Constructing a gingerbread cottage will become a tradition for your family during the holiday season with this easy recipe and instructions.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1-3/4 cups packed brown sugar
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 6 eggs
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and allspice
- ROYAL ICING AND DECORATIONS:
- 2 pounds confectioners' sugar
- 6 tablespoons meringue powder
- 3/4 cup warm water
- Green and red gel food coloring
- 1 wooden skewer (6 inches long)
- Pastry tipsstar tips #14 and 20, round tip #4 and leaf tip # 352
- 5 pieces red rope licorice, divided
- Red nonpareils, red milk chocolate M&M's, edible glitter and light bulb-shaped sprinkles
- 4 cups Crispix
- New small paintbrush
- 19 large marshmallows
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups crisp rice cereal
- Additional confectioners' sugar
- 9 miniature candy canes, divided
- 1 piece red Fruit by the Foot fruit roll (1-3/4 inches)
- Red, green and purple tiny-size Chiclets gum
- Granulated sugar and coarse sugar
- Minty Snowmen
- To make dough: In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking soda and spices; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Chill for 1 hour.
- Trace patterns onto waxed paper; cut out. On a parchment-paper lined baking sheet, roll out dough to a 1/4-in. thickness. With a sharp knife, cut out chimney pieces, house front and back. On house front, completely cut out door and window; reserve door piece. After baking, trim 1/4 in. from bottom of door piece.
- Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until set. Immediately place patterns on cutouts and cut around edges to trim excess. Cool on pans for 2 minutes before carefully removing to wire racks to cool completely.
- Cut out two house sides, about 5-7/16-in. long x 5-6/16-in. high. Reroll scraps; cut out two roof pieces, about 7-7/16-in. long x 7-13/16-in. high. Bake and cool as directed.
- To make icing: In a large bowl, combine confectioners' sugar and meringue powder. Add warm water; beat on low speed for 1 minute. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Tint 1 cup green; cover and set aside. Leave remaining icing white.
- To decorate house pieces: Place front of house front-side down on a waxed paper-lined work surface. For front window panes, cut skewer into one 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 in. piece and one 2-3/4 in. piece. With icing, attach skewers; let dry completely.
- Place house sides and back on a waxed paper-lined work surface. Place house front with front side up. Using #14 pastry tip, pipe shell border around edges of house pieces. Add shell border on front of house and around door opening. With tip #4; pipe snowflakes and dots on front of house. Pipe side windows and front window panes over skewers.
- For front shutters, cut two 2-1/2-in. pieces of licorice; attach. Cut four pieces of licorice for side shutters; attach and let dry.
- Thin 1/4 cup icing with water and tint red; spread over door. Let dry completely. With white icing, pipe around door; add a window if desired and let dry. With tip #352 and reserved green icing, pipe green boughs above windows and door; add red nonpareils. Set aside remaining green icing for trees.
- To assemble house: Pipe icing along edges of house sides. Position at right angles to front of house. Press into place; prop with small cans. Pipe icing along inside edges for added stability. Repeat with back; let dry.
- To assemble chimney: Pipe icing along one side of front chimney piece and one adjoining side chimney piece. 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 remaining side and back pieces. Let dry completely. Spread icing over chimney; add M&M's.
- To assemble roof: Pipe white icing along top edges of house walls. Position one roof piece; prop with cans. Repeat. Let dry completely. Frost roof pieces; attach chimney and Crispix shingles. Using tip #4, pipe snow on roof and around chimney opening. With a paintbrush, lightly brush Crispix with water; sprinkle with edible glitter.
- To decorate: Using tip #20, pipe a rope border along edge of roof; attach light bulb sprinkles. Pipe rope borders where the roof meets the house and where walls join at each corner.
- For finishing touches: In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine marshmallows and butter; heat until melted. Add crisp rice cereal. Form into tree shapes. With tip #352, pipe reserved green icing on trees. Sprinkle with edible glitter; decorate with light-bulb sprinkles and confectioners' sugar if desired.
- For bench, cut licorice into five 2-1/2-in. pieces. Cut curved ends from five candy canes, forming C-shaped pieces; set aside three curved pieces for fence and one straight piece for sled. With icing, attach one C-shaped piece to bottom of one whole candy cane (crook facing right), forming one side of bench frame. Repeat; let dry. Attach licorice pieces to bench frame pieces; prop and let dry. Add icing rivets.
- For sled, position reserved straight piece between two whole candy canes to form a sled; attach with icing. Attach Fruit by the Foot; let dry.
- For path, draw path pattern of your choice on waxed paper. Coat with icing; attach Chiclets and let dry.
- On a large covered board or tray, place the house and path. Add granulated sugar snow drifts; sprinkle with coarse sugar. Arrange the trees, bench, sled and Minty Snowmen around house. Insert reserved candy cane pieces into sugar for fence. Yield: 1 gingerbread cottage.
Originally published as Winter Wonderland Gingerbread Cottage in Holiday Gifts & Crafts 2009 2009, p66
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