Chimneys with billowing smoke, Dr. Seuss–inspired stepping stones, Christmas trees and a skating rink make a winter wonderland. You will need a 23- x 17-inch (58 x 43 cm) cake board or other sturdy surface for the base. Having a few cottages means three sets of little hands can personalize their own houses. Bake and trim the pieces a day ahead. The next day, prepare the icing, and assemble and decorate the village.
- Portion size 3 servings
- Credits : Canadian Living Magazine: December 2012
Download the design template for Gingerbread Cottages.
Enlarge patterns using photocopier to make grid of 1-inch (2.5 cm) squares, or enlarge patterns by squaring method as follows: On parchment paper, draw grid of horizontal and vertical lines 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Each square on pattern grid equals 1-inch (2.5 cm) square on parchment paper. Draw each pattern line onto corresponding square on parchment paper; cut out.
Dust gingerbread discs with flour. Between parchment paper, roll out 1 disc at a time to 1/4-inch (5 mm) thickness. Peel off top paper; transfer to baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
With tip of sharp knife, trace and cut out pieces, rerolling and cutting scraps. If desired, use 1-1/2-inch (4 cm) cookie cutter to cut out windows.
Grouping like sizes together, transfer as many gingerbread pieces as can fit, 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart, onto parchment paper–lined baking sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, in 325ºF (160ºC) oven until firm to the touch, about 6 minutes for chimney pieces, and 18 to 20 minutes for large pieces.
While still warm, replace patterns and trim gingerbread to size as necessary. Let cool completely. (Make-ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 24 hours.)
Fill piping bag fitted with medium plain tip with some of the icing. Pipe along 1 side edge of house end; attach to 1 house side, propping with can to support. Repeat with remaining end and side to form cottage walls, propping with can to support, if necessary. Let dry completely, about 1 hour.
Pipe along top edges of walls; attach roof pieces to slightly overhang walls and meet at roof peak, propping bottom edge of each roof piece, if necessary. Pipe line along roof peak to seal. Let dry completely, about 1 hour.
Pipe icing along sides of each chimney piece and attach together, aligning tops. Let dry upside down, about 1 hour. Attach to roof just below peak.
Using candies and remaining icing, decorate cottages as desired. Attach each door to cottage at hinge, if desired. Let dry until firm, about 3 hours. Arrange on cake board. Decorate ground around cottages as desired.