3/4 cup margarine or butter
1. In a large mixer bowl, beat margarine and shortening with electric mixer on medium speed until softened. Add sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, molasses, and lemon juice; beat until well combined.
2. Combine flours, ginger, allspice, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to margarine mixture; beat well. Divide dough into 4 equal portions; wrap each in clear plastic wrap. Chill 3 hours or until firm enough to roll.
3. Meanwhile, enlarge pattern pieces for the gingerbread farmyard. Grease the outside bottom of a 15x10x1-inch baking pan.
Quantity: 3 cups
3 egg whites
1. In a large mixer bowl, combine egg whites, powdered sugar, vanilla, and cream of tartar. Beat with electric mixer on high speed for 7 to 10 minutes or until the mixture is very stiff.
2. While using the frosting, keep the bowl covered with wet paper towels to prevent it from drying as you work. The frosting can be refrigerated overnight in a tightly covered container; stir before using.
1. Roll out one portion of the dough 1/4 inch thick on the back of the prepared pan. Place enlarged patterns for barn front and side on dough. Using a sharp knife, cut around patterns. Remove excess dough; reserve for re-rolling.
2. Using a table knife, cut through outlines of front barn doors; do not remove dough. Score lines for windows, side doors, and siding.
3. Bake in a 375 F. oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove gingerbread from oven. Lay patterns over cookies; trim edges if necessary. Re-cut the front doors. Cool on pan for 1 minute. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely.
4. Remove the doors. Repeat with additional dough and the remaining barn and roof pieces. On the roof pieces, score lines for shingles.
1. Roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick on the back of the prepared pan. Place enlarged silo patterns on the dough, and cut around them. Reroll dough as necessary.
2. To form roof, shape foil into a 3-inch-ball; flatten one side slightly to make into dome shape about 2 inches tall. Using a 4-inch circle of dough, press around and underneath foil dome until completely covered. Place seam side down on an ungreased baking sheet.
3. Bake in a 375 F. oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven. Lay pattern over the silo panel cookies; trim edges if necessary. Cool on pan for 1 minute. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely.
Instructions for Assembling the Farmyard
1. Cut a 14x11-inch piece of white cardboard for the bases of the barnyard. Cut another piece of cardboard from the barn back pattern for a center roof support.
2. Fit pastry bag with writing tip; fill half full with Royal Frosting. Outline doors, windows, and diagonal trim.
3. Assemble barn on the cardboard base. To join barn sides to back and front pieces, use star tip and pipe frosting on edges to be joined; press together (Small blobs of floral clay can be used to hold the corners of the barn in place until the frosting is thoroughly dry.) Insert cardboard cutout in center of barn and secure with frosting to sides of barn. Let frosting dry completely. Attach front doors.
4. Pipe frosting on top edges of barn and center support. Press roof pieces into place. Pipe frosting into seams between roof pieces. Outline shingles using the writing tip.
5. Decorate each silo panel top with checkerboard pattern. Cut a 6-inch length from a cardboard tube from plastic wrap or foil. With the star tip, pipe a line of frosting on center back of one silo wall; press to the cardboard tube. Repeat with remaining wall pieces. Pipe frosting down the edges where walls meet. Pipe frosting around the top edge of the silo; press on dome. Using the writing tip, decorate the dome as shown in the photograph of farmyard.
6. Decorate animals; stick to half-circle bases with frosting blobs. Secure between custard cups till frosting is dry. Arrange fence sections in zigzag line; secure to bases with frosting.
Hay Bales and Straw Instructions:
1. To make hay bales, place 1-1/2 cups coconut in a bowl. Add several drops green food coloring; cover and shake vigorously. In another bowl combine 3-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar, one 3-ounce package of softened cream cheese, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in coconut.
2. Turn onto a piece of buttered foil. Pat to a 6x5-inch rectangle. Cut into 1-1/2x1-inch rectangles. Tie with yellow or white string.
3. To make straw, tint a small amount of coconut yellow. Pipe frosting along edge of small barn door. Sprinkle coconut over frosting.