The gifts are bought, almost all wrapped, greeting cards sent and the house is decorated - with a week to spare! Other than a few more cookies that I'd like to bake, I am feeling pretty good about the holidays - especially since we are in for more snow and bitterly cold temperatures this weekend. During days like that, it feels good to snuggle indoors in warm fleece and slippers and be able bake and create.
Each December I like to try at least one new recipe or DIY with cookies. This Gingerbread Cookie Tree idea was found in Jamie Oliver's magazine and on his website here. I could not resist making one of my own. I used my own recipe for gingerbread cookie recipe which is not to sweet, not to spicy but just right and enjoyed by our family. I used my snowflake cookie cutter set to cut out large, medium and small stars.
First, a cone shape is made with cardboard or heavy-duty craft paper. I covered my cone with brown construction paper so the spaces between the cookies would not show up quite as much. If you want your tree to be edible, I would suggest wrapping the cone with plastic film wrap. I didn't, since mine was going to be used strictly as a decoration.
I started 'glueing' the cookies to the cone starting at the bottom with the largest cookies and working my way up to the top with medium cookies and then the smallest ones at the top. I broke off bits and pieces here and there to get the cookies to fit together better and used some of the pieces to fill in holes around the tree too. I used a egg white Gingerbread House frosting as my 'glue' and it worked beautifully. When the frosting was 'set' I added some artificial berries to the tree and wrapped it with tiny LED lights.
This would be a great holiday project for the older kids in your family (or for the kid in you). Feel free to use any cut-out cookie recipe you like! It was fun and fairly easy to put together with the gingerbread house frosting recipe I found which worked really well. Not nearly as pretty as Jamie's but not too bad for a first try :)
Not certain if I'll be back here before Christmas but, if not, please have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukkah or Wintermas :) from my family to yours!
A Few of My Favorite Things!
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My Gingerbread Cookies
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup molasses
1 Tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3-1/2 (approx) cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Cream sugar and butter together until smooth. Add next 5 ingredients and mix until just blended. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix just until incorporated.
Pat dough into a ball and wrap thoroughly in plastic wrap or a plastic zipper bag. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to several days.
Remove dough from refrigerator and cut in half. Roll each half out on a floured surface to 1/4" thickness and cut into desired shapes. Scraps can be gathered and rolled out again.
Sprinkle with colored sugar and add cinnamon decorations, if desired.
Bake in preheated oven for 7 to 8 minutes.
Frosting for 'Gluing' Gingerbread Houses or TreesPrintable Recipe
This makes enough to put together one small Gingerbread House or one Gingerbread Tree
1 large egg white
1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1-1/2 cup powdered sugar (approximately)
In a large clean bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with electric mixer until blended.
Add powdered sugar about 1/4 cup at a time, mixing on high speed after each addition. Scrape down the sides of bowl as needed.
Keep adding powdered sugar and beating until mixture is very thick but still spreadable. You may use less or more powdered sugar to achieve the desired thickness depending on the size of your egg white.
If not using right away, mixture can be covered tightly and refrigerated until ready to use. Stir thoroughly before using.