The holidays are finally here!!! And what better way to start December than with gingerbread cookies? Today’s cookie project takes the classic gingerbread cookie to a whole new level. I’ve wanted to do a cookie train for awhile and finally found an easy way to put it together.

Here is how to make it:

Gingerbread Train
 

makes one train
Ingredients
  • For the Gingerbread Cookie Dough:
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • For Royal Icing:
  • One 2lb pack of confectioner sugar
  • ⅓ cup meringue powder
  • ¾ cup water

Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix together butter, brown sugar and molasses. Add spices, flour and baking soda and start mixing again on low. With the mixer on, add 2 tbsp of water and continue mixing until the dough comes together. Roll between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut your cookies according to directions and bake for 12 minutes or until set.
  3. To make royal icing, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix sugar and meringue powder on low and gradually add water. Once all ingredients are combined, crank up to high speed and mix for 8 minutes.

To make the dough, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix together butter, brown sugar and molasses:

Add spices, flour and baking soda and start mixing again on low:

With the mixer on, add 2 tbsp of water and continue mixing until the dough comes together. Roll it between 2 pieces of plastic wrap.

I used rolling pin spacer bands to get my dough as thin and as even as possible:

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Rolling Pin Spacer Bands

Place the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To shape the cookies, I used plain locomotive and train car cutters and tweaked them to create a 3D effect. Here is how it works: Each train car is made of 5 cookies that are sandwiched together with royal icing. To create a 3D effect, each of the 5 cookies is modified just a tiny bit.

Let’s start with the train cars. First, cut 5 cookies using the same cutter and set them on your baking sheet (the pic only shows 4 but you’ll get the idea):

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Next we are going to tweak the cookies to add a 3D effect. The 2 outermost cookies will need windows so cut those out using a tiny square cutter or a pairing knife. To shape the 3 other cookie layers, simply cut off the wheels:

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To shape the locomotive, it’s a bit more tricky so I took a better pic =) Cut 5 cookies and set on another baking sheet. The center cookie is the easiest (on the far right). You just leave that one alone. For the other layer, you just cut out pieces like so:

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Bake your cookies for 12 minutes or until completely set. You will want them crispy.

Here is how to assemble and decorate the locomotive using royal icing. First add the following details (no need to decorate the areas that will be sandwiched over):

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Then add a bunch of frosting where the cookies will be sandwiched:

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And stack together:

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For the train cars, have fun with different designs. I used peppermint candies for the wheels:

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And use royal icing to sandwich them together (oh yeah, avoid royal icing on the upper part of layer #2 or it will show through the window cut-outs):

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Done!

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Happy Holidays!!!