How To Make Gingerbread Christmas Tree Ornaments This Season

“Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!” You know that fairy tale, for sure. Gingerbread symbolises the Christmas holidays! You all have eaten gingerbread cookies, haven’t you? It’s something like a tradition to decorate the holiday table with edible gingerbread houses, men and women, stars and trees, or even your Christmas tree with gingerbread ornaments.

A close up of a gingerbread man

This holiday season, let’s make a difference. Don’t buy ready-made ornaments, but make your own. It’s easy, you’ll see. Hence, ready to learn how to make gingerbread Christmas tree ornaments? Let’s roll some cookies!

How to make gingerbread Christmas tree ornaments 

There are many recipes to make gingerbread. Here are some of the most popular ones.

Recipe 1

Needed ingredients and tools:

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 2 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans lined with parchment or foil
  • A stand mixer
  • A rubber spatula
  • Plastic wrap
  • Cookie-cutter

For the icing

  • 1 pound of confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 large egg whites

Steps to follow:

Two smiling gingerbread men

  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour with spices, salt and baking soda and stir well so all the ingredients are mixed.
  2. Then, add the butter and brown sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the paddle attachment and beat the ingredients together on medium speed for about 1 minute or until they’re well blended.
  3. Next, add the eggs. You should beat one egg at a time smoothly.
  4. Now, lower the speed and beat about half the flour mixture. Beat all the molasses and then scrape the bowl.
  5. Add the other half flour mixture slowly, about a cup at a time and beat after each addition. You have to let the flour be absorbed and then add another cup.
  6. Remove the bowl from the mixer and get your rubber spatula to give the dough a final mixing.
  7. Scrape half the dough onto a large piece of cling film and press it a bit. You need a 1.5cm thickness. Afterwards, wrap it securely and do the same with the remaining dough.
  8. Put the dough into the refrigerator for 2 hours up to 3 days.
  9. After the needed time has passed, get one piece of dough out and cut it in half. Set one half aside, and the remaining one rewrap it and put it back into the fridge.
  10. Spread some flour on a level surface and roll the dough until you get about 0.50cm thick.
  11. Get a floured cookie cutter and cut the cookies.
  12. Place the cookies on a baking pan and do the same procedure with the rest of the dough.
  13. Bake your gingerbread cookies for about 12-15 minutes or until they dry.
  14. Place the sheets onto racks and allow the cookies to cool.
  15. While waiting for the biscuits to cool, make the icing sugar. In the bowl of the mixer, combine the sugar and egg whites.
  16. Start mixing at low speed and slowly add ½ cup water.
  17. Place the icing in piping bags and decorate your homemade ornaments.

That’s all! Your DIY cookie ornaments are ready! You’ll have to make about 24 cookies, depending on the cutter you use.

Recipe 2

Gingerbread men, a rolling pin and christmas decoration on a wooden surface

Needed ingredients and tools:

FOR THE BISCUITS

  • 300 grams plain flour (plus more for dusting)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 100 grams soft butter
  • 100 grams soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • 4 tablespoons runny honey
  • Food processor
  • Icing nozzle

FOR THE ICING AND TRIMMINGS

  • 300 grams instant royal icing (from the packet)
  • edible glitter or gold or silver balls

Steps to follow:

  1. The first thing to do is line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 150°C Fan.
  2. Next, mix the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper in a food processor.
  3. Then, having the motor on, add the butter and sugar and slowly the beaten eggs and honey.
  4. When your cookie dough is ready, divide the dough, creating 2 thick enough discs.
  5. Separate them with cling film or in a freezer bag and place them in the fridge.
  6. After letting the dough chill for a couple of hours, dust a level surface with some flour, flour the disc, and roll it to about 5mm.
  7. It’s time to make your Christmas cookies using cutters shaped as you like, such as fir-tree, angels, stars, snowflakes and of course gingerbread men.
  8. Re-roll some more dough and cut it out the same way. Set aside any dough residue.
  9. Re-roll the leftover dough and cut it out again. Do the same until you use all the dough.
  10. When you have made your cookies, get an icing nozzle and poke a hole below the top of your Christmas biscuits. 
  11. Place them on the baking sheets and bake them for around 20 minutes, or until the underside doesn’t feel doughy.
  12. Get them out of the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool down.
  13. While waiting for the Christmas biscuits to cool, make the icing. Beat the instant royal icing following the instructions on the package. Just don’t beat it for as long as it’s instructed; otherwise, you’ll get a very thick icing which you won’t be able to make a neat outline.
  14. Finally, ice the edible balls and use a teaspoon to decorate as you like.

Recipe 3

a smiling gingerbread man next to a rolling pin and cinnamon sticks on a wooden surface

Needed ingredients and tools:

  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cup cinnamon (look for cheap ground one– you aren’t going to eat it)
  • 2 tablespoons craft glue, optional
  • Mixing bowl
  • Drinking straw
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rolling pin
  • Baking racks and baking sheets
  • Cookie cutters
  • Sandpaper
  • Oven, food dehydrator, or just an out-of-the-way spot (for drying)
  • Glitter, puffy paints, rhinestones, or anything you like for decorating, optional

Steps to follow:

  1. In the bowl, add the applesauce, cinnamon and glue and mix them with your hands until you form a ball.
  2. Lay a sheet of cling wrap on your work surface and place ⅓ of the ball dough on it. Then over the dough, place one more piece of plastic wrap.
  3. Get your rolling pin and start rolling to make a disk of  0.80 to 1.20cm thickness.
  4. Remove the cling wrap (you can keep it aside for the next dough ball) and get the cutters.
  5. After using the cutters, take a straw and poke holes on the top of the cookie.
  6. Then, transfer the cookies to the baking rack and follow the same procedure with the rest of the dough. When you form all the cookies, bake them until they dry.
  7. After baking, let them cool down.
  8. Now you can decorate them. You can either tie a ribbon through the holes and hang them or decorate them with anything you like.
  9. Buff first the edges of the cookies with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth them out.
  10. And now it’s time to give some freedom to your creativity. Get an extra-fine translucent glitter to create the fallen snow look, or add glitter and rhinestones for a more sparkling result.

Following this recipe, you will make about 20 medium-sized gingerbread cookie ornaments.

Recipe 4 

A woman baking gingerbread men

Needed ingredients and tools:

  • 1 cup plain flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 cup fine salt
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Up to 3/4 cup warm water

Steps to follow:

  1. Add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl and start adding warm water slowly. Dig with your hands the ingredients, and then add more water. Just save the last third of the water. Mix the ingredients in the bowl until you form a dough. If you feel it is a bit dry, add some more water.
  2. Make a ball, take it out of the bowl and work with it with your hands on a floured surface until it becomes smooth and elastic. It should look like a play-dough.
  3. Once the salt dough is ready, roll out the floured work surface and cut your ornaments. Use cutters to make gingerbread men and ladies, hearts, stars, gingerbread houses, and anything else you desire for your tree.
  4. Before adding any decorations to your ornaments, get a skewer and poke holes on top of the biscuits to tie the twine.

And voila! Your DIY non-edible tree decoration is ready! If you want to know more about making salt dough ornaments, we’ve got your back. Check our article about how to make and decorate salt dough Christmas ornaments.

Extra tips on making your gingerbread ornaments

  1. Some recipes ask for eggs. Keep in mind that eggs make the dough look like cupcake dough. Follow these recipes if you want to eat the ornaments.
  2. When it comes to the hole, make it a bit larger than you think you need. The hole will close up a bit during baking.
  3. If you intend to eat the ornaments, make sure you decorate them with edible icing, sprinkles and candy beads. 
  4. For the non-edible ornaments, you can use puff paint and stick small beads, googly eyes, pompoms, fabric scraps and so on with white glue. Opt for glitter glue as well, as it sparkles in the glow of the tree lights.

A close up decorating a gingerbread man

Try one or all the recipes mentioned above and let your children help you. Making gingerbread ornaments is so fun and may become an annual tradition for your family.  You can also add more hand-made ornaments to your Christmas decoration, like Christmas gnome ornaments or a felt Christmas tree advent calendar. Don’t be afraid to experiment with colours, glitter and shapes. They will look magical!
Merry Christmas and Happy crafting!

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