Since people make and decorate gingerbread houses all the time, I thought it'd be interesting to switch it up a little and just decorate a certain part of the house: the fireplace. I mean in real life many people really do decorate their fireplaces for the holidays, whether it's with stockings, holly, wreaths, or holiday lights. I decided to keep it simple with just a string of lights and a small fire :).
Red Velvet Shortbreadadapted from Better Homes and Gardens
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) butter, diced up
1 tbsp red food coloring
green, yellow, red gummy bears
Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Cut the butter into the mixture until it forms crumbs. Add in the red food coloring and mix till evenly distributed. Gather the dough and sandwich it between two pieces of plastic wrap.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Roll out the dough to 1/4" thick. Take a knife and cut out 3x3 inch squares from the dough. Then cut out 1.5x1.5 inch squares from the bottom of each square as shown below. Place the fireplace shaped shapes on parchment lined baking sheets. Chill the sheets in the fridge for 10 minutes. Then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack.
To prepare the gummy bears, take kitchen shears and cut off the gummy bears' arms and legs and place them on a piece of parchment paper (sticky side down).
Decorating Fireplace Cookiesred velvet shortbread cookies (above)
gummy bear arms & feet (above)
yellow food coloring
orange food coloring
brown food coloring
green food coloring
First, dip the top edge of the fireplace cookies in melted white chocolate and place on a piece of parchment paper to dry. Next, take melted dark chocolate and use it to draw rectangles a bit larger than the 1.5x1.5 inch cookie holes on another piece of parchment paper. Place one cookie on top of each chocolate rectangle before it dries, making sure the hole is completely covered by the chocolate. Wait for the chocolate to dry.
Mix orange food coloring with some royal icing. Use a toothpick and draw a spiky flame on the dried chocolate. Let dry. Mix some yellow food coloring with some royal icing. Use a toothpick and draw a smaller flame on top of the orange flame. Let dry. Mix some brown food coloring with some royal icing and draw some log shapes on the bottom edge of the piece of chocolate. Let dry.
Tint some royal icing a teal green color and place it in a piping bag. Pipe three loops of green icing along the bottom edge of the white chocolate. Take a gummy bear arm/leg and dip half of it in royal icing. Place it under the green icing "string," just touching the bottom side. Repeat with the rest of the gummy bear arms/legs, alternating colors as seen above.