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Gingerbread Country Church

 Gingerbread Country Church
This gingerbread house is a fun and tasty Christmas craft the whole family will enjoy putting together! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
1 ServingsPrep: 5 hours + chilling Bake: 15 min./batch + cooling

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups molasses
  • 4 eggs
  • 10 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup crushed Jolly Rancher hard candies
  • Black shoestring licorice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons water
  • Red paste food coloring
  • New paintbrush
  • ROYAL ICING:
  • 1 package (2 pounds) confectioners' sugar
  • 6 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 12 to 14 tablespoons water
  • 6 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • Cardboard cake board (at least 14-in. x 10-in.)
  • DECORATIONS:
  • Green and red paste food coloring, corn syrup, ice cream sugar cones, green sprinkles, cornflakes, Rolo candies and flaked coconut

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Gingerbread Country Church (continued)

Directions

  • To make dough: In a very large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until
  • light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and eggs. Combine the flour,
  • ginger, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves; gradually add to creamed
  • mixture and mix well. Cover and chill for 2 hours or until easy to
  • handle.
  • Trace patterns onto waxed paper; cut out. On a lightly floured
  • surface, roll dough in batches to 1/4-in. thickness. Position
  • patterns on dough and cut out. Using a sharp knife, score outlines
  • to mark door where indicated on pattern, being careful not to cut
  • all the way through dough.
  • Using a toothpick, draw lines into dough to form shingles on roof
  • pieces. To form siding, press the edge of a ruler into remaining
  • pieces except dormers and steeple. (Keep pieces covered to prevent
  • them from drying out.)
  • With a small knife and ruler, cut two 1/4-in.-wide strips for the
  • cross. Cut two 1/4-in.-wide strips for the door handles. Working
  • freehand, cut a 2-1/2-in.-wide pathway. Roll small amounts of dough
  • into balls; press onto pathway, forming stones.
  • Transfer all pieces to parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at
  • 350° for 12-15 minutes or until browned. Cut out doors
  • completely. Cool gingerbread on pans for 2 minutes before carefully
  • removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Return the front and side pieces of church to parchment paper-lined
  • baking sheets. Spoon crushed candies into window cutouts. Bake at
  • 400° for 3-4 minutes or until candy is melted. Working quickly,
  • carefully press licorice pieces into windows, creating a leaded
  • glass effect. Cool completely on baking sheets.
  • Tint water with desired amount of red food coloring. Using
  • paintbrush, paint mixture over the roof, steeple and dormer pieces;
  • blot gently with paper towels and let dry.
  • To make icing: In a very large bowl, combine confectioners' sugar
  • and meringue powder. Add water; beat on low speed just until
  • combined. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
  • Transfer 2 cups icing to another bowl; beat in cinnamon until
  • blended. Keep icing covered at all times with a damp cloth.
  • To assemble church: Pipe cinnamon icing along base and one side of
  • front of church and the adjoining side wall. Place walls at right
  • angles to each other on cake board; prop with small cans. Pipe icing
  • along inside and outside edges for added stability. Repeat with
  • second side wall and back of church. Let dry completely.
  • For steeple: Pipe cinnamon icing along one side of front of steeple

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Gingerbread Country Church (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • base 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 set. Repeat with remaining side
  • and back of steeple base. Repeat for steeple. Let dry completely.
  • Pipe cinnamon icing along top edges of steeple base; attach steeple.
  • Let dry completely.
  • To assemble roof: Pipe cinnamon icing along top edges of church
  • walls. Position roof pieces so there is equal 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 onto edges
  • of steeple and attach to roof. Join the cross pieces with icing;
  • attach to edges of roof.
  • For dormers: On a work surface, position dormer pieces at angles to
  • each other, forming seven dormers. Pipe cinnamon icing along the
  • joining edges. Let dry completely. Pipe icing onto the edges of
  • dormers and attach over windows. Hold in place until secure, about 1
  • minute.
  • Finishing touches: Tint a small amount of icing green and a small
  • amount red. Using a #14 star tip and green icing, pipe wreaths on
  • the doors. Using a #2 round tip and red icing, pipe berries on
  • wreaths. With cinnamon icing, attach handles to doors; attach doors
  • to church front.
  • For trees, heat a small amount of corn syrup in the microwave until
  • thin; brush over sugar cones. Coat with sprinkles. For shrubs, thin
  • a small amount of icing with water and tint green. Pour over
  • cornflakes; toss to coat. Spread onto waxed paper. Let stand until
  • set. Attach cornflakes to Rolo candies with icing.
  • Cover cake board with white icing. Immediately press pathway into
  • icing. Arrange trees and shrubs as desired. Place coconut in a food
  • processor; cover and process until finely chopped. Sprinkle over the
  • church, trees and ground. Yield: 1 church.