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Gingerbread Ornaments

A special gingerbread recipe meant just for decoration.

Gingerbread Ornaments

If you're going to leave someone hanging at Christmastime, how about a gingerbread man! Celebrate the season and use this recipe to make edible gingerbread ornaments. More dense and sturdy than a classic gingerbread dough, these cookies are a sweet and thoughtful edible holiday gift. Decorate the dough with royal icing and hard candies. Make a hole at the top of each cookie before baking with a toothpick by pressing it through the cookie to the sheet pan, then swirling it around until a sizable hole results. Remember: once the cookies bake, they spread and puff slightly; if the hole is too small, it will close during baking, making it a challenge to slide through a decorative ribbon. It's all about technique, not torture!

Equipment: large mixing bowl; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; cutting board; paring or chef’s knife; whisk; rubber spatula; wooden spoon; hand or standing mixer (optional); saucepan; rolling pin; cookie cutters; rimmed sheet pans; parchment paper or silicone baking liners; cooling rack; offset spatula

Gingerbread Ingredients: 3 cups all purpose flour, divided

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup brown sugar

¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter

¼ cup molasses

1 large egg

Royal Icing Ingredients:

2 cups powdered sugar

1 egg white

1. Combine the first five ingredients, but just half the flour, in a mixing bowl. Then whisk in the brown sugar.

2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and whisk it into the flour mixture along with the molasses and egg. With a wooden spoon, stir in the remaining flour.

3. Form the dough into four small balls and wrap each one in plastic. Chill the dough until firm, for one hour up to two days.

4. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking liners or parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 350°F.

5. Roll one ball of dough with a rolling pin on a floured surface to ¼-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to create fun holiday shapes, and place the cookies two inches apart on the lined sheet. Using a skewer or toothpick, make a hole at the top of each cookie where you want to thread with ribbon or string, a few millimeters from the edge; move in a circular motion until the hole is about as large as the opening of a straw. Alternatively, use a straw like a cookie cutter to make the holes.

5. Place the sheet on the middle oven rack and bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack before decorating. Once completely cool, the cookies may be iced/frosted.

ILOC tip: if the circle has closed up significantly enough to make it a challenge to thread the ribbon or string, take the tip of a paring knife and carefully scrape away some of the dough from the back of the cookie to expose the hole.

6. To make the royal icing, beat the egg white until frothy in large mixing bowl or the bowl of standing mixer. Add the powdered sugar gradually and mix on low speed until the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is shiny. Increase the speed to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired.

7. Transfer the icing to a pastry bag fitted with a tip or a resealable plastic bag (then cut the corner of the bag before piping). Decorate as desired.

8. Let the iced cookies set for 2-3 hours, or until the icing is completely dried, before threading with ribbon or string.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes 6-8 dozen cookies. depending on cookie cutter size.

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