Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mini Gingerbread House Cookies

****Baby it's cold outside****
And the perfect time for curling up with your sweetheart and a hot cup of cocoa!  The best way to keep your love snuggled warm by your side instead of out throwing snowballs????....bake him a yummy gingerbread treat to enjoy with a warm cup of chocolate because after all baby, it's cold outside (=

You will need:
x-acto knife
piping bag and tips (I used size 00-2)

I discovered this idea on the NotMarthaBlog.  Megan does an excellent job explaining how to make them and showing some simple and cute decorating ideas.  I added some different decorative touches to her original design inspired by my favorite Winter love song.
Roll gingerbread out to around an 1/8" thin.  Gingerbread tends to puff so for a neater looking cookie that fits together well, the thinner you can roll the dough, the better.
I used Megan's templates for mini gingerbread houses that perch on the edge of your mug.  You can print and cut these templates out yourself.  Simply cut two pieces of dough out of each template for each house.
Place cut pieces out and lay on cookie sheet.  Chill in the fridge before baking to help prevent puffing (I skipped this step because I was impatient haha).  Feel free to trim and reshape your pieces once they are on the tray if they get misshaped when you move them.
The recipe I used tends to puff a little more, but I like the way it tastes so I wanted to use it.  The pieces didn't bake up as neat, but I enjoyed the rustic look it resulted in.  To assemble, arrange all the piece you need in front of you.  Fill your pastry bag with white royal icing and a small round pastry tip.
Take one of the front pieces and pipe a line of royal icing down each side.
Carefully press the two side pieces into the piped icing.  DO NOT move.  Let it set for several minutes before moving to the next step.
Pipe the royal icing down each side of the back piece.
Press the back piece onto the house.  Adjust it to make sure the house is square.  Once set up properly, DO NOT MOVE, let it set for several minutes to allow the royal icing to begin setting up.
Before attaching the roof, pipe whatever decorative design you would like on the.  I like to decorate them before because it is easier to decorate them while lying flat then when they are attached on an angle.
Pipe a line of royal icing on the angled edges on one side of the roof top.
Gently press the roof into the icing.  Hold for a second and then let set.  Repeat on the other side.
I finished the houses by piping a design down the center of the rooftop to cover any cracks and added simple decorative touches along the front and sides. (next time I'll pipe all the details on the front and side pieces as well before I assemble them).
My mug has a slanted top so the houses wouldn't sit exactly square around the rim but they still worked.  I had to file the door openings slightly with an x-acto knife to widen the doors because my mug was slightly thicker than what the template allowed for (and my dough puffed during baking which narrowed the opening).
These are the perfect cookies to make for your sweetheart on a wintry afternoon, or great for a winter get together with friends.  Gingerbread houses are fun to make and even more fun to enjoy with a warm cup of your favorite hot chocolate and your favorite person.  Make these cookies and you might find your guests wanting to stay for maybe just a half drink more...!

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