Hands-on Time
1 Hour 30 Mins
Total Time
3 Hours 45 Mins
Yields 3 short and 3 tall boxes
Photo: Jonny Valiant; Styling: Blake Ramsey Murray

How to Make It

Step 1

Make gingerbread: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt shortening. Whisk in sugar and molasses; mix well. Remove pan from heat and stir in flour mixture until combined.

Step 2

Divide dough in half. Let sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. While still warm, roll out dough on a floured sheet of parchment to about 1/8-inch thickness. Use a knife and a clean ruler to cut dough into 12 3-inch squares (for bottoms and lids), 12 4-by-2 1/2-inch rectangles (for tall boxes) and 12 2 1/2-inch squares (for short boxes). Reroll scraps as needed. Transfer to baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.

Step 4

Bake in batches until firm and browning at edges, 15 to 17 minutes per batch. If edges have bowed, use flat side of a knife to press edges inward while cookies are still hot. Let pieces cool on parchment on wire racks.

Step 5

Make royal icing: Stir until thick and fluffy. Fill a piping bag with icing. (Or spoon into a ziplock bag; using scissors, cut a small hole in corner.)

Step 6

Build boxes: Pipe icing decorations on all side panels (4-by-2 1/2-inch and 2 1/2-inch-square pieces); let set for 1 hour. Pipe icing generously around perimeter, close to edges, of a 3-inch square. Pipe along sides and edges of side panels; set side panels on bottom piece. Pipe decorative stripes on outside seams. To create a lid, use icing to adhere a large candy to center of a 3-inch square. Repeat until all cookies are used. Let boxes dry overnight.

Step 7

GIVE THEM Fill boxes with candy (gumdrops, miniature candy canes and hard candies work well) and place lids on top. Wrap in cellophane and tie with ribbon.

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