)
  • Small cans for propping

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine shortening and water. Add brown sugar and
  • molasses; mix well. Combine flour, salt, baking soda and spices;
  • beat into molasses mixture until blended. Divide into three
  • portions; chill overnight.
  • 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-in. thickness directly onto a lightly greased and floured baking
  • sheet. With a sharp knife, cut out two front/back house pieces. On
  • one piece, score window and door.
  • Roll out second portion of dough. Cut out two 8-1/2-in. x 6-in.
  • rectangles for roof.
  • Roll out third portion of dough. Position house side pattern on
  • dough; cut out two pieces. On each piece, score two window outlines.
  • Cut out one 2-3/8-in. x 1-3/8-in. rectangle for left side of chimney
  • and a 1-3/8-in. x 7/8-in. rectangle for right side of chimney. Roll
  • out scraps to cut out patterns for sides of chimney; sides and roof
  • of porch; and front, sides and roofs of dormers. Score dormer window
  • outlines.
  • Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for
  • 2 minutes; place patterns over baked dough and trim. Cut out door
  • and windows completely. (Set aside door cutout; discard window
  • cutouts.) 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

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Gingerbread Christmas Cottage (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • 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 frame of house: Place front and sides 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 star tip #16. Fill two-thirds full
  • with icing. Pipe curtains in the house and dormer windows. Outline
  • frames of windows and doorway with round tip #3.
  • For shutters, roll out 10 red gumdrops to 1/16-in. thickness; cut
  • each into a 1-1/8-in. x 3/8-in. rectangle. Roll out four red
  • gumdrops for dormer shutters; cut each into a 7/8-in. x 1/4-in.
  • rectangle. Attach house and dormer shutters with a dab of icing on
  • each side of windows.
  • Using tip #16, pipe decorative trim on the front and back rooflines
  • and peaks of the house, taking care to avoid the edges. Let dry
  • completely.
  • 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 6-1/4-in. from one narrow 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.
  • Cut 3-1/2-in. pieces from the straight end of four large candy canes
  • (set aside curved ends for another use). Pipe icing along each
  • outside corner of house with star tip #20; press straight candy cane
  • pieces into each corner. Let dry completely, about 4 hours.
  • For dormers: Insert tip #16 into pastry bag; fill two-thirds full
  • with icing. Pipe icing along one side of front of dormer and one
  • adjoining side wall. Position at right angles to each other and
  • place on waxed paper; pipe icing along inside edge for added
  • stability. Hold in place until secure. Repeat with second side.
  • Repeat for second dormer. Let dry completely with front side up.
  • To assemble roof: Generously pipe icing along top edges of house.
  • Position roof pieces so there is a 5/8-in. overhang in front and
  • back. Pipe icing along the joining edges. Prop bottom of roof pieces
  • with cans until roof is completely dry.
  • On right roof piece, position one dormer 1-1/2 in. from left side,
  • 1-1/2 in. up from the bottom and above the lower window, aligning so
  • dormer front is perpendicular to board. Pipe dots of icing to mark
  • the position of bottom dormer corners. Pipe icing onto back edges of

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Gingerbread Christmas Cottage (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • dormer; attach to roof. Hold in place until secure, about 1 minute.
  • Repeat with second dormer. Let dry completely.
  • Attach dormer roofs with icing so there is a 1/4-in. overhang in
  • front. Cut two 2-in. straight pieces from candy canes. Pipe icing
  • along top edge of dormer roofs; press straight candy cane pieces
  • into each. Let dry completely.
  • For chimney and door: Spread chimney pieces and door with icing; dip
  • into multicolored nonpareils. With tip #3, pipe a dot of icing on
  • door and attach red-hot for the handle. Let dry. Pipe icing along
  • left edge and bottom of door; position door so it is ajar.
  • Using tip #16 and icing, attach chimney pieces to plain side of roof,
  • positioning the back chimney piece 1-1/2 in. from back edge of roof
  • and working clockwise with remaining pieces. Pipe icing around top
  • of chimney and along chimney seams. Cut one 5-in. piece and one
  • 1-1/4-in. piece from the straight ends of two candy canes. Pipe
  • icing along top edge between roof pieces; press straight pieces into
  • icing.
  • For porch: Place porch roof smooth side down on a work surface. To
  • attach sides, pipe icing along the long side of each triangle and
  • position against porch roof. Invert to dry.
  • For porch support posts, cut two 2-3/4-in. straight pieces from candy
  • canes. Insert each into a leaf-shaped spearmint gumdrop; position 1
  • in. from house and 3 in. apart on each side of doorway. Secure
  • gumdrops with icing. Let dry. Attach porch roof to posts and house
  • with icing; prop with small cans and let dry.
  • To decorate roof: With tip #20, pipe two rows of icing along bottom
  • of chimney side of roof. Press five different colored halved
  • gumdrops into icing in a row; repeat until one horizontal row is
  • finished. Begin the second row with the second color from row one.
  • Repeat nine times, slightly overlapping each row until one roof
  • piece is covered with a diagonally patterned design.
  • On dormer side of roof and starting at bottom edge, repeat procedure
  • for gumdrop shingles. Attach gumdrops to the dormer and porch roofs
  • in the same pattern as roof of house. Pipe icing onto sides of porch
  • roof. Let dry.
  • For finishing touches: Using round tip #7, pipe icing icicles.
  • Sprinkle with edible glitter.
  • To make trees, use a serrated knife to carefully score and cut ice
  • cream cones to desired heights. Tint a portion of icing with green
  • food coloring. Using leaf tip #67 and beginning at bottom of ice
  • cream cones, pipe icing in rows; sprinkle with edible glitter. Place
  • on waxed paper to harden. Using tip #7, pipe snow on the trees and

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Gingerbread Christmas Cottage (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • sprinkle with edible glitter. Set aside.
  • For curved path, using tip #20 and beginning at the door, pipe icing
  • in a zigzag pattern. Press chocolate rock candies 1/8 in. apart onto
  • pathway. Position candy corn, point side up, along both sides of
  • path. Working in small sections, frost base with icing for snow and
  • sprinkle with edible glitter.
  • For each corner fence, use tip #7 and white icing to attach two
  • miniature candy canes to board. Arrange trees on base along with
  • green gumdrops, rock candy suckers and remaining leaf-shaped
  • gumdrops for bushes; secure with icing. For smoke, pull and stretch
  • the cotton ball; attach with icing to inside of chimney. Yield: 1
  • gingerbread house.