GINGERBREAD HOUSE COOKIE ORNAMENTS
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
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.