Introduction: Moving Gingerbread Train Cookie

About: Hi, I'm Jen! In my free time I'm a crafter, food lover, and cake decorator. I have a genuine love and appreciation for all things creative and handmade.
My motivation to attempt this moving train cookie started when my four year old son was decorating basic gingerbread cookies with frosting. He had a cut-out of a train and after he decorated it he said, "Mommy, I want this train to drive."

I thought to myself.....there's really no reason I can't do that! If you want to attempt this you will, however, need a very powerful little moving contraption to build your train around. I used a (modified) wind-up Lego car but some of the Tomica cars are also very powerful and work quite well.

You will need the following recipes and items:

Gingerbread Cookies
1 C. Butter
1 C. Brown Sugar
1 C. Molasses
1 Egg
5 C. Flour
3/4 t. Baking Soda
3 t. Pumpkin Pie Spice

Buttercream Frosting
2 lbs Confectioners' Sugar
1 1/4 C. Butter
1/2 C. Water
1 t. Vanilla Extract

Royal Icing
1 1/2 C. Confectioners' Sugar
1/8 t. cream of tartar
1 egg white

Decorating Bags
Decorating Tips and Couplers
Food Coloring
Train Pattern
Candies of some sort to fill the coal car.
Something powerful to move your train

Step 1: Make the Gingerbread Dough

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

1 c. Butter
1 c. Brown Sugar
1 c. Molasses
1 Egg
5 c. Flour
3/4 t. Baking Soda
3 t. Pumpkin Pie Spice

In a large mixing bowl cream butter and brown sugar together. (You can substitute dark brown sugar if you want the dough really dark brown - I don't find it necessary if you don't have it on hand) Add molasses and egg. Mix well.

Sift flour, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice together and add to wet mixture.

The dough will be tough to mix. If you have a stand mixer use it! I don't so I always end up mixing it with my hands to make sure everything is well incorporated. Might as well start getting dirty now because it's going to happen sooner or later with this one!

Divide your dough in half, wrap with plastic wrap and chill until firm - about 1 1/2 hours.

Step 2: Make the Frosting and Icing

Buttercream Frosting
2 lbs Powdered Sugar
1 1/4 c. Butter
1/2 c. Water
1 t. Vanilla Extract

In a large mixing bowl combine powdered sugar, 1 c. butter, water, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Melt remaining 1/4 cup of butter in the microwave and add to frosting. Beat again until smooth and creamy.

Using food coloring choose colors and mix until color is consistent. I like to make more frosting and colors than needed.....just in case! You can always refrigerate the leftovers for your next creation. Spoon frosting into prepared piping bags.

Royal Icing**
1 1/2 c. Powdered Sugar
1/8 t. cream of tartar
1 egg white

In a small mixing bowl sift together powdered sugar and cream of tartar. Using and electric mixer add egg white and beat until it can hold its shape. Spoon into a prepared piping bag.

**There is much controversy over using raw eggs in royal icing because of the possibility of bacteria. I only use local organic eggs so I feel fine about it, but feel free to use what ever royal icing recipe you are comfortable with.

Sorry for not picturing the royal icing step. My photos were way too dark and blurry.

Step 3: Cut and Bake the Gingerbread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Draw and cut out a pattern of pieces you will need to cut from the dough to construct a train. My patterns are pretty crude but you will need something measured out.

On a lightly floured surface roll out dough to approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Using a table knife cut the shapes you will need.

Transfer pieces to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 12 - 15 minutes. You will want the cookies to be hard enough as to not break during assembly.

Tip: When you take the gingerbread out of the oven and it is still hot re-cut your pieces so they are exactly the same size as your pattern. You don't have to but you might be pulling your hair out when it comes time to assemble and decorate if you don't!

Step 4: Assemble the Train

You will want to construct the engine car around what ever moving object you are using so it will be the correct size. Keep this in mind when you draw out your pattern! :)

Since I used a wind-up Lego car I wound it up as far as it would go and put breaks on the bottom to keep the wheels from turning.

Use the royal icing like glue to put the wheels on your train cars. Let sit until hardened.

Build the engine car around your moving contraption and continue assembly with the other train cars. Use cans, glasses or anything else heavy to keep your cookies in place until the icing sets. Once it is set you can easily move the pieces around to decorate them.

Step 5: Decorate the Train

It's finally the fun part!

Using the buttercream frosting and your imagination decorate the train cars. I embellished them with silver dragees.

I found it easier to decorate the engine car without the Lego car underneath it so once the engine car is complete gently lift it up and put it back on top of your moving contraption.

Once the other cars are decorated use the remaining pieces of gingerbread to hook the train cars together with royal icing.

Fill the coal car with white chocolate chips or anything else you want. Maybe some mini animal cookies?!

Don't forget to take a picture because you just put in a lot of time and hard work!

Step 6: Train in Motion

This is a short clip of the train in motion. Sorry it's so small - I couldn't figure out how to make it any bigger.
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