Centerpiece to Dessert: Fully Edible Christmas Village
Updated: Feb 26, 2020
Whether made of paper, porcelain, or gingerbread, tiny snow-covered villages are quintessential at Christmas. Why not have one that's perfect for entertaining? Follow this Salem & Binx tutorial and create a simple, easy-to-assemble, fully-edible Christmas village - the perfect treat for your guests to enjoy this holiday!
Each year, I swoon at the thought of creating a stunning, intricate, heavily detailed gingerbread village - or even a simple, minimalistic one - but as lovely as it would be to have (let alone attempt) such a display for a centerpiece, that's really all it will be... a centerpiece. For one thing, recipes for gingerbread pieces used for building structures differ from regular gingerbread cookies all-together. For another, the time it takes to assemble and dry doesn't allow for any part of it to remain fresh enough to be eaten. Although gorgeous, and impressive, gingerbread houses are rarely all that "edible," despite the fact that they're made with edible materials (cookies, frosting, candies, etc.)...
With this in mind I was inspired to create a miniature gingerbread village that IS fully edible (or easier to eat, that is), and easy to create.
Something simple that would be easy to assemble - a centerpiece indeed, but one that says "dig in, guests!"
So, I give you: The Fully Edible Christmas Village...
It's essentially a village (on a serving platter) consisting of miniature gingerbread cakes, baked in the shapes of houses, laying atop a bed of snow (white cotton candy), beside edible evergreen trees (rice-crispy cereal), all sprinkled with powdered sugar.
YOU WILL NEED:
Gingerbread Cake Recipe (I used) or spice cake mix (I'd use)
Cream Cheese Frosting; store-bought (I used) or homemade (I'd use)
Gingerbread Village Cakes
Spray cake pan with cooking spray for baking. Whether you are using a recipe from scratch or a mix, follow the mixing and baking instructions provided. Once done, let cool. Remove from mold or pan and set aside. Double the recipe to create a larger village.
GINGERBREAD BUNDT CAKE (recipe I used) by Confessions of a Baking Queen: (Makes 12 Houses)
1 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Molasses
4 Large Eggs, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour/ Plain Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1 Tablespoons Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350F and heavily grease Nordic Ware® Cozy Village cake pan.
2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, baking soda, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves.
3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large bowl with a handheld whisk, beat the softened butter with both sugars for 3-5 minutes. It is important to get the butter sugar mixture very light and fluffy. When the mixture is fluffy, add the molasses and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides to ensure you are getting every nook and cranny.
4. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add half of the flour mixture, and use a spatula to gently fold in.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, whole milk, and vanilla extract.
6. Add the milk mixture to the cake batter—again, gently folding in. Then, finally, add the remaining flour mixture.
7. Pour the gingerbread batter into the prepared Nordic Ware® Cozy Village pan. Use an offset spatula to spread the batter into an even layer in each "house."
8. Bake for about 20 minutes until, when you gently press the center of each cake, it bounces back or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no wet batter; moist crumbs are okay. Let cool, then remove cakes gently with a spoon, and set aside on a wire rack. Cut off any excess cake so the bottom of each house is flat.
Rice Krispie® time! The original Kellog's recipe is great to use, but I have found that with more marshmallows and a bit less cereal makes molding the trees a little bit easier so here are the measurements I use:
RICE KRISPIE® CEREAL TREES: (Makes 5-6 Trees)
3 tbsp of butter
6 Cups of mini marshmallows
5 cups of Rice Krispie Cereal®
Green food coloring
1. Prepare a space with parchment or wax paper for setting aside completed trees.
2. Then, in large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
3. Stir in desired amount of green food coloring. I like trees to look quite dark as they are evergreens. (*If you'd like to get creative create two batches; both with lots of green, and one with an added drop of blue to create a nordic blue spruce-colored tree.)
4. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES® cereal. Stir until well coated.
5. Butter or wet hands and begin grabbing chunks of the mixture, shaping them into cone-like trees. Place them aside on the wax or parchment paper area, and let dry. If they are still warm and melt after being shaped, try to reshape them again before they dry entirely. Set aside.
Place platter in desired spot for display.
Open package of white cotton candy and begin pulling chunks of it out. Pull the chunks apart a bit to create a fluffy look, then lay the pieces about on your serving tray. Make sure the whole tray is covered.
Place your gingerbread house cakes and Rice Krispie trees on the cotton candy, wherever and however you like.
Sprinkle desired amount of powdered sugar over the entire village (remember, you want to make out the details of the houses and trees so don't blanket it too much, but still sprinkle enough that each piece will have a sugar coating when eaten).
Sprinkle desired amount of white sparkling sugar sprinkles for a bit of added winter sparkle.
Your very own Fully Edible Christmas Village!
Separately, when serving, scoop several spoonfuls of cream cheese frosting into a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup for 20 seconds at a time, until smooth and glaze-like. Let guests drizzle the glaze over their plates as they wish - enjoy!
Impress your guests with a gorgeous centerpiece they can actually enjoy eating! Although this Christmas village is easy to put together, it will look as though it took you quite a bit of time and effort, so get ready for the compliments...
If you're short on time, or you need to transport the display, create the cakes and trees before-hand, place them in Tupperware® (not the fridge as they'll harden), and assemble the display when needed.
DO NOT OPEN COTTON CANDY UNTIL SERVING (before guests arrive, not hours before). Cotton candy shrinks and hardens with too much air exposure, so only open and display the cotton candy when ready to complete the display all-together/serve to guests.
On a scale from BASIC to EXTRA, this creation falls somewhere right in the middle.
As there are only three necessary components when creating a Christmas village - miniature houses, winter trees, and snow - this little platter still leaves plenty of room to play! Make it as detailed as you like, or keep it minimalistic - either way you're sure to have a delicious and festive Christmas Village that will be the highlight of your holiday...
"Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!" 🎄🏘🌨
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