A Gingerbread Sleigh – filled with a Chocolate Father Christmas and Snowballs!
My plan was to make these for the boys for Christmas, but having made only 2 and there being 3 of them these are off to the school Christmas fair instead!
To make 2 Gingerbread Sleighs, you will need:
1 x Quantity of Gingerbread Dough recipe here
Chocolate Father Christmas and Christmas sweets or chocolates
(Links to The Pink Whisk Shop)
Split the dough in half and knead until soft. Roll out each between 2 sheets of baking paper to approx 4mm thick. Place them flat in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes until firm.
Print out the template here and cut out the pieces.
Working with one sheet at a time, peel off the top piece of baking paper.
Position the templates on top of the dough and using a sharp knife carefully cut out the dough, leaving the excess in position for now. For the main body of the sleigh after cutting the first piece turn the template for cutting out the second time so that you create a mirror image.
You will need 2 x main sleigh bodies, 2 x small rectangles and 1 x base
With each piece cut out carefully remove the excess dough from around the pieces.
Slide the baking paper without disturbing the shapes onto a tray, board or baking tray and pop them back in the fridge to chill for another ten minutes. They will have softened whilst you were working and if you tried to move them now they would pull out of shape.
Preheat the oven to 170c (fan)/190c/Gas Mark 5.
Once the pieces have firmed up again take them out of the fridge. Transfer them to a baking tray lined with non-stick paper, making sure there is enough space between them.
Bake in the oven for 8 minutes until the edges are lightly golden – do keep an eye on them, in case they start to burn.
As soon as they are out of the oven using a sharp knife trim the base of the main sleigh body pieces and the edges of the two small rectangles – they will be easy to cut whilst still warm. You need nice straight lines for them to join together properly during the assembly bit!
Leave them to cool fully on the tray.
Once they are completely cool you can get to work on assembly. Careful with the pieces as they can’t take manhandling! Check that they are firm and not soft.
If the gingerbread is still a little soft place them on a baking tray in the oven at 100c for 30 minutes to help dry them out.
Arm yourself with some white royal icing in a piping bag and grab a couple of tins from the cupboard.
Take the base rectangle and lay it down face down flat on a piece of baking paper.
Pipe a thickish line of icing along one short edge.
Position one small rectangle onto the icing – prop it up using a tin and let it set.
Once set, turn the whole lot around and repeat the process sticking on the other end.
Now let this dry out fully – the icing will set firm and hold the whole lot together. Patience is a virtue!
Completely set? On we go!
Lay a main body sleigh piece face down on the baking paper, lift the rectangles into position and lightly score around it with a sharp knife – the marks will then guide you where you need the icing.
Pipe the icing onto the sleigh and position the rectangle pieces to start to create the inside of the sleigh.
Let it set for ten minutes, add icing around the open side of the rectangles and lift the final sleigh body piece into place.
Use something large and flat to hold up against both the sleigh bases to check that they are in line.
Now leave it to set completely again.
Time for the decoration! I only decorated the front side of the sleigh ( feel free to go for both if you excel in the patient stakes)
Pipe on the outline
Sprinkle with mini dragees and pipe on a wide ruffly trim – and leave to set – aaarrrrrgghhh!
Once the piping is dry – add in Father Christmas and the snowball chocolates.
Set the whole lot onto an 8″ cake board or card – wrap in cellophane and tie with a pretty ribbon!
Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire