Yield: 1 servings
|4½ cup||Flour (may need up to 5)|
|2 teaspoons||Baking powder|
|1 cup||Margarine; room temperature|
|#5,#7 round and #27 star tip|
|Three decorating bags|
|2 teaspoons||Vanilla extract|
|Decorating bag with coupler|
FOR COOKIE HOUSE
Make the cookie dough: Stir or whisk together 4½ cups of the flour, the baking powder and salt; set aside. Cream the butter and sugar until light; add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and beat well.
Gradually add the dry ingredients and blend to form a smooth ball of dough. If the dough is sticky, add just enough of the remaining flour to eliminate the stickiness. The dough should not be dry. Divide the dough in half, wrap each ball in plastic and refrigerate for several hours, or until firm enough to roll.
Meanwhile, cut cardboard templates for the base and the three parts of the cookie house. The dimensions are as follows: THE BASE: is a circle 6" across (cut 1) THE SIDE: is a rectangle 2 ⅜" x 3 ½" (cut 2) THE FRONT/BACK: is funny shaped. It's 3" wide and 4 ¼" tall (total height). From the bottom to the beginning of the "roof" section is 2 ⅜". At 2 ⅜" cut up to form the "roof" top like an upside down "V" (cut 2). Finally cut the ROOF: it's a rectangle 2 ¾" x 4 ¼".
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a flour-dusted cookie sheet or the back of one jelly roll pan, roll out one ball of dough to ⅛"-¼" thick. For each house cut one base, two sides, two front/back pieces, and two roof pieces. Lay out the cardboard patterns on the dough, leaving 1 ½" between them. The layout will depend on the size of your cookie sheet and how many houses you are making. Use a sharp knife to cut around each template, removing excess dough as you cut. Wipe the knife frequently. Repeat the rolling and cutting process to make the remaining pieces. If you want some small trees in front of your house, make them using a cookie cutter.
Bake both sheets of cookies at the same time, for 10-15 minutes reemoving pieces when they are done (preferable to overbake than underbake since we need firm cookies). The cookies may brown, but this is O.K. Transfer immediately to a wire rack to cool completely.
Decorate the pieces before assembling the houses. You can do this many ways. Mostly use your imagination. Frost or pipe/apply candies to the "wet" icing. To "sugar-coat" areas, brush on egg-wash (being careful not to touch any piping or decorations); then sprinkle immediately with colored sugar. Tap gently to shake off excess sugar.
Set aside to dry for half an hour.
Next to assemble houses. Use the #7 icing tip . Pipe a thick line of icing along edges to be put together and "glue" the houses together and on the base. Make sure to do one area at a time and hold until icing sets. Let all set for a few minutes. When icing is firm, do any finishing touches. MAKES THREE COOKIE HOUSES WITH BASES The Christmas Kitchen by Lorraine Bodger