The holiday season is full of traditions, and getting the family together to make an annual gingerbread project is one of the most enjoyable. This vintage truck at the Christmas tree lot will appeal to both young and old, plus it’s easy for little hands to decorate. You can bake and cut out the pieces ahead of time, then put them all together in an afternoon of fun.
- Prep time 45 minutes
- Total time 1 hour & 40 minutes
Gingerbread Cookie Dough:
*You’ll need: Three empty toilet paper rolls, halved lengthwise, for the base of the truck. Green paste food colouring. And assorted candies. Makes: 1 truck and about 24 trees
Gingerbread Cookie Dough: In large bowl, beat shortening with sugar until fluffy; beat in eggs, fancy molasses and cooking molasses. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cloves and cinnamon; stir into molasses mixture in 2 additions, mixing well and blending with hands if necessary.
Divide dough in half; shape into 2 discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
Royal Icing: In bowl, beat meringue powder with water until foamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in icing sugar until stiff, about 4 minutes. Cover with damp cloth to prevent drying out.
Enlarge patterns to make grid of 1-inch (2.5 cm) squares, or enlarge 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 paper; cut out.
Between waxed paper, roll out 1 disc of dough at a time to 1/4-inch (5 mm) thickness. Peel off top paper; refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. With tip of sharp knife, trace and cut out pieces, re-rolling and cutting scraps.
Slide dough and paper onto baking sheets; refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
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 325°F (160°C) oven until firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes for small pieces, 20 to 25 minutes for large pieces.
While still warm, replace patterns and trim gingerbread to size if necessary. Transfer to rack and let cool. (Store in airtight container for up to 24 hours.)
Remove 1/3 cup (75 mL) icing to small bowl; tint green for trees. Cover with damp towel; set aside.
Place halved toilet paper rolls, cut sides down, on desired base; place truck base on top. Using piping bag fitted with plain tip, pipe white icing along inside straight edges of wheels; attach to wheel wells on truck base.
Pipe along 1 short edge of cabin back; attach to truck body, propping to support. Pipe along long edge and bottom edge of doors; attach to cabin back and truck base.
Pipe along 1 long edge of side panels and inside 1 short edge; attach panels to truck base and doors. Pipe along 1 long edge and both short edges of back panel; attach to truck base and side panels.
Pipe along 1 long edge and inside 1 short edge of engine sides; attach to truck base and doors to overlap doors by about 1/2-inch (1 cm).
Pipe along 1 bottom edge and inside 1 side edge of front grille pieces; attach to truck base and engine sides. Pipe line up seam between front grille pieces to attach. Pipe along top edges of engine sides and front grille; attach engine cover.
Pipe along inside edges of windshield; attach to doors and engine cover. Pipe along top edges of windshield, doors and cabin back; attach roof piece.
Spread icing on back of front and back tire covers; attach to side panels (for back tire covers) and engine sides (for front tire covers) to overhang truck base by about 1/3-inch (8 mm). Spread icing on backs of lights; attach to front grille. Let dry, about 1 hour.
Using green icing and candies, decorate trees as desired. Using candies and remaining white icing, decorate truck as desired. Let dry until firm, about 3 hours.