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Baby its cold outside! Stay toasty inside with the scent of cinnamon and vanilla radiating from the oven - and the warm and fuzzy feeling of giving a home-baked gift.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED: Linked items available at http://www.sugarcraft.com

· 2 recipes gingerbread dough, divided into 4 portions
· cottage pattern pieces
· parchment paper
· 2 recipes royal icing 
· gel paste food coloring (a dusty blue such as delphinium or country blue, red, yellow, and green)
· large candy-covered pebbles or rocks, about 2 lb.
· disposable decorating bags
· several coupler sets
· decorating tips (small star, large star, ribbon or basketweave)
· small artist's brush
· fine sanding sugar
· wheat chex cereal
· pretzel sticks 
· logs (toffee bars
· yellow nonpareils

GINGERBREAD DOUGH RECIPE
· 1/2 cup shortening
· 1/2 cup sugar
· 1 tsp. Baking powder 
· Tsp. Baking soda
· 1 tsp. Ground ginger
· Tsp. Ground cinnamon 
· 1/2 tsp. Ground cloves 
· 1/2 cup molasses
· 1 egg
· 1 tbsp. Vinegar
· 2 1/2cups all-purpose flour

Beat shortening with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves; beat until combined. Beat in molasses, egg, and vinegar. Beat in as much flour as you can with mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Cover with plastic wrap; chill 3 hours or until dough is easy to handle. Roll out, cut, bake, assemble, and decorate as directed below.


Click picture to enlarge and print

Enlarge patterns 325% on copier to match ratio

1 square=1 inch

click for PATTERNS

ROYAL ICING RECIPE

3 TBSP. MERINGUE POWDER
1/3 CUP PLUS 2 TBSP. WARM WATER
16-OZ. PKG. POWDERED SUGAR, SIFTED (4 1/2 CUPS)
1 TSP. VANILLA
1/2 TSP. CREAM OF TARTAR

In a medium bowl combine meringue powder, water, powdered sugar, vanilla, and cream of tartar. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, then on high speed for 7 to 10 minutes or until very stiff. Tint as described in directions. Use at once. Cover any remaining icing with plastic wrap; refrigerate to prevent it from drying out.

CUTTING AND BAKING: Prepare Gingerbread Dough. While dough is chilling, enlarge patterns. If desired, cover patterns on both sides with clear adhesive plastic to protect them from grease so they can be reused.

Use a floured rolling pin to roll one portion of dough at a time on a 15x12-inch piece of parchment paper till 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Place patterns 1 inch apart on dough; cut around patterns with a sharp knife. Remove excess dough. Place parchment on a large baking sheet.

Bake cookie pieces in a 375° oven for 10 to 12 minutes or till edges are browned. While pieces are still very warm, place patterns on cookies and trim excess gingerbread as necessary. Return pieces to oven for about 2 minutes or till dry and well browned on edges. Remove the parchment and cookies from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Remove cookie pieces from parchment when cool. Repeat with all pattern pieces, following directions on patterns. All pieces may be allowed to dry overnight if humidity is low. They will be firmer.

DECORATING COTTAGE: Prepare 2 recipes Royal Icing. Tint half of icing with blue paste coloring. Cover and set aside. Tint cup of the remaining white icing red. Thin it with r or more teaspoons water until it flows and can be painted with a brush. Cover and set aside. Tint ¼ cup remaining icing yellow. Thin it with water also. Cover and set aside. Tint 1/2 cup of remaining icing green. Leave it thick. Cover.

TIP: Prepared icing maybe stored covered overnight in the refrigerator. To use after storing, beat with an electric mixer till very stiff. If decorating tips become clogged with dry icing, wipe with a damp cloth.
For sides of house (and the front door) that will have windows and siding, use a small art paintbrush to paint thinned yellow icing where windows will be. Let iced windows dry r minute; sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. When dry, shake off excess sugar. Place some white icing in a decorating bag fitted with a coupler set and small star tip. Pipe icing trim around windows. Fit a decorating bag with coupler set and a ribbon tip. Fill with some blue

Royal Icing. Beginning at bottom edge of wall, pipe rows of blue icing until wall is covered. Let dry completely, 2 or more hours.

To decorate the front wall with rocks, cut the largest rocks in half with a sharp serrated knife. Spread a generous amount of blue icing on wall. Press the gingerbread door and its porch roof pieces into place in center of wall. Working quickly, press the rocks and halved large rocks into the wet icing, fitting them snugly together. Use decorating bag with blue icing to pipe boards and frame onto the front door piece. Decorate back wall by spreading more blue icing and covering with more rocks.

Let walls dry completely, 2 or more hours.

For wall with chimney, first sandwich the two chimney pieces together with some blue or white icing. Attach the chimney to small end wall with more icing. Spread a generous amount of blue icing on sides and front of sandwiched chimney pieces.

Working quickly, press the rocks and halved rocks into the icing, fitting them snugly together. (The back-side of chimney can be finished after roof assembly.) While chimney wall is still lying flat, use decorating bag with blue icing to pipe rows of siding on the walls next to chimney. Let dry completely. You will leave 1 small and 1 large end piece undecorated.

To make shutters, trim some pretzels to desired length. Using 2 or 3 pretzels per shutter, lay them together on waxed paper and paint them generously with some thinned red icing. Let dry completely, several hours. When dry, peel them from waxed paper and attach to house with some blue or white icing.

ASSEMBLING: Have glass tumblers, glass measuring cups, or coffee mugs handy to hold pieces in place while assembling. Choose a board or tray on which to display cottage; it will be difficult to move from this point on. On a piece of waxed paper, set side-wall pieces and end pieces. Attach the two sides of large room to one of the large end pieces using a line of icing where pieces touch. Join the side-wall pieces to the back of the end piece. Attach the other large end piece to the standing side-wall pieces with more icing. Hold in place using tumblers or mugs.

Attach the undecorated small end piece to the undecorated large end piece with some icing. Attach the small side-wall pieces to the small end piece in the same way the large room was assembled. Finally, attach the chimney end piece to the two side-wall pieces.

Hold in place using tumblers or mugs until dry. Remove all tumblers and mugs before attaching the roof.

Pipe some icing along the top edges of the walls of large room. Gently press the two large roof pieces into place. Repeat with roof pieces of small room.

Finish chimney with rocks and ice the top of chimney. To add shingles to roof pieces, spread a layer of white Icing onto one of the roof pieces.

Press a row of wheat cereal along bottom edge of roof. Add a second row, overlapping the rows and staggering the shingles. Cut half pieces of cereal to fit ends of rows.

Quickly finish roof before icing dries. Repeat with other roof sections. To finish top edge of roof, pipe a line of white icing along top edge. Press a row of cereal into line of icing, overlapping pieces slightly. Remember to shingle the porch roof over the door!

FINISHING TOUCHES: To finish the corners of the house that have siding, you may pipe a vertical line of blue icing where the two sides meet. To finish the corners of the house that have rocks, you may spread or pipe additional blue icing along unfinished corners/edges and cover with more rocks.

For icicles on edges of roof, pipe or spread white icing onto roof and pull down points of icing using a knife or tip of bag.
To make wreaths and garland on house, place green icing in a decorating bag fitted with coupler set and small star tip. To make wreaths, pipe a ring of stars onto house, making the tops of stars point out from center. Make a second and even third row of stars inside the first. While green icing is still wet, sprinkle with some yellow nonpareils and sanding sugar.

For pillars near front door, cut 2 pretzel logs to fit on either side of door. Attach to the house using icing.

Use decorating bag with green icing to pipe rows of green stars on pretzel pillars to make garland. While green icing is still wet, sprinkle with some yellow nonpareils and sanding sugar.

For snow-covered tree, use a large star tip to pipe white icing onto upside-down waffle or sugar ice cream cone.

Sprinkle wet icing with sanding sugar.


From COUNTRY HOME magazine 2005


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