How to make gingerbread wagons that are overflowing with holiday cuteness
This may be one of the only cookies I can't bear to eat. These gingerbread wagons are completely edible, but they're just too darn cute to nibble on.
Instead I've filled these wagons with candy and set them out as decorations so I can look at them a little bit longer. These wagons are easy to make, and it goes pretty fast when putting them together in an assembly line fashion. And what fun the kids will have when making their own customized gingerbread wagon. I like to use chocolate-flavored coating to adhere the pieces together because it sets up quick.
The first thing to do is to make the gingerbread cookies, which can be made ahead of time (as long as no one snacks on them).
To a medium-size bowl, add the dry ingredients, and stir together. Set aside for a moment.
Cream the butter and brown sugar. Then mix in the egg, molasses and vanilla extract. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients to make the dough.
Chill the dough for at least an hour. Then cut the dough into quarters to make five batches of cookies (four quarters plus the scraps from each batch).
Lay the dough on parchment paper. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on top of the dough, and use a rolling pin to form a thin layer that's about 1/8 inch thick.
On the dough, lay templates made out of parchment paper for the bottom, sides and ends of the wagon. Cut out the pieces leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch between each piece (so the pieces don't touch one another as they bake).
Pull off the excess cookie dough, and save it for the final batch.
Bake in the oven for nine minutes. They bake quickly, so be careful to not bake them too long, or they'll get too brown.
Melt the chocolate candy coating in the microwave, and use it to adhere the sides to the bottom of the wagon, with the flat side of the cookie on the inside of the wagon.
Then attach the ends of the wagon with the melted chocolate coating.
For the wheels, separate mini Oreo cookies, and scrap off the filling. Attach the cookies to the bottom edge of the wagon.
When attaching the second set of wheels, lay a pretzel stick under the side that already has wheels on it so the wagon sits level. Then add the remaining two wheels.
A wagon needs a handle, for goodness' sake. This handle is made from a pretzel stick. Cut a 1/2-inch piece off the end of a pretzel.
Dip the cut end of the long piece into the chocolate.
Then lay the small piece on top of the chocolate, perpendicular to the long piece. Hold the handle upright for a moment, and then carefully lay the handle on parchment paper to dry.
Dip the back of a small spoon into chocolate, and use it to add scallops of chocolate to the top edges of the wagon.
Quickly sprinkle candies on the chocolate. It sets fast, so an option is to do one edge at a time so the candy will stick.
Dab melted chocolate on an end of the wagon. Then dip the cut end of the longest piece of the pretzel handle in chocolate, and attach it to the dab of chocolate that's already on the wagon. Hold the handle in place for a moment, and then carefully use a small glass as a prop to hold it in place while it sets.
Let the chocolate on the wagons set for about 30 minutes just to be on the safe side, especially for the handle, which is the most delicate part. Then fill with colorful candy, and enjoy this as a decoration or fun cookie treat. These wagons make adorable gifts too. Just be careful when wrapping them so that the handle stays in place.
Gingerbread wagon recipe
Prep time: 2 hours | Cook time: 1 hour | Inactive time: 2 hours | Total time: 5 hours
For the gingerbread wagon cookies
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Parchment paper cut into a 3 x 1-1/2-inch rectangle (template for the bottom of the wagon)
- Parchment paper cut into a 2-3/4 x 3/4-inch rectangle (template for the sides of the wagon)
- Parchment paper cut into a 1-1/2 x 3/4-inch rectangle (template for the ends of the wagon)
- Parchment paper for baking
For the gingerbread wagons
- 10 cubes (20 ounces) almond bark chocolate-flavored coating
- 20 small pretzel sticks
- 40 mini Oreo cookies, separated with the filling scraped off
- Candy sprinkles
- Chocolate Kisses candy (optional to fill the wagon)
- Rolo chocolate-covered caramel candy (optional to fill the wagon)
For the gingerbread wagon cookies
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- To a medium-size mixing bowl, add the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Stir the ingredients until incorporated. Set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the butter and sugar. Beat with a mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg, molasses and vanilla extract. Beat until incorporated.
- Turn the mixer to low speed, and slowly add the flour mixture. Beat until a dough forms.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, form into a round, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Cut the chilled dough into quarters. Cut a piece of parchment paper into the size of the baking pan that will be used (either a cookie sheet or large pizza pan). Set the parchment paper on a flat surface, such as a very large cutting board or kitchen counter.
- Lay 1/4 of the dough on the parchment paper. Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on top of the dough, and roll it into a thin layer (about 1/8 inch thick).
- Remove the plastic wrap, and use the parchment paper templates to cut out 4 wagon bottoms, 8 wagon sides and 8 wagon ends. Place each template about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch apart from one another when cutting (so there will be a space between each cookie after they bake).
- Remove the excess dough from in between each piece of cookie dough, and save it for use in the last batch. Carefully slide the parchment paper with the cookie dough onto the baking pan.
- Bake for no longer than 9 minutes (unless a more crispy cookie is desired). Be careful to not bake them too long, or they'll get too brown.
- Remove from the oven, and let cool. Repeat the process with the 3 remaining quarters of dough. Then make 1 more batch of cookies using the excess dough.
For the gingerbread wagons
- To a medium-size bowl, add 3 cubes of almond bark. Warm in the microwave for about 45 seconds, and stir. Warm in the microwave again for about 45 seconds, and stir. If needed to thoroughly melt the coating, warm again in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
- On a plate or cutting board, lay the large-size cookie (bottom of the wagon) with the flat side down.
- For the sides of the wagon: To the middle-size cookie (side of the wagon), dip the longest edge in the melted coating, and attach it to the bottom of the wagon (flat side toward the inside of the wagon). Either hold the side upright until the coating starts to set, or use a small glass to prop up the side. Repeat for the other side of the wagon.
- Melt additional chocolate coating as needed.
- For the ends of the wagon: To the small-size cookie (end of the wagon), dip the longest edge in the coating, plus dab additional coating on the inside edges of the left and right sides of the flat side of the cookie. Then attach to the sides of the wagon. Repeat for the other end of the wagon.
- For the trim on the wagon: Dip the back side of a small spoon in the coating, and make small scallops around the top edges of the wagon. Quickly top with candy sprinkles. So that the candy will stick, an option is to do this 1 edge at a time since the coating sets up so fast. Set aside until the coating sets (about 5 minutes).
- For the wheels on the wagon: Dip the back of a small spoon in melted coating, and dab it on 1/2 of the filling side of an Oreo cookie. Lay the cookie coating side down on the bottom edge of the wagon. Repeat for the second wheel parallel to the first wheel. After the coating sets (about 5 minutes), turn the wagon over, and lay a pretzel underneath it so it's level, then repeat the process to add the remaining 2 wheels.
- For the handle on the wagon (part 1): For each pretzel, cut a 1/2-inch piece off of an end. To the largest piece, dip the cut edge into melted coating, and lay the short piece on top of the coating, perpendicular to the long piece. Hold the handle upright for a moment, then carefully lay it on parchment paper while the coating starts to set (about 5 minutes).
- For the handle on the wagon (part 2): Dab melted coating in the middle of 1 end of the wagon. Dip the uncut end of the pretzel handle into melted coating, and attach it to the dab of melted coating on the end of the wagon. Hold in place for a moment while the coating starts to set. Carefully use a small glass as a prop for the handle while the coating starts to set (about 5 minutes).
- Let the coating fully set (about 30 minutes or more to be on the safe side), and then fill the wagon with holiday candy Kisses and Rolo chocolate-covered caramel candy or your favorite colorful candy.