This festive display is a delightful change from the tradition gingerbread house. It features a jolly Santa and his adorable workshop.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Total TimePrep: 3 hours Bake: 20 min.
- 1 cup shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup molasses
- 2 large eggs
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- Cookie cutters--3-inch reindeer and 4-inch Santa
- ICING AND ASSEMBLY:
- 8 large egg whites
- 12 cups confectioners' sugar
- Red, green and black paste food coloring
- 1 yellow Fruit Roll-Up
- Pastry tips--star tips #25 and #9027, round tip #2 and leaf tip #67
- 2 packages (.5 ounce each) miniature Chiclets
- 12 Cracklin' Oat Bran squares
- 32 dark chocolate thin mints
- Covered display base (22x16 inches)
- 13 pieces red rope licorice (four 5 inches, one 8 inches and eight 2 inches)
- 2 starlight mints
- 1 stick red Fruit Stripe gum
- 1 piece red shoestring licorice (9 inches)
- 5 leaf-shaped spearmint gumdrops
- 2 sugar ice cream cones
- In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and eggs. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture. Divide dough into eighths. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours or until easy to handle.
- With lightly floured rolling pin, roll out one portion of dough directly onto a greased baking sheet to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut into a 7x5-in. rectangle for side piece. Remove scraps; repeat. Roll a second portion into an 8-1/2x5-1/2-in. rectangle for roof piece; repeat.
- Roll out two portions of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Position shop pattern on dough. With a sharp knife, cut out one shop front. Repeat for shop back. Remove scraps. On shop front, score door and window outlines.
- Bake at 350° for 10-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes; while warm, place pattern over baked dough and recut. Cool on wire racks.
- Roll out scraps; cut out two reindeer and one Santa. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool on wire racks. Use the remaining dough for cutout cookies.
- To make icing: Prepare three batches, one at a time. In a large bowl, beat two egg whites until frothy. Gradually add 3 cups confectioners' sugar; beat on medium speed for 4-7 minutes or until icing forms peaks. Cover icing between uses. Prepare fourth batch of icing; tint a fourth red, a fourth green and 1/4 cup black.
- To decorate front: Place shop front on waxed paper. Cut Fruit Roll-up into a 3x2-1/2-in. rectangle and a 1-1/4-in. square. Spread with white icing; position rectangle over shop front window and square over door window. Insert #25 top into pastry bag; fill two-thirds full with white icing.
- Pipe small stars around door and windows. With #2 tip, pipe windowpanes. On large window, pipe triangle of icing in bottom corner of each pane. Attach red Chiclet with icing for doorknob.
- For wreath, trace 2-in. circle below roof peak. Pipe 1-in.-wide strip of white icing around inside edge of circle. Place green and red Nerds on icing for wreath.
- Using green icing and #2 tip, pipe a thin line on sides and top of large window; attach Chiclets for lights. Let dry.
- For side windows: For each window, form a rectangle with six cereal squares on waxed paper; pipe between squares with white icing. Let dry. Attach to sides of house with white icing. Pipe a thin line of green icing along top and sides of windows; attach Chiclets for lights. Let dry.
- For roof:Spread a thin layer of white icing over the roof pieces. Cut two mint wafers in half diagonally; place the cut edges against bottom edge of roof. Continue placing wafers on the diagonal, cutting as needed at edges; pipe white icing between for mortar. Let dry.
- To assemble: Pipe icing along base and sides of front section and one side section. Position at right angles to each other and place on display board. Press firmly into place; prop with small cans. Pipe icing along inside edge for added stability. Repeat with second side section and back. Pipe icing along each outside corner; press 5-in. licorice pieces into each corner. Let dry.
- Pipe icing along top edge of shop. Position one roof piece; repeat. Pipe icing along top edge between roof pieces; press 8-in. licorice into icing. Place a starlight mint at front and back roof peaks. Using #9027 tip, pipe stars along front and side edges of roof for snow. Add lights with green icing and Chiclets.
- To decorate Santa: Frost Santa with red, white and black icing. For skis, cut gum in half lengthwise, tapering ends. Position in an "X" shape; pipe icing between skis, holding until stable. Attach red Chiclets on skis with icing; let dry.
- To decorate reindeer: Frost reindeer with white, red, black and green icing; let dry. Attach with icing to roof, holding until secure. With red icing, attach shoestring licorice from one collar to the other.
- Finishing touches: For bushes, pipe thin lines of green icing on gumdrops; decorate with Chiclets. For trees, use #67 tip with green icing; beginning at bottom of ice cream cones, pipe frosting in rows. Add Chiclet lights. Place on waxed paper to harden.
- Working in small sections, frost base with icing for snow. For path, place 2-in. licorice pieces side by side in a curve. Position bushes, trees, Santa and skis on base an secure with icing.
Editor's Note: Icing is for decorative purposes only because on the uncooked egg whites. If gingerbread house will be eaten, substitute royal icing recipe using meringue powder. Use of coupler ring will allow you to easily change pastry tips between decorating steps.
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