We show just one way to decorate this cute little gingerbread house. Prepare several batches of dough (one batch at a time) and decorate a number of houses in different ways to create a gingerbread village. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Mini Gingerbread House Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup molasses
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 cups all-purpose flour
ICING AND ASSEMBLY:
2 egg whites
2-2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pastry tip-round #5
Covered board (12 inches x 7 inches)
2 Pirouette cookies
42 Tootsie Roll Midgees
16 snowflake-shaped sprinkles
3 each vanilla and chocolate chewy pudding snack bites
9 miniature semisweet chocolate nonpareils
1 milk chocolate candy bar (1.55 ounces)
6 ice cream sugar cones
Using parchment or waxed paper, make gingerbread house pattern pieces according to this diagram; set aside. In a heavy saucepan, cook and stir the shortening, brown sugar, corn syrup and molasses over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat; stir in ginger and cinnamon. Stir in flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough can be formed into a ball. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough directly onto a greased baking sheet to 1/4-in. thickness.
Position patterns on dough; cut out. Remove dough scraps; cover and save to reroll if necessary. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes or until gingerbread springs back when lightly touched. Immediately place patterns over gingerbread; cut around edges to trim. Cool on baking sheet for 3-4 minutes or until gingerbread begins to harden. Carefully remove to a wire rack; cool.
For icing and assembly: In a large bowl, beat the egg whites, confectioners' sugar and cream of tartar on low speed for 1 minute. Beat on high for 6-8 minutes or until stiff.
Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert pastry tip. Place some icing in bag. Pipe icing along base and sides of front wall and one side wall. Position at right angles to each other and place on covered board; prop with small bottles or jars. Repeat with second side section and back. Let dry; remove bottles. For side supports, carefully cut Pirouette cookies widthwise in half. Pipe icing along one side of each; position at the corners of the house.
For roof: Pipe icing along peak of roof. Position roof pieces; let dry. For roof tiles, cut Tootsie Rolls widthwise in half. Flatten with a rolling pin; cut each flattened piece in half. Pipe an icing line 1/2 in. from bottom of one side of roof. Curve Tootsie Roll pieces around your finger or a wooden spoon handle and press along icing; repeat until one horizontal row is finished. Repeat six times, slightly overlapping each row until one roof piece is covered.
Repeat on other side. Pipe a thick line of icing along top, front and back roof seams. Using the same technique, place a row of Tootsie Roll pieces at a right angle to direction of roof tiles along the top, front and back seams; let dry. Pipe a few thick clusters of icing onto roof tiles to resemble snow. Sprinkle with edible glitter.
For finishing touches: In a bead pattern, pipe icing around front door. Pipe 1-in. squares on both sides of door and on each side of house for windows. Pipe windowpanes. Decorate the corners with snowflake-shaped sprinkles.
For wreath over door, attach pudding bites and nonpareils to front of house using icing. On covered board, spread icing into a 1-in. curved strip from the front door to the edge of the board for path. Cut candy bar into small rectangles; press side by side into icing. Let dry.
Using scissors, cut sugar cones to varying heights. If desired, pipe a thick circle of icing around open end of each cone to help hold in place. Position cones around house.
Editor's Note: Icing is for decorative purposes only because it is made with uncooked egg whites. Edible glitter can be ordered by mail from Wilton Industries, Inc. Call 1-800/794-5866 or visit their Web site, www.wilton.com.