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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
  • Total Time
    Prep: 3 hours + standing Bake: 50 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    1 barn and about 2 dozen large cookies

Ingredients

  • DOUGH:
  • 2-1/4 cups shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 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 all-purpose flour
  • ICING:
  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups shortening
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 12 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Assorted food paste colors
  • 1 package (14.4 ounces) graham crackers
  • 3 cups Golden Grahams
  • 1 thin butter ring cookie
  • Decorating sprinkles and candies
  • 1 sour candy belt
  • Sugars and edible glitter
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Thin pretzel sticks and pretzel rods
  • Sugar ice cream cones
  • 2 large marshmallows
  • 40 miniature marshmallows
  • 2 black jelly beans
  • 2 black candy coating disks
  • Chocolate river stones
  • EQUIPMENT:
  • Heavy-duty cardboard
  • Muffin tin
  • Cardboard cake board (at least 17x22 in.)
  • Serrated knife
  • Small new paintbrush
  • Pastry bags
  • Pastry tips—#10 round, #5 round and #67 leaf
  • Small cans
  • Masking tape
  • Cardboard roll from wrapping paper (about 10-in. x 22-in.)

Directions

  • To make dough: beat shortening and sugar until fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in eggs, molasses, corn syrup, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. 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 easy to handle; add more flour if needed. Cover; chill several hours or overnight.
  • Trace barn patterns onto cardboard; cut out. Cut out windows. Cut out 2 barn side walls (8-1/2x5-3/4-in.). Cut out and discard five 1x1-1/2-in. windows measuring 1 in. from the bottom and 3/4 in. from each side; allow 1/2 in. between windows.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil; spray foil with cooking spray. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll one-sixth of the dough directly on the foiled 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 quantities noted on each pattern piece; remove pattern. Remove the dough scraps; cover, refrigerate and reroll if needed.
  • Using a sharp knife, score outlines to mark the windows indicated on the pattern; do not to cut all the way through. Cut out windows where indicated.
  • Bake at 350° until edges just begin to brown, 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven; immediately replace barn patterns on cookies. Cut around edges to trim off excess cookie if necessary. Cool until firm, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough and patterns.
  • For roof of silo: Cut a 5-in. gingerbread circle. Turn a standard-size muffin tin upside down; spray bottom of 1 cup with cooking spray. Mold dough over and down cup sides and press together any cracks; trim excess. Bake at 350° until golden brown, 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes on tin. Cool completely on wire rack. If needed, trim to fit cardboard roll.
  • If desired, use remaining dough for farm animal cutouts, using patterns or your favorite cookie cutters. Bake large cookies at 350° for 12-14 minutes, smaller ones for 6-7 minutes.
  • For icing: Cream butter and shortening. Add water and vanilla; beat until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar; mix well. Keep covered with a damp cloth.
  • For barn: Test cookie pieces to make sure they fit snugly. If necessary, trim with a serrated knife.
  • Combine 4 teaspoons water and 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring. Carefully brush onto front, back and sides of barn. Dry completely overnight.
  • Insert #10 tip into pastry bag; fill two-thirds full with icing. Squeeze a wide strip of icing onto the bottom edge of back barn piece. Position on display base about 7 in. from a short edge. Prop with small cans until icing is firm, 3-4 hours.
  • Squeeze icing onto the bottom edge of 1 side piece and onto side edge of back piece. Align at a right angle as tightly as possible; prop up. Repeat with the other side. For added stability, squeeze icing along the inside edge of all pieces and corners.
  • Squeeze icing onto the bottom and side edges of the front piece; position with other assembled pieces. Prop up; let dry completely.
  • To assemble roof: From heavy-duty cardboard, cut two 10-1/2x3-1/2-in. pieces (A). Also cut two 10-1/2x2-1/2-in. pieces (B). Tape a long edge of pieces A and B together with masking tape; repeat. Tape A pieces together to form center roof peak.
  • Squeeze icing onto the upper edges of the slant of the front and back edges of the barn. Carefully place roof so peak is centered between the front and back. (There will be a 3/4-in. overhang on both.)
  • For shingles, cut graham crackers to fit. Using icing, attach in rows, beginning from bottom.
  • For silo: Coat cardboard roll with icing; press in Golden Grahams, alternating seams. Squeeze icing onto top edge of the silo; carefully press on silo roof. Squeeze icing onto lower edge of silo; stand it at the corner of the barn.
  • To decorate barn: Using a #5 tip, outline windows and doors with white icing. Tint a portion of icing green; use the #67 leaf tip to decorate a butter ring cookie to make a wreath. Add sprinkles and decorating candies. If desired, cut sour candy belt into thin strip to make a bow. Attach bow to wreath with icing; adhere wreath to barn with icing.
  • For shutters, cut graham crackers to fit window on front of barn. Pipe edges and diagonal line with white icing; dry completely. Adhere shutters with icing. For door, cut 1 graham cracker into fourths. Secure 3 pieces together horizontally with icing; pipe icing around edges of door and make an "X" in center. Let dry completely. Adhere door to barn with icing. Pipe icing onto roof; decorate with coarse sugar and edible glitter. Frost base around barn and silo. Use shredded coconut to create snow.
  • For fence: Cut pretzel rods to desired size; using rods as posts, secure 3 pretzel sticks to side with icing. Repeat until fence is desired length; for corners secure pretzel sticks at right angles. Dry until icing is firm, about 1 hour. Arrange fence around barn; adhere with icing.
  • Finishing touches: To make trees, use a serrated knife to score and cut sugar cones to desired heights. For taller trees, stack 2 cones.
  • Tint a portion of icing with green food coloring; decorate trees using #67 leaf tip. While icing is still wet, place sprinkles or candies as ornaments or lights. When dry, pipe white frosting at intervals for snow; sprinkle with white decorating sugar. When dry, attach to base with icing.
  • For markings on animals, thin a small portion of the icing with water. Tint icing as desired for each animal. Pipe on as desired.
  • To make each sheep: Break 2 pretzel sticks in half; insert into a large marshmallow for legs. Using icing, adhere mini marshmallows around large marshmallows for bodies; trim as needed. When set, secure jelly bean to body with icing. Cut black candy disk in half; trim to make ears. Attach to either side of jelly bean with icing. Pipe on icing for eyes, nose and mouth; let dry. Tint icing light pink or peach; pipe onto ears.
  • Position animals around barn; secure with icing. To make path, pipe or spread a thin layer of icing onto board; immediately press in chocolate river stones.
Nutrition Facts
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  • judyscalf
    Nov 30, 2011

    I would love to try this!

  • smbrenny
    Dec 15, 2010

    It turned out cute but the frosting never completely hardens. Use a different frosting recipe that will be stronger.