- Follow the recipe for the basic gingerbread dough mix (it’s best to do this the day before). When you’re ready to make your gingerbread train, remove the dough from the fridge. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180ºC, fan 160ºC. Print and cut out the Gingerbread train template. Line two flat baking trays with nonstick baking paper.
- Divide the dough in half and roll out one half between two pieces of nonstick baking paper to the thickness of a £1 coin. Remove the top piece of paper and, using the template and a sharp knife, cut out as many shapes as you can from the template. You will need to collect the trimmings and re-roll the dough until all the dough is used up. Keeping the dough on the paper that you rolled it out on, carefully transfer the cut-outs onto the lined baking sheets and chill in the fridge for 10 mins then place straight in the oven to bake for 10-12 mins. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining dough until you have made and baked all the shapes from the template.
- Make up the royal icing to pack instructions. Spoon into a large piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle, or a clean sanwich bag with a small corner snipped off. Cover any remaining icing with cling film to stop it drying out.
Make the front of the train
Pipe icing in a thin layer down each long side of 1 x train base. Gently press 2 x L-shaped train sides either side into the icing and hold until beginning to set. Use tins or jars to support the sides until set (this can take up to 2 hrs). Once set, assemble all the other parts of the train in the same way: 1 x train roof; 1 x back of train; 1 x front of train with 2 x lengths of strawberry pencil fixed on top to rest 1 x triangular buffer; and 2 x buffer beams, fixed into a prism at the front of the train.
Once the train has set, sandwich together 5 x engine with icing and place in the front of the train. Finally, attach the wheels. Pipe icing on the top third of 3 x wheels and fix along the train so 1/4 of the wheels hang below the train. Leave to set before turning over and attaching 3 x wheels to the other side of the train.
Make the coal carriage
Pipe icing in a thin layer along each long side of 1 x coal carriage base. Gently press 2 x coal carriage sides into the icing and hold until beginning to set. Use tins or jars to support the sides until set. Once set, attach 1 x front and 1 x back of carriage with icing as before. Attach 3 x wheels as before, allow to set and attach 3 x wheels to the other side.
Make the log carriage
Sandwich together 3 x log carriage, making sure you only ice the middle of the biscuits or the icing will spill out over the edges. Leave to set then attach 6 x wheels as before.
Make the passenger carriage
Pipe icing in a thin layer along each long side of 1 x passenger base. Attach 2 x passenger carriage sides and allow to set. Attach the 1 x passenger carriage front, 1 x passenger carriage back and 1 x passenger carriage roof and allow to set. Finally, attach 6 x wheels as before.
To decorate your train
Use icing to attach white chocolate buttons to the centre of each wheel. Once set, cut 8 x lengths strawberry pencil to fit the length of each train compartment and attach to the chocolate buttons, along the wheels.
Attach liquorice allsorts to the front and back of the carriages to form the ‘coupling’ or ‘bumpers’.
Pipe icing along the edges of the train carriages and press gold and silver crisp pearls into the icing.
Attach 2 x square liquorice allsorts to the roof of the train to form a chimney. Spread icing around the base of the chimney and scatter over strawberry pencils.
Attach 1 x passenger carriage roof vent to the top of the passenger carriage, spread with icing and scatter over strawberry pencils.
Fill the coal carriage with marshmallows and stack chocolate flakes on the log carriage.
Tip: As the icing takes a while to set, it may be best to get the train and carriages built without the ends and leave to set overnight before sticking on the ends and detail the next day. This ensures the base and sides of the train and carriages are rock solid before continuing with any further sticking and detail.
Download the Gingerbread train template here