Gingerbread has been a European holiday staple for centuries. Gingerbread houses became popular there and in America after the Brothers Grimm published their story “Hansel and Gretel.”
Cookies and Icing
gingerbread cookie dough
piping icing: white (Use this Royale Icing
Equipment and Embellishments
house cutter (or use this template or this template from Martha Stewart. Or use ours!)
small rectangle cutter or paring knife
yellow hard candies, crushed
peppermint candies, crushed and whole
oblong silver dragées
making windowpanes (page 13/see below)
piping (page 22/see below)
attaching candy add-ons (page 25/see below)
1. Prepare, roll, and chill cookie dough according to recipe and rolling instructions.
2. Cut out house shapes. Cut out windows with a cookie cutter. Fill the windows with crushed yellow candies. Bake and cool according to windowpane instructions.
3. Pipe the roofline and chimney, filling in the chimney completely. While wet, sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy; allow to set. Gently shake off excess candy.
4. With piping icing, affix whole peppermint candies and pipe dot detail around candies. Pipe detail around windowpanes and on the gable peak. Affix dragées.
Add crushed candies to your cutouts and you’ll have windowpanes, which give your Christmas cookies a beautiful, see-through stained-glass effect. To crush hard candies, place them in a double-layer ziplock bag and smash them with a hammer until they’re powdery or in tiny shards. Completely fill the holes in the cookie dough with candy. Bake the cookies according to recipe instructions; the candy will melt to create windowpanes. Cool the cookies completely on the cookie sheet before removing to allow the melted candy to harden.
Piping is the technique you will use most often, either to outline cookies to be flooded or to add embellishments. When piping, hold your pastry bag at a 45-degree angle above the surface of the cookie; you do not want to drag the tip. Use the heel of your palm to apply pressure to squeeze out the icing and the other hand to steady and guide the tip. If you’re making dots, hold the bag straight up and down. Varying the pressure on the pastry bag will vary the thickness of the piping.
Attaching candy add-ons:
Small candies or dragées stick readily to wet flood. Use tweezers if you want precise control over the placement. To attach add-ons to dry flood, use a dab of piping icing to affix.
• Read the book review: Cookie Craft Christmas
• Buy the book: Cookie Craft Christmas, $9.32 at Amazon
(Image/recipe courtesy of Storey Publishing)