By popular demand, I am sharing details about making my Gingerbread Chicken Coop. I decided to enter a local Gingerbread House contest three days before entries were due. I began decorating mid-afternoon on Friday, finishing at 3:30 am and could have fussed over details for several more days. At some point during the process, while wondering aloud whether to add a particular detail, my 9 year old threw down the gauntlet, saying “Mom, go big or go home.” Game ON! I was all in.
This was my first attempt at a gingerbread house, so take the info for what it’s worth. I made it up as I went along, piecing together recipes and techniques from all over the place while punting the rest of the way. Mr Chicken Chick helped, which was time saving, but he bailed at a reasonable hour of the evening as normal people need sleep apparently.
Brown sugar (for dust bath)
Linguine pasta (for chicken legs)
Powdered sugar (for snow)
Trace templates onto cardboard or a stiff, file-folder type paper & cut out.
Re-roll scraps & cut out free-form fence posts if desired. Bake extra parts and pieces of gingerbread that can be cut for use when the unexpected occurs. (We ended up cutting pieces to close gaps under the roof & install walls in between the nest boxes.)
Transfer to parchment paper & bake 12-15 minutes.
Cool completely on baking sheet.
Unwrap a handful of butterscotch candies, place in a ziplock bag & finely crush.
Place cooled gingerbread walls with window openings on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, flat side down. Fill windows with candy shards. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven until just melted. It takes only a few minutes- watch it like a hawk. When melted, remove & cool completely on cookie sheet.
ROYAL ICING INGREDIENTS (Wilton recipe)
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
5 Tablespoons water
Add water and mix for 7-10 minutes.
Keep covered with a damp paper towel while not working with it.
Draw a line of hot glue on the board the length of the front wall & affix the wall upright on top of the glue. Use cans of food to hold the wall in place. Repeat gluing process with an adjacent wall, gluing seams the walls together. Repeat with remaining two sides.
FINISH SEAMS with white icing & tip #12, outline all corners, seams, doors & windows. Pipe Xs on doors & panes on windows.
ATTACH ROOF panels with hot glue. With tip #104, pipe melting snow onto roof ridge, down roof randomly & along front of roof. Sprinkle roof with powdered sugar.FENCE assemble sections individually with hot glue, then attach fence around run
DETAILS, DETAILS, DETAILS
Tape weathervane template (see template #3, above) onto work surface. Place parchment paper or wax paper on top & tape in place. Place red candy melts in a small bowl and microwave 30 seconds at a time. Remove, stir and repeat in 30 second increments until just melted. (It shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes total. Careful not to over-heat) Fit decorating bag with tip #5 & pour candy melts into bag. Trace outline of weathervane & fill center. Work quickly before candy melts harden.
Candy melts will harden in the piping bag. Remove the metal tip from piping bag & place bag back into the microwave for 15 second increments (shouldn’t take more than one or two). Use a toothpick to clean out metal tip before replacing.
MAKE FEEDER & WATERER
Water: Base=red candy melts in chocolate mold. Top=white candy melts in chocolate mold. Water=white decorator’s sugar in base.
Base= red candy melts in candy molds. Leaves= green candy melts with tip #104 piped onto base. Red berries=red candy melts with tip #5
MAKE FEED BAG
Spare piece of gingerbread covered with white candy melts, red and blue piped on at 3:30 in the morning after hitting the dead-tired wall.
Pretzel rod, pretzel sticks dipped in chocolate candy melts. Anchor with green candy melts grass.
Green candy melts piped with tip #104 in circles on parchment paper. Red candy melts piped onto green circles with tip #5 I think? Attach to fence, doors and coop with a dab of candy melts.
MAKE CHICKENS & EGGS
Marzipan molded by hand, decorated with candy melts or painted with food coloring gel.
Rooster’s legs=linguine. Attach to base with candy melts.
MAKE DUST BATH AREA
Marzipan hen. Legs=linguine. Sand=dark and light brown sugar.