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Gingerbread Star Tree

Set out this stunning centerpiece, and your guests will be singing “Oh, Christmas Tree…” in no time. You could even have the kiddos help you create a whole forest in all different sizes for a delicious winter wonderland. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 2 hours + standing Bake: 15 min./batch + cooling
  • Makes
    1 gingerbread tree and 3 dozen small star cookies

Ingredients

  • DOUGH:
  • 1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1-1/3 cups molasses
  • 2 cups cold butter, cubed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ROYAL ICING AND DECORATIONS:
  • 7-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
  • 6 tablespoons meringue powder, divided
  • 10 tablespoons warm water, divided
  • Confectioners' sugar
  • Candy of your choice, edible glitter
  • Dark chocolate and white candy coating, melted
  • EQUIPMENT:
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Waxed paper
  • Scissors
  • Cookie cutters—round (2-1/2 inches, 2 inches and 1-1/2 inches) and star-shaped (3 inches, 2 inches and 1 inch)
  • #1 round or #101 petal pastry tip

Directions

  • Make star templates: Using a pencil and ruler, draw five-pointed stars in the following dimensions on waxed paper: 8-1/2 in., 8 in., 7-1/2 in., 7-1/4 in., 6-3/4 in., 6 in. and 4-1/2 in. Label each template with its dimensions. Cut out with scissors and set aside.
  • Make dough: In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring brown sugar and molasses just to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; stir in butter until melted. Stir in eggs until blended. Combine the remaining dough ingredients; stir into brown sugar mixture. Divide dough into four portions.
  • Make large stars: On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion to 1/4-in. thickness. Using templates, cut one 8-1/2-in. star, two 8-in. stars, one 7-1/2-in. star, two 7-1/4-in. stars, one 6-3/4-in. star, two 6-in. stars and one 4-1/2-in. star. Place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 12-15 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • Make circles and small stars: Cut two circles using a floured 2-1/2-in. round cookie cutter. Cut 12 circles using a floured 2-in. round cookie cutter. Cut two circles using a floured 1-1/2-in. round cookie cutter. Cut remaining dough using floured star-shaped cookie cutters, re-rolling scraps. Place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • Make icing: In a large bowl, combine 3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons meringue powder and 5 tablespoons water; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Keep icing covered at all times with a damp cloth. If necessary, beat again on high speed to restore texture.
  • Assemble: Using icing and round cookies, make one 2-1/2-in. sandwich cookie, six 2-in. sandwich cookies and one 1-1/2-in. sandwich cookie. Let stand for 15 minutes or until set. Place the 8-1/2-in. star on a serving plate. Spread a small amount of icing onto center of star; top with 2-1/2-in. round sandwich cookie. Spread a small amount of icing onto sandwich cookie; top with remaining 8-in. star. Let stand for 15 minutes or until set. Repeat with remaining icing, sandwich cookies and stars, building tree using the largest stars and sandwich cookies first. After each star is added, let stand for 15 minutes or until set.
  • Decorate tree: Prepare a second batch of icing. Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert a small pastry tip. Fill bag with icing. Decorate tree as desired with icing, candy and confectioners sugar. Decorate a 2-in. star cookie as desired; secure on the treetop with icing.
  • Decorate small star cookies: Dip cookies in melted candy coating; place on waxed paper and let stand until set. Sprinkle white cookies with edible glitter. Leave some cookies plain if desired. Gently place cookies onto tree branches and on the serving platter.
Editor's Note: Meringue powder and edible glitter are available from Wilton Industries. Call 1-800/794-5866 or visit www.wilton.com.
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Reviews

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Average Rating:
  • kmchrisman
    Dec 6, 2018

    The cookies were tasty but way too soft to be able to stack as directed. Half of mine broke. I would either make larger circles or leave them out and just stack stars.

  • sarvenaz7
    Nov 7, 2013

    What can i add instead of molasses?

  • RedRain
    Dec 1, 2010

    It would have been nice of TOH had provided the templates, which would have been easy for them to do on a computer - just as Martha Stewart does! I'm one of those who can't draw stick people so I don't dare try this!

  • bevcurtis
    Dec 28, 2009

    These cookies have a wonderful rich flavor and the tree comes out very cute... not great for transport, best to build this where you will serve it since it is so tall