Christmas card scene gingerbreadJump to Recipe
I had so much fun making the gingerbread shadow box last year, so i decided to make a new one this year, inspired by a Christmas card.
I was going to use deer’s again, but i thought a fox would be lovely instead.
The little cabin in the woods would be a dream home. I added the robin for my grandma who this was made for. She loves robins.
I made a few extra foxes to use on some cookies using the left over doughs.
The foxes are made using modelling chocolate and then painted with petal lustre dust mixed with the clear alcohol (vodka).
I used a mixture of doughs this time, my normal gingerbread recipe from last time with some added orange zest, some brown butter hazelnut speculaas dough for the tree layers and a chocolate, orange and aniseed dough for the base.
Then the birch trees are made using edible sugar paper.
I made it late at night so i only have bad phone photos to explain how it was made, im sorry.
If you don’t want to use royal icing to decorate it then use icing sugar in the same way as the one i made last year.
The template is broken into layers. They are designed to fit on A4 paper, the long edges of the template for the base and top layer will be the same width as the paper.
- Base layer is made with the chocolate dough and has candies for the moon stars and windows, a large hole is cut for the house to sit on top of. I drew northern lights to cut out on the template, but I didn’t like how it looked and baked another with just stars.
- The three tree layers are made with brown butter speculaas dough
- The birch trees are edible sugar paper
- The house was made with some left over light gingerbread dough i had, you can use the normal gingerbread for the house part and the hazelnut dough for the roof.
- The sides and top frame are made with gingerbread dough
The dough recipes
To make this shadow box i used three different doughs, alternatively you can make it all with the same dough, the last recipe for the normal gingerbread can be used
For the base layer to look like a night sky, I used an orange aniseed and chocolate dough. I halved a chocolate dough recipe designed for a gingerbread house here and added the spices and orange.
If you don’t like aniseed you can leave that out. Add a little and taste dough and add more if you like. I added quite a lot.
chocolate orange and aniseed dough for base layer
- 50 g dark chocolate i used 63% solids
- 200 g unsalted butter softened
- 150 g caster sugar
- 50 g golden syrup
- 350 g plain flour
- 50 g cocoa powder
- zest from one orange
- 3/4 tsp ground aniseed
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- orange and yellow boiled sweets for moon ect crushed finely
- 1 egg – lightly beaten
- Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water or in a microwave then set aside to cool down slightly
- In a large bowl mix the orange zest and sugar together in a bowl and rub together to infuse
- Add butter to the sugar and cream until pale and creamy then add the chocolate and golden syrup and mix
- Add the egg and mix again, being sure to scrape the bowl with a spatula
- sift in the flour, cocoa powder, salt and add the spices then mix in cohesive dough. Chill for 45 minutes.
- dust some flour on a piece of baking paper and roll out large enough for the base template, place on the tray then cut it out while on the tray, cut out the holes for the stars and moon and house windows. place in fridge for 20 minutes on the tray while you preheat the oven to 180c 350f
- Bake for 12 minutes, turning tray half way through then add some crushed boiled sweets into the holes you cut out and bake for 3 more minutes until they have melted.
For the tree layers I used a brown butter hazelnut speculaas dough that i shared on instagram, to see how to prepare the dough see my highlights here,
Roll out on floured paper and place paper on tray and then cut out, see photos at the bottom of the post. I added texture to the trees using a blunt knife. Bake the large tree layers for about 10 minutes, turning tray half way and the smaller tree layer for 4 minutes, then turn the tray and bake for a further 4 minutes at 180c
To cut the dough use a sharp knife.
Frame and side layers
For the top layer and side panels I made a half batch of this dough recipe from last years deer shadow box, and added a 1tsp of grated orange zest.
Bake frame and side layers for approx. 8 minutes at 180c, turn tray half way through for an even bake.
These are the directions for last years one, but as its made in a similar way I have included it here as it was for that post.
Gingerbread shadow box
- baking paper
- 4 large flat baking trays
- battery powered fairy lights (optional)
- 150 grams unsalted butter softened
- 90 grams caster sugar
- 90 grams soft light brown sugar
- 100 ml golden syrup i use lyles
- 100 ml black treacle i use lyles
- 600 grams plain flour
- 1 and a half tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 10 tbsp milk
- a couple hard candy sweets in yellow or orange
- icing sugar
- gold lustre dust optional
- In a large bowl using an electric whisk cream the softened butter with the sugars until pale and fluffy.
- Add the golden syrup and treacle and whisk together until combined
- mix the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt together then add to the wet ingredients
- Add milk a table spoon at a time until you have a soft dough
- Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours
- Cut out the template ready to start making the gingerbread (see downloads)
- take two large sheets of baking paper to roll the dough out on and get four large flat baking trays
- Flour one of the sheets of baking paper then take some of the dough and roll it out so its large enough for the template. Place the paper with the rolled dough on to a baking tray before you cut it out if its easier, or cut on a board and gently lift the paper across to the tray afterwards. then check its straight.
- Using a sharp knife cut around the template. Make sure the edges are straight and place tray in the fridge to chill while you make the next one
- Keep rolling the dough and cutting around the templates until you have all four. after you have cut it and its on the tray, place the template back over it to check the lines are straight.
- Preheat oven to 180c
- After the dough has chilled while the oven is preheating using clay tool or knife create texture on the trees creating lines to look like branches.
- Bake the top three layers for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden, The antlers can burn so keep and eye on them you can cover them with a tin foil after 4 minutes if you like.For the last layer that goes on the bottom, bake for 10 minutes, then add the crushed sweets in the star and moon holes and bake for a further 3 minutes. To make the stars i used a clay tool that was shaped like a star but you could use a straw and make circles and then use a knife to cut lines. The tool i used was like this one https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outus-Plastic-Ceramic-Sculpting-Assorted/dp/B01J9S3Z0A (the light blue one in the middle)(after 5 minutes i opened the oven and used a knife to poke the star holes open a bit more so they didn't close over when the dough baked.)
- Once all four layers are baked let them cool
- Using the left over dough, draw around one of the templates to get the size and cut a frame to go on the top, Then if you like make the deer cookies or any other shaped cookies you like
- Rub some icing sugar on the trees so it creates a snow pattern, then make some icing glue
- I mix a really thick icing using powdered sugar and water it should be so thick that it can't be poured and more like a paste
- Take the bottom layer with the stars and add some of the paste in small blobs around the edge. then place the next layer on top and gently press them together. continue this with the next layers.
- Once it is built, leave it laying flat to dry.
- To display place some lights behind it. i used battery powdered ones. you could even use the left over dough to build a compartment to place them in.
Preparing the shadow box
- stand mixer with paddle attachment
- 455 g icing sugar
- 80 g egg whites about 2 eggs
- 3 g cream of tartar
- 9 g water
- Sift the icing sugar to remove lumps, add in the bowl of the stand mixer and add the water, egg whites and cream of tartar, mix for a minute or two with the paddle attachment at a low/medium speed until combined, scrape bowl with a spatula and then turn up speed to high and mix for 5 minutes or until peaks form.Place in a bowl or lidded box and cover with a layer of plastic wrap touching the surface so a crust doesn't form then add a wet paper towel on top and add another layer of plastic wrap, then if using tub/box place on lid and keep in the fridge.lasts for two weeks.if using right away cover bowl with a damp towel until ready.
Other things you will need
- Piping bag
- edible wafer paper (i used one like this)
- edible pens and lustre dust and clear alcohol like vodka to mix paints
- modelling chocolate
Tips for dough
- Use flat baking trays.
- Once dough it rolled out onto the baking paper, place on to the tray and then cut out the template, this way you don’t have to move it once its cut.
- Use a sharp knife for detailed parts of the design and a pizza cutter for straight edges.
- Make dough in advance so it can chill.
- chill the cut dough on the tray for 20 minutes.
To make the edible paper trees, place a piece of the sugar paper on top of the template and trace the trees with an edible pen in black or brown or a mix of both.
This is the paper i used (that isn’t an affiliate link, i just wanted you to see the type of paper i used, I’m sure others will work fine too)
Dust over with some brown lustre dust or cocoa powder then cut out and set aside until ready yo use
The brand of lustre dust i use for the trees and foxes is called Sugarflair Dusting Colours, it looks like this
I added some gold dust to make it shiny.
The foxes are made with white modelling chocolate.
Knead it so its soft and roll out thinly, place the fox template on top, cut out.
Using the excess you cut off, roll up into balls and press onto the flat piece you cut to add shape for head, body and tail. Press on and then model into shape.
Mix lustre dust with a little vodka or clear alcohol and paint them then leave them to dry.
I split the house template in half and used two different doughs so you could see definition between the roof and walls and windows panels.
Cut out windows and add the door and use a ruler or blunt knife to make lines like wood. Bake for 5/6 minutes at 180c / 350f
Once all the layers have been baked and cooled place royal icing in a piping bag with a small plain nozzle.
Pipe icing for the mountains in the same place as it is on the template, add a few trees with icing then place on the house.
Add the next layer, leaving a gap around the bottom and side edges for the side panels.
Pipe icing on trees and ground, then continue with the next layers. Spread on more icing for thicker snow.
Add the fox onto the wet icing so it sticks.
Add side panels and glue together with royal icing.
Place the paper trees onto or just behind the layers stated on template.
Add the top frame layer using royal icing as glue. Make some footprints in the icing once it has started to dry.
Once completely dry you can brush on some green paint onto the trees if you wish.
Find a box slightly smaller and add some battery operated lights, or make a compartment with left over dough leaving an opening for the battery pack.
Use any left over dough for cookies, you only need one fox for the shadow box so if you make more use them on some cookies.
Last years deer shadow box
You can find the template for last deer gingerbread shadow box here
Other gingerbread creations include these gingerbread mushrooms