Gingerbread Sleigh, Part 1 Of 2

Course : Cookies
Serves: 4
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1/2 cup shortening
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 Large egg
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 ounce clear red hard candy finely crushed
2 large egg whites
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 piece red and white striped candy canes 2 inch long
1 piece red and white striped candy sticks 6 inch long
4 piece green striped square hard candies and 4 red striped
1 piece hard candies (from a bag of mixed hard candies)
2 small red gumdrops
2 large red gumdrops
1 bottle silver drages -- (for decorating only -- do not eat) (silver dots?)
1 piece red and green striped candy stick or red and green striped candy cane 1 inch long

Preparation / Directions:

Beat shortening in a mixing bowl with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds or till softened. Add about half the flour, the sugar, molasses, egg, vinegar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves. Beat till thoroughly combined. Beat in remaining flour. Cover and chill 3 hours or till easy to handle. Cut and bake the cookies as directed. to make the royal frosting; Combine egg whites, powdered sugar, vanilla and cream of tartar in a small mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer on high speed for 7 to 10 minutes or till the mixture is very stiff. Keep the bowl covered with wet paper towels at all times to prevent the frosting from drying as you work. The frosting can be refrigerated overnight in a tightly covered container. Stir before using. Makes 2 cups. Cutting and Baking Enlarge the pattern pieces on heavy paper. For back of sleigh: Line a baking sheet with foil. Using a floured rolling pin, roll one-fourth of the dough 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick on the foil lined baking sheet. Lay pattern for back of sleigh on dough. Using a sharp knife, cut around pattern and cut out design. Carefully remove excess dough; reserve for re-rolling. Carefully spoon crushed candy into holes. Bake in a 375 oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and add additional candy. Bake 5 to 6 minutes more or till edges are lightly browned. Lay pattern on hot cookie and trim side and bottom edges if necessary. Let cool completely on baking sheet. Remove foil. For the other pattern pieces. Roll half the remaining dough to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness on an ungreased baking sheet. Lay remaining pattern pieces on dough, leaving at least 1/4 inch of space between pieces. Cut around pattern pieces and remove excess dough. Bake in a 375 oven for 8 to 10 minutes or till edges are lightly browned. Lay pattern pieces on hot cookies and trim edges, if necessary. Let cookies cool 2 minutes, loosen with spatula but do not remove from pan. Cool completely. Remaining dough: On a lightly floured surface roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness. For wreath, cut out a 2 inch round; cut out center with a 1 inch cutter. Cut remaining dough as desired. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake in 375 oven 8 to 10 minutes or till edges are lightly browned. Let stand on baking sheet 1 minute. Cool completely on rack. Decorate as desired. Makes about 16 cookies. Decorating pieces. Fit a decorating bag with a #3 writing tip; fill with royal frosting. Working on a waxed-paper-covered work surface, outline the red candy windows on the back of the sleigh. Let dry. (White) Add a few drops of red food coloring to 1/2 cup Royal Frosting; spoon into decorating bag fitted with #4 writing tip. Outline kick board; pipe swirl design in center. Outline both sidepieces of sleigh. Fit #6 writing tip on white frosting bag. Pipe a line inside red line on top edges only. With red frosting, pipe series of dots 1/4 inch apart inside white line. Pipe a loop from front edge to center of line of dots and on to back edge of each piece. Place silver dragees on soft frosting with edges touching. Let dry 2 hours.

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