This year I made all vegan (cookies and royal icing) gingerbread village. Pretty happy with the result as I (and my two kids and husband) have only been (transitioning) vegan since end of July ^_^
Step 1: Cookies
You can use any kinds of molasses. I used two different molasses (fancy and dark) on mine, and the difference on the results that I could see was just some cookies were just darker in color compare to the others. The brown sugar also affects the result (color) of baked cookies.
For this upright gingerbread village, you will need 5 batches of this following recipe. It consists 4 tiers of round shaped cookies, 23 house shaped cookies, 20 star shaped cookies (didn't get to use all the stars in the end, tho)
1/2 c brown sugar (light or dark will result in lighter or darker cookies)
8 tbsp shortening (you can use coconut oil if you'd like or vegan butter - but for construction, I prefer shortening, easy on the $ :) Half batch I used coconut oil, the other half I used shortening)
2 flax eggs
3 1/4 c flour
1/2 c molasses (divide)
1 1/2 tsp ginger powder 1/2 tsp allspice powder 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp BSoda
A pinch of salt (The spices is depending how strong of flavor you'd like your cookies to be. You may add clove and nutmeg too)
Cream coconut oil and brown sugar
Beat in 1/4 c molasses
Add in dry mix a little at a time
Beat in the other 1/4 c molasses
Roll flat and cut as you like (either with cookie cutter or template)
Bake on preheated 350 F for 12-14 mins (10 for softer)
Cool on rack completely before decorating.
Step 2: Royal Icing
I used almost 3 cans of beans (you can use chickpea, black beans, or red kidney beans - when they are whipped, they became white - for black beans oo red kidney)
I did not use them (the whole 3 cans worth aquaba) all at once but I made one batch royal icing each time and see from there how much more I need to make, so the following recipe is a batch only!
60 g aquafaba
Mix about 300 g icing sugar with 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Beat aquafaba until frothy then beat in icing sugar mixture a little at a time, until it reaches the consistency that you like, it should hold its shape. (more icing sugar to make it stiffer if need be, or add a drop or two non dairy milk/apple cider vinegar to loosen it)
Start decorating your house! (cover royal icing with damp cloth/paper towel/in air tight container, when not being used) - This is perfect to be used right away, that is why I only make one batch at a time, each time, to see how stable and strong the result would be.
Step 3: Building the Village
For the houses, I let them air dried for 2 days at least. Royal icing will be harden as egg white based would be.
For the tiers, I let them air dried for 3 days, so I did them first before I decorated the houses.
Once royal icing is hardened on the cookies and tiers, I started "gluing" the cookies onto the tiers and build up the village from there.
On the very top tier, I then glued 5 large star shape and place an LED candle. The rest of the stars (small, medium and large shapes), are glued here and there (a couple on top of houses, made them as churches, the rest were glued going up from bottom, like a staircase)
For the base I used OSB that my husband made and this OSB is glued to a rotating cake stand.
I also had a very minimum fondant decorations, you can make yourself, or buy certain brand (Wilton has vegan fondant too apparently, if you are on a budget, but I would go with Satin Ice instead). To attach the fondant, I also use the vegan royal icing.
I use spider web for covering the OSB and the result somehow reminds me of a cloud atlas movie, not sure why, so sometimes I refer this village as village above the cloud *grin*