Photo by Yvonne Duivenvoorden Image by: Photo by Yvonne Duivenvoorden
This easy-to-work dough and icing make a charming little Christmas gingerbread village of four buildings plus a clock tower, with some dough left over for steps, a bench or paving stones. Its basic pattern for a house is easily adapted to create a church, town hall, schoolhouse or shop. You can make the dough ahead, then cut and bake the pieces one day and assemble them the next.
For shrubs, secure a spiral of ribbon licorice to a gumdrop base. Make larger shrubs by wrapping the licorice around trimmed ice-cream cones. The large tree in the photo is made from fabric.
Click to view larger image of gingerbread village
• Gingerbread Dough
• Royal Icing
• Ribbon licorice, bubble-gum tape or Fruit Roll-Ups for shingles (optional)
• Assorted candies
Download pattern templates and print, ensuring they are the correct size, then cut out from parchment or waxed paper. Cut out remaining pattern pieces as follows:
• Side: 4-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches (11 x 9 cm)
• Roof: 5-1/2 x 4 inches (13 x 10 cm)
• Chimney side: 1-1/2-inch (4 cm) square
• Steeple side: 2-1/2 x 1/2 inches (6 x 1 cm)
• Steeple roof: 1-3/4 x 1-1/4 inches (4.5 x 3 cm)
• Schoolhouse belfry side: 3/4-inch (2 cm) square
• Schoolhouse belfry roof: 1-1/4-inch (3 cm) square
• Clock tower sides: 8 x 1-1/4 inches (20 x 3 cm)
• Clock tower roof: 1-1/4-inch (3 cm) square
• Draw and cut out pattern pieces for doors and windows as desired.
From foam core or heavy cardboard, cut four 8- x 6-inch (20 x 15 cm) rectangles as bases for buildings and one 4- x 3-inch (10 x 8 cm) rectangle as base for clock tower. (Or use sturdy disposable plates.)
Between 20-inch (50 cm) lengths of waxed or parchment paper, roll out each rectangle of dough to 14 x 12 inches (35 x 30 cm), about 1/4 inch (5 mm) thick. Slide paper and dough onto rimless baking sheet; chill in freezer until firm, 15 minutes. One at a time, slide back onto work surface; peel off top paper.
With tip of knife and using patterns, cut out dough as follows: 8 front/back pieces; 8 side pieces; 8 roof pieces. Slide dough and paper back onto baking sheet. Peel away scraps and set aside. Return to freezer; chill until firm, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, press scraps together; reroll to 1/4-inch (5 mm) thickness. Cut any remaining building pieces; chill as directed.
For each steeple, schoolhouse belfry and chimney, cut as follows: 2 front/back pieces; 2 side pieces. For each steeple and belfry: 2 roof pieces.
Cut clock tower as follows: 4 clock tower sides; 1 clock tower roof.
Cut door and window pieces as desired. Reroll scraps; cut steps, bench and other items as desired. Chill as directed.
Line rimless baking sheets with parchment paper. Transfer as many pieces to prepared pans as can fit 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven until slightly darker at edges and firm to the touch, about 22 minutes for large pieces and 15 minutes for small pieces. Let cool on pans on racks.
Using piping bag fitted with 1/4-inch (5 mm) tip (or small plastic bag with corner snipped off), pipe icing along bottom and side edges of front piece and 1 side piece. Place on base, 1 inch (2.5 cm) from edges, pressing together to form corner. Repeat with back and remaining side piece. Let dry completely, about 20 minutes, propping with heavy cans if necessary.
Pipe icing along top edges of walls; attach 1 roof piece. Pipe icing along top edge of roof; attach remaining roof piece. Let dry completely, about 20 minutes.
Assemble clock tower as for buildings.
Meanwhile, assemble chimney, steeple or schoolhouse belfry by piping icing on back of front and back pieces along side edges. Hold front piece upright on work surface; press side pieces into icing. Add back piece, pressing icing into side pieces. Let dry for 10 minutes.
To attach steeple and schoolhouse belfry roofs, pipe icing along top edges; attach pieces. Let dry completely, about 20 minutes. To attach, pipe icing along bottom edges; press onto peak of roof.
Decorate with gingerbread doors, windows and candies, attaching with icing. (To cover walls with icing, coat 1 at a time and decorate with candies before continuing with remaining walls.)
To make shingles: Cut licorice into 5-1/2-inch (13 cm) strips. Starting at bottom edge of roof, attach horizontally with icing, overlapping layers and trimming around chimney, steeple or belfry if necessary.