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Gingerbread Birdhouse Ornaments

1 recipe Basic Gingerbread Cutout Cookies
Egg wash (1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water)
Square cookie cutter
Heart cookie cutter
Tiny round cutter or pastry tip for the "door"
Cinnamon sticks, cut thin and into 1/2-inch lengths
Ribbon or gold cord

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spritz 2 cookie trays with non-stick baking spray. Make Basic Gingerbread Cutout Cookie dough according to recipe directions.

Cut 4 squares from the dough and space them well apart on a cookie sheet. Brush the top half of the square with egg wash.

Cut 4 hearts from the dough. Brush the round parts with egg wash, turn the dough over and place hearts upside down on the top part of the base to form a peaked roof.

Poke a 1/2-inch hole in the house, just below the roof, with a tiny round cutter or the end of a pastry tip to make a "door."

Using a metal skewer or toothpick, poke a hole at the top of the roof for the string and poke a second hole under the "door" for a perch. The perch will be inserted after the cookies are baked.

Bake the cookies for 9 to 10 minutes until they are firm and no indentation remains when touched.

While the cookies are still on the tray and the dough is warm and soft, re-poke the hole in the roof and re-poke the hole for the perch.

Immediately insert a short length of a cinnamon stick into the perch hole.

Now the cookies may be transferred to a tray to cool.

Frost the roof with Royal Frosting and decorate with sprinkles.

When ready to hang, string a ribbon or gold cord through the top. Makes about 24 birdhouses.

Ornamental Frosting:
2 /3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 egg whites
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Beat all ingredients together. Cover bowl with a damp cloth until ready to use. If you don't have a pastry bag and decorative tips, place the frosting in a zip-lock plastic bag and take a tiny snip off a corner. Use to pipe outlines and decorations as you would a pastry bag.

Thursday, December 14, 2000

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