Everyone loves the time-honored tradition of building a gingerbread house around the holidays, but this season we're turning the house on its head and making edible gift boxes to fill with tasty holiday treats. A perfect project for children and grown-ups alike, these splendid gingerbread gift boxes are sure to delight!
Things You'll Need
- Gingerbread dough
- Royal icing
- 3-inch square cookie cutter
- Fine grating tool
- Pastry bags
- Small bowls for mixing
- Gel food colors
- Mini candy balls
- White nonpareils candy
- White decorating sugar
Prepare Your Gingerbread
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the gingerbread dough to a ¼-inch thickness. Use a 3-inch square cookie cutter to cut out 18 squares, enough to make three gift boxes.
Transfer the cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet.
If the edges spread during baking, use a fine grating tool to shave off the excess.
Decorate Your Gingerbread Squares
Fill a pastry bag with ½ cup thinned white royal icing and set aside.
For the Blue Box
Set a cookie on a wire rack over parchment paper. In a small bowl, tint ½ cup thinned royal icing to sky blue and pour a tablespoon or two over the cookie. Use a spatula to evenly distribute the icing, ensuring all the edges are covered.
While the icing is still wet, pipe a few dots of white icing onto the cookie. Repeat five more times, for a total of six cookies.
Finish all but one cookie with mini candy balls and let dry overnight. When dry, trim off any extra icing with a sharp knife.
The Santa Box
Repeat the steps from above using green royal icing, but omit the candy. When the icing is dry, use a toothpick to lightly etch Santa onto four gingerbread squares.
Fill three pastry bags with a ¼ cup of thinned red, beige, and black royal icings. Pipe Santa’s face in beige and while still wet, pipe two black dots for his eyes and a red oval for his nose. Let set for 30 minutes.
Pipe Santa’s suit and hat and let set for an additional 60 minutes.
Use a toothpick in small circular motions to guide and shape the icing.
Next, pipe Santa’s beard leaving a small opening for his mouth and immediately dip the cookie into a bowl of white nonpareils.
Fill Santa's mouth with red icing and let dry overnight.
The Snowflake Box
Cover six cookies with thinned white royal icing. When the icing is set, pipe a snowflake pattern onto five squares.
Immediately dip each cookie into a bowl of white decorating sugar to create a crystallized look. Let dry overnight.
Assemble Your Gift Boxes
Place the plain iced cookie face down on the counter. This will be your base. Pipe icing around the edges of four more cookies. Attach these cookies to the base.
Use cans of food to prop the cookies in position while they dry.
Some unfinished gingerbread may show after you assemble the gift boxes. Use royal icing and/or decorations to finish the edges. Let the boxes dry completely before filling them with even more delicious holiday treats.