Good evening everyone! I hope you are enjoying some favorite Christmas traditions as we are now in December. This weekend I worked on some of my Christmas baking and I am excited to share one of the projects with you here so you can try to make one for your family this year.
How to Make a Gingerbread Christmas Tree
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My niece Morgan had seen a pin on Pinterest and sent it to me asking if we could make one for Christmas. It was a gingerbread Christmas tree and it looked adorable! I did a little research and found that Wilton had a kit that let you make one of these trees but they aren’t making it anymore so I found one on ebay and ordered it.
The kit included 10 star cookie cutters that are graduated in size from large to small, 2 pastry bags, 2 icing tips, and an instruction booklet. What I found is that if you are able to find a set of star cookie cutters that is similar where the sizes are graduated then you should be able to make this tree without having to find the actual Wilton kit and you can pick up the other items at most craft stores for the icing.
I read through the instruction booklet to see if they had a recipe for the cookies and they did – but they actually weren’t gingerbread! It was a basic cookie recipe and we really wanted to make our tree out of gingerbread so I used a recipe for gingerbread cookies that I already had to make the cookies. Here’s the recipe for you:
Gingerbread Cookie Recipe-
½ cup butter (at room temperature)
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup honey (you can also use agave nectar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons ginger powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cloves
Preheat oven to 350®. Cream together butter, sugar, molasses and honey. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. On a floured surface, roll dough in batches to ¼ inch thickness. Cut cookies and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 7-9 minutes and let cool before decorating.
You will need to cut out 2 of each size star using the cookie cutters in order to build your tree.
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I am pretty picky when it comes to baking cookies and I have 2 tricks that I use when baking cookies. The first is that I always bake my cookies on stone cookie sheets instead of regular cookie sheets. I have two Pampered Chef large bar pans and these are the only thing I use to bake cookies. You can also find stone cookie sheets in Walmart and Bed Bath and Beyond if you don’t know anyone that is a Pampered Chef associate, or if you don’t want to pay that much for one. The second and most important trick for making your cookies turn out fabulous is to let them cool and set for a while once you remove them from the oven. I let my gingerbread star cookies sit for 30 minutes on the bar pans once I took them out, and then transferred them to wire racks to sit another 15 minutes. Allowing the cookies to set this long really gives you a great final product and they are very sturdy and less likely to break this way.
While I waited for the cookies to cool, I made my icing. Now I’ll be honest here, I had a lot of baking to do on this Saturday and I wasn’t looking forward to making icing from scratch. So I decided to make an executive decision and phoned it in when it came to icing – I bought a can of vanilla icing in the store and used this for my decorating icing. I added enough green food coloring until it was a color that I liked for the Christmas tree and we were ready to decorate our tree.
Once the cookies cooled thoroughly I used a plastic turntable so it was easier to be able to decorate all sides of the tree. I set one of the largest stars on the center of the turntable and swirled a little icing in the center of the cookie. I then took the second of the largest stars and set it on top of the first slightly turned so they would alternate and the points of each star would not be lined up. I added a swirl of icing to the center of the second cookie and placed one of the next size star cookies on the center, again staggering the points of the star. I continued this with each cookie until all of the cookies had been stacked on top of each other.
Here’s a quick tip that will help you to have a stable tree: before you start to decorate the tree make sure all of the coolies are straight and not sliding off on one side. I found that I had to realign the stars a couple of times because they weren’t centered just right and they would start to slide off on one side.
Once the cookies were stacked and centered, I took the remaining icing and piped a little on the tips of each star on the tree. This is one of the wonderful things about this project – even if the cookies don’t turn out looking great you can still use them because only the top star and the tips of the cookies show on the tree.
There are so many ways that you can decorate your gingerbread Christmas tree! When I stopped at the store to buy the can of icing I also looked at what they had that I could use as decorations. They had the small spice drops and candy pearls so I picked up a bag of each of those. But they also had one pack left of the icing sugar decorations in a Christmas theme with wreaths, stockings, trees, and candy canes so I picked this up as well.
Morgan decorated the tree and she did a wonderful job! She started by placing the spice drops throughout the tree and then added the icing sugar decorations. One trick that we used was to add a little dollop of icing to the back of the icing sugar decorations so that they would stay on the tree. Finally, she added the candy pearls throughout the tree to fill in any bare areas.
I hope you enjoy our final product – we think it turned out wonderful and look forward to making one every year going forward now! I’d love to hear what baking traditions your family has and see some pictures of your creations so comment and share yours below. And please share this post so that others can use this idea if they’d like for decorating this Christmas!
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