Gingerbread VW Bus T1

Christmas is on the doorstep and as this year we are not away but actually staying in beautiful Switzerland I had thought about home decoration and Christmas cookies. And gingerbread. 

Just for the record: world's best gingerbread, or Lebkuchen as we call them in German, are made by my Grandma. I truly hope the recipe of hers will be handed down to daughters and granddauthers eventually. 

Anyway, in a wonderful and very useful cookbook for VW Bus owners I came across the idea of a gingerbread VW Bus. Probably everone has once had or made a gingerbread house.... my first try with the house a couple of years ago wasn't that bad, so I though I'd give it a try. The result might not be perfect, but it's not bad at all either:

 

And here's my step by step explanation:

1 - do yourself a plan, or get from the book mentioned above

2 - I didn't use the recipe in the book for the loaf, but a different one:

3 - Dough: 600 g honey; 200 g candied lemon peel (Zitronat), 100 g candied orange peel (Orangeat), 750 g flour, 20 g gingerbread spice, 1 EL cacao, 20 g natron

Icing: 2 eggwhites, about 400 g powdered sugar

Let the honey with about 1/8l water boil. Mince the candied lemon and orange peel thoroughly. Mix flour, citron, orange, spice, cacao in a large bowl, add the honey after it has cooled a bit. Dissolve the natron in 3 tablespoons of water and add to the dough. Knead to a smooth dough. Let it rest for about an hour at room temperature. Then knead again. 

4 - Divide into 3 or 4 pieces. Roll the dough piece by piece, it should be max 5mm thick. Cut out the different parts of the bus and bake about 15 minutes at 175 degree C. 

Let the parts cool out before actually putting them together. 

For the icing: Beat eggwhite until stiff. Add the powdered sugar and mix until chewy. Use as glue.

5 - To build the vehicle, the  you can use cups for stabilization and fix the parts with toothpicks. You should let the icing dry about so it's stable before adding the next part. 

6 - Decoration: Be creative! 

I used mainly icing, chocolate, smarties, gums and a bit of food colors.

Our bus is not perfect, it doesn't actually stand on its wheels, but sits on the body, but it's still a beauty. We decorated it rather flower-power style than christmas-y and are planning on NOT eating it. The recipe above leaves you with additional dough (if you don't need more than 1 try to get decent parts) to make actual ginerbread cookies to eat. 

7 - Here's the final product:

 

Et voila!

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