I saw in a recent newspaper the other day an idea similar to this and got to thinking. I can do that, and I can make it even cooler! So I’ve listed the steps that I created below, but remember you can actually do this with any cookie recipe that you like; I just liked the way the brown and green contrasted with each other.
First I gathered all the goods for the gingerbread, and then figured out what cookie cutters I liked. It’s important to take a few minutes to figure out what shapes and sizes you like for tree. There really is no pattern per se, you really just have to stack the cutters on top of each other and use some imagination! I also made sure to cut out several extra of each shape in case there were any “oops” moments and in case I happened to like one shape more than I thought I would!
Once you have all of the ingredients mixed together in one giant gingerbread ball, roll it out into about a 1/4” thick sheet of gingerbread. Believe me, in order to save time, patience, and sharp edges on your cookies bake the sheet of gingerbread and THEN cut out your cookie shapes! Don’t bother cutting out the shapes in the raw dough, it’s only a pain, and even thought these cookies don’t rise a whole lot, they are still going to grow a little bit and leave undesirable edges. If you’re worried about “wasting” unused scraps of the baked cookie dough, don’t kid yourself. Put the extras in a bowl and set it out for kitchen by passers to munch on. Let’s be honest, as soon as you open that oven door and the smell of warm cookies waft out, you might as well have tossed a bucket of chum into a sharks cage! Swarms of hungry hands will be attacking for anything you let them have!
After much debate I finally choose what shape cookies I thought looked best stacked as together as a tree and proceeded to color them with royal icing. Again, there is no method to the madness here on what decorating techniques to use, I was going for a bit of a funky look to my tree.
Let the icing on the cookies stiffen up for a bit before stacking (now would be a good time to clean up a bit!), and figure out what you would like the tree to be placed on.
Assemble your tree using a little bit extra icing in between the layers of cookies to act as a glue to keep from tumbling over. Put your star on top and smile at your creation. Honestly, I couldn’t bring myself to eat this one so it is currently standing tall on my kitchen window sill looking mighty festive! I’m now thinking that next year I ought to to make this same style tree, only bigger and use it as a center piece! Ohhh the possibilities!
The gingerbread recipe that I used is below, but remember you can actually use any cookie that you like best!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1 cup Molasses
1 cup Unsalted Butter
3 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Cinnimon
1) First melt the butter and molasses together and lightly whisk until smooth. Let rest until room temperature.
2) Combine the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, and mix them together with a fork.
3) Pour the molasses and butter mixture on top of the combined dry ingredients and fold the mixture together, cutting though it several times to make sure it is well mixed.
4) If the mixture is looking too “wet” add a tablespoon of flour at a time until you can roll the mixture together into a loose ball (picture shown above)
5) Using parchment paper to cover both the top and bottom of the gingerbread dough ball, roll the dough out into a 1/4” thickness. Remove top layer of parchment paper and place in oven.
6) Bake for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees. If however you did not take my advice on the cutting the shapes out AFTER the gingerbread sheet is cooked, the gingerbread dough cut outs only need around 5 minutes at 400.
Good luck! And don’t be afraid to be creative and think outside of the Christmas tree shape and color!