Make a Victorian Gingerbread House

An elegant Victorian-inspired gingerbread house decked out in yellow makes for a cheerful holiday display.

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Ingredients

For gingerbread dough:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For royal icing:
3-4 tablespoons meringue powder
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon extract

For house embellishments:
3 ounces candy melts
8 ounces chocolate fondant
1/4 teaspoon buttercup-yellow food color
3 ounces white ready-made fondant
1/2 ounce green ready-made fondant
1 silver dragee

For house construction:
Victorian gingerbread house template

Make Gingerbread Dough

1. Sift flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt into large bowl.
2. Beat butter in another large bowl with an electric hand mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
3. Add brown sugar and beat 1 minute.
4. Add molasses and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
5. Add egg and beat until well blended, about 1 minute.
6. Reduce speed to low and beat in vanilla.
7. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed just to blend (Image 1).
8. Gather dough into ball and divide in half. Form each half into ball and flatten into disk (Image 2). Wrap disks separately in plastic and chill until firm, at least 4 hours.
10. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
11. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (Image 3).
12. Working with one disk at a time, roll out dough between two sheets of waxed paper to 1/4-inch thickness.
13. Use the Victorian house template to cut pieces from the gingerbread dough (Image 4), and transfer to prepared sheets, spacing two inches apart.
14. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are firm on top and slightly darker around edges, about 8 minutes for smaller shapes and up to 15 minutes for larger shapes.
15. Remove from the oven and re-cut the gingerbread pieces using the templates and a sharp knife (Image 5). This will ensure the pieces fit together perfectly when assembled. Let pieces cool completely.

Make Royal Icing

1. Whisk together meringue powder and powdered sugar (Image 1).
2. Pour mixture into bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.
3. Add warm water and mix on high speed for about 5-7 minutes or until stiff peaks are achieved (Image 2).
4. Transfer to a piping bag and use to assemble gingerbread house pieces.
5. Cover remaining royal icing with a damp towel to prevent crusting (Image 3).

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