Baking & Desserts

Make a colourful gingerbread cottage

By: The Canadian Living Test Kitchen / Photography by Michael Kohn

Author: Canadian Living

Baking & Desserts

Make a colourful gingerbread cottage

By: The Canadian Living Test Kitchen / Photography by Michael Kohn
This story was originally titled "Gingerbread Fun" in the Holiday Best 2000 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!

You need
• 1 batch Gingerbread Dough (see recipe here)
• 1 batch Royal Icing (see recipe here)
• Decorations such as assorted candies, silver dragees, candy canes, candy-covered licorice, lonzenges, shoestring licorice and gumdrops
• Marshmallows
• Mini and regular-size pointed ice-cream cones
• 1 bar (32 g) Flake chocolate
• Green liquid food colouring
Colourful gingerbread cottage pattern *

*Englarge pattern as follows:
On parchment or waxed paper, draw grid of horizontal and vertical lines 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Eash square on pattern grid equals 1-inch (2.5 cm) square on paper. Draw each pattern line onto corresponding square on paper. Transfer labels and markings. (Or enlarge patterns photstatically to make grid of 1-inch/2.5 cm squares.) Cut out along black lines.

Take a look at a largeer image of the colourful gingerbread cottage and landscape.

To make:
1. One disk at a time, roll out Gingerbread Dough between 2 sheets of waked paper to 1/4-inch (5 mm) thinckness. Remove top sheet of waxed paper.

Using patterns and tip of knife, trace and cut out 2 side walls, front and back. Cut two 5- x6-3/4-inch (12x17cm) roof sides and fourteen 1/2-x 1-inch (1x2.5cm) shutters. Along red line, cut out front door and set aside. Along green lines, cut out windows (bottom 2 only on front) and discard. Using mini cookie cutters, cut out girl and boy. Transger as many pieces to parchment paper-lined or lightly greased rimless baking sheets as can fit 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Freeze dough for about 20 minutes or until hard.

One sheet at a time, bake in centre of 350F (180C) oven for about 15 minutes or until firm to the touch. Transfer to racks; let cool completely.

4. Set aside 1 cup (250 mL) of the icing, covering with clean damp tea towel to prevent drying out.

5. Assembly: Pipe or use palette knife or spatula to spread icing "glue" onto edges of each piece as you work and assemble as follows (support with cans until set): Glue bottom edge of back to large cake board, parallel to and about 4 inches (10 cm) from 1 (back) edge, then glue on side walls and front. Glue on roof sides (with equal overhang at front and back), shutters and door (slightly ajar, if desired). Let dry for about 30 minute or until firm.

6. Snow: With palette knife, spread thin layer of icing "snow" onto cake board; swirl into drifts. Arrange candies into winding walk to front door. Place marshmallows and upside-down cones for "bushes" and "trees," respectively, on snow. Spread icing onto roof, 1 side at a time. Spoon icing into piping bag fitted with small plain tip. Pipe "icicles" along eaves. Decorate roof.

7. Logs: Cut chocolate bar into thirds; stack "woodpile" beside house. Pipe drift onto woodpile.

8. Bushes and trees: In small bowl, stir reserved icing with enough food colouring to make desired green; spoon into piping bag fitted with star tip. Pipe stars, leaving point at each centre for branch tip, side by side around bottom of each marshmallow; repeat. working up to cover bush. Cover cone trees in same manner. If desired, press dragees or tiny candies onto icing while still wet.

9. Girl and boy: 
Decorate as desired; glue to cake board.

• You can make your own cake board - just wrap a 15- x 18-inch (38 x 45 cm) piece of sturdy cardboard with foil.

• For a thatched roof, use serrated knife to cut shredded-wheat oblongs or squares in half along seam line; glue on, cut side down. For a holly wreath, pipe green icing circle onto door; press on tiny red candies.

• Leftover dough makes great holiday cookies.

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Baking & Desserts

Make a colourful gingerbread cottage