Canadian Living - Holiday Entertaining - - Make- a head recipes -

Hands-on time: 1½ hours

To­tal time: 6 hours

Makes: about 36 cook­ies

Th­ese ginger­bread house façades are an easy al­ter­na­tive to the tra­di­tional ginger­bread house. Dec­o­rat­ing sugar adds sparkle to faux snow–cov­ered rooftops, and candies add a fun pop of colour.

½ cup un­salted but­ter, soft­ened

½ cup gran­u­lated sugar

1 egg

⅓ cup fancy mo­lasses

¼ cup cook­ing mo­lasses

3 cups all-pur­pose flour

1 tsp ground gin­ger

½ tsp each cin­na­mon and ground cloves

½ tsp bak­ing soda

¼ tsp salt

2 tbsp meringue pow­der

2⅓ cups ic­ing sugar dec­o­rat­ing sugar (op­tional) paste food colour­ing (op­tional) as­sorted sprin­kles and/or small candies

In large bowl, beat but­ter with gran­u­lated sugar un­til fluffy; beat in egg, fancy mo­lasses and cook­ing mo­lasses. In sep­a­rate bowl, whisk to­gether flour, gin­ger, cin­na­mon, cloves, bak­ing soda and salt; stir into but­ter mix­ture in 2 ad­di­tions just un­til com­bined. If nec­es­sary, knead gen­tly to form smooth dough. Di­vide dough in half; shape into discs. Wrap each in plas­tic wrap; re­frig­er­ate un­til firm, about 2 hours. (Make-ahead: Re­frig­er­ate for up to 48 hours.)

Let dough stand at room tem­per­a­ture un­til soft enough to roll out, about 15 min­utes. Be­tween waxed pa­per or on lightly floured work sur­face, roll out dough to scant ¼-inch thick­ness. Us­ing 3- to 4-inch house-shaped cookie cut­ter, cut out shapes, rerolling scraps as nec­es­sary. Ar­range, 1 inch apart, on parch­ment pa­per–lined rim­less bak­ing sheets. Us­ing small plain pip­ing tip, punch hole in top of each cookie. Re­frig­er­ate un­til firm, about 15 min­utes. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, in 325°F oven just un­til firm, about 12 min­utes. Let cool on pans for 1 minute; trans­fer di­rectly to racks to cool com­pletely.

While cook­ies are cool­ing, in large bowl, beat meringue pow­der with ¼ cup wa­ter un­til foamy, about 2 min­utes. Beat in ic­ing sugar un­til stiff and glossy, about 9 min­utes. Spoon ic­ing into pip­ing bag fit­ted with small plain tip; pipe roof onto each cookie. Sprin­kle with dec­o­rat­ing sugar (if us­ing). Let stand un­til dry, about 20 min­utes. Re­turn re­main­ing ic­ing to bowl. Us­ing food colour­ing, tint ic­ing to de­sired shade (if us­ing). Spoon into pip­ing bag fit­ted with small plain tip; pipe ic­ing onto cook­ies as de­sired. Dec­o­rate with sprin­kles and candies. Let stand un­til dry, about 1 hour.

PER COOKIE: about 112 cal, 1 g pro, 3 g to­tal fat (2 g sat. fat), 21 g carb (trace di­etary fi­bre, 13 g sugar), 11 mg chol, 36 mg sodium, 95 mg potas­sium. % RDI : 2% cal­cium, 6% iron, 2% vit A, 7% fo­late.

If the holes you punch at the top of the cook­ies close up dur­ing bak­ing, use a tooth­pick to re­punch them while they’re still warm.

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