Roof: 4 packs of red cinnamon-flavored gum, cut into "shingles"; royal icing.
Trees: Ice cream cones, almond bark, sliced almonds, silver and red dragées.
Window candles: Red cinnamon candies, royal icing, yellow edible glitter sprinkles.
Window frames: Lined with red licorice ropes, silver balls, green jelly beans.
Windowpanes: Crushed clear red candies.
Cart: Pretzel squares, white wheel-shaped candies, round red candies, graham cracker base.
Presents: Small wafer cookies, green icing, sliced jelly candies.
Fence: Mini candy canes, white wheel-shaped candies.
Base of house: Round peppermint candies, red cinnamon candies.
Stepping stone path: Large chocolate nonpareils, round red candies.
Swag thin red licorice ropes, silver balls, small green and white jelly beans.
Snowman: Marshmallows, black licorice, blackberry-shaped candy, white cookie sprinkles.
Lamppost: Thick candy cane stick, royal icing, yellow edible glitter sprinkles.
Green bushes: Gum drops and fruit drops
Snow: Shredded coconut.
Make a double batch of royal icing to ensure you have plenty for decorating.
2. Roll chilled dough out on a well-floured surface to a 1/8-inch thick square.
3. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place template on top of dough; using the tip of a sharp paring knife, trace the shape. Transfer shapes to parchment-lined pan, and chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
4. Remove dough from refrigerator. Sprinkle crushed red candies in the spaces cut out for the windowpanes. The candy will melt and create a stained glass effect for windows (optional). Bake 20-30 minutes until center is firm; don't let edges get too dark. Cool completely before removing from parchment.
5. Assemble your components and build your house (see main Gingerbread Houses article). Fill your piping bag with royal icing. Pipe a thick line of icing on the bottom (base) edge of the first side wall. Stand side wall on your sturdy foundation, icing side down, 2 inches in from the edge of the "yard." Hold for about 5 minutes to set; use cans from your pantry to stabilize--one on each side of the wall--and hold it in place.
6. Pipe a thick line of icing onto front edge of side wall. Pipe icing along base of front panel and press edges of walls together at a right angle. Hold walls together for about 5 minutes and then hold up with cans. Pipe icing along the front of the vertical seam where the two walls meet, and along the bases to stabilize.
7. Add second side wall to the front panel in the same fashion: stabilize with icing, hold to set, and prop up with cans. Pipe icing on vertical seam and along the base.
8. Pipe more icing and reposition cans to stabilize walls, if necessary.
9. Add back panel: pipe icing along edges of side walls and along the bottom of the back panel. Press the back panel into place and hold for 5 minutes. Carefully reach inside the house from above and pipe icing along all bases and seams to reinforce the walls. Use cans for support, if needed. Let stand for 30-60 minutes until dry and hard before adding the roof.
10. Remove cans from inside the house before assembling the roof. Pipe a line of icing along the diagonal edge front wall, continuing to pipe icing along edge of top of adjoining side wall, then up the diagonal edge of the back panel.
11. Pipe a line of icing around the inside edge of the roof panel, and press it into place. The top edge of the roof should align with the edges of the front and back panels.
12. The edge of the roof should create an "eave," an overhang of about ¾ inch or so. Hold the roof panel in place for 5 minutes. Pipe additional lines along roof joints, and carefully reach inside the house pipe inner seams as well. Repeat with second half of the roof. If necessary, prop up the roof with cans to hold the panels in place. Let the house sit a minimum of six hours or overnight so the icing can harden.
13. When the house is assembled and dry, you can begin decorating! Start with the roof. Spread icing over the entire rooftop.
14. Use the gum to shingle the roof, beginning at the bottom and working up. Pipe icing in between the shingles to help them stick and to give the appearance of snow.
15. When you finish shingling both sides of the roof, pipe a decorative pattern along the seam. Use a star tip in your piping bag to create a shell pattern.
16. Pipe around the windows with a small shell tip. Attach the licorice ropes with a small amount of icing at the corners. At each corner, place a dot of icing on the licorice and use tweezers to attach silver dragées. Attach candles (see instructions below) to windowsills with a dot of icing; hold for 30 seconds or until stable.
17. Use icing to paint a walkway to the front door. The path should be slightly wider than the chocolate nonpareil paving stones.
18. Place the nonpareils along the icing path with enough space between them to outline each with the red cinnamon candies. Arrange three or four paving stones along the side of the house without the decorative red border.
19. Pipe a border around the base of the house and add the peppermints, alternating with red cinnamon candies. Pipe a border along the vertical seam using your star tip, and affix the licorice swag.
20. Alternate green and white jelly bean halves and silver balls up and around the red swag. (Pipe dots of icing on the swag, and use tweezers to set the candies in place.)
21. Landscape the rest of the yard with royal icing sprinkled with coconut. Affix cart, presents, trees, lamppost and fence. (See Finishing Touches below.)
22. Finishing Touches:
These accessories can be assembled in advance, while you wait for the house to dry.
Snowman: Use 3 trimmed marshmallows, stacked together with icing. Make a scarf from red licorice; the hat is a blackberry-shaped candy. For a real snowy look, use water or milk to thin a small amount of icing. Spread it over the snowman and roll snowman in granulated or sparkling sugar. Snowballs can be made the same way.
Front door: Decorate door with green and white icing. Place a small amount of icing behind the door to attach it to the front wall. Pipe a decorative outline around door.
Candles: Use a red jellybean. Cut off the rounded tip so it will stand up straight. Apply a dab of icing to create a flame, and dip in yellow edible glitter.
Front window: Use the square cut-out window from the side panels; affix it to the front of the house with a small amount of icing and pipe lines for windowpanes.
Cart: Attach pretzel squares to a graham cracker quarter. Make wheels with the wheel-shaped candies and red cinnamon candies; attach to cart with icing. Fill with presents.
Presents: Use small square wafer cookies decorated with green piping and sliced candies.
Candy cane fence: Attach two small candy canes back-to-back with a dab of icing. Use white wheel-shaped candies as a base. Place around the edge of the house, piping edges with icing to reinforce.
Lamppost: Cut candy cane to 5-inch height. Pipe a ball of icing as the globe of the lamp and dip into yellow edible glitter sprinkles; let dry completely. Use super glue to adhere post to base--it is too heavy to be affixed with icing.
- Make more icing as needed and keep it covered at all times.
- Use almond bark to coat ice cream cone trees for a snow-covered look.