Gingerbread Christmas Tree

You know that Christmas is here when there is the unmistakeable aroma of gingerbread wafting through the kitchen. It’s become somewhat of a tradition of mine to make gingerbread for the holiday season, and since I’ve done gingerbread men and gingerbread houses before, I thought it was time for something new.

I received a Gingerbread Tree kit as a gift and decided to put it to use. It came with a base and two different sized wooden dowels for the interior stem of the tree, as well as a set of five graduated star cookie cutters and a circle cutter. Everything I needed to make my very own Gingerbread Christmas Tree.

Making the gingerbread was easy enough. I just used my usual recipe and cut out about 5 stars of each size using the five graduated star cutters. If you are going to thread it through a wooden dowel, don’t forget to also cut out a hole in the centre of the stars. I cut an extra small star for the top of the tree as a topper as well.

I decorated each star with royal icing before assembling the tree, which just involved placing the stars in order of size on top of each other, so that the base of the tree has the biggest stars going to the top of the tree with the smallest. If you don’t have a stand, you can also use the icing to glue the stars on top of each other, which will create the same effect. And that’s all it takes to make a Christmas tree of the edible variety! Half the fun is actually taking it apart and eating it :)

Gingerbread Christmas Tree
2 cups (300g) flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
90g butter
1/3 (125g) cup golden syrup
1/2 cup (80g) brown sugar

Royal Icing
1 egg white
1 1/2 cups icing sugar

1. Sift flour, soda and ginger into a bowl. Place butter, sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan and cook over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool.

2. Pour the syrup into the flour mixture and combine. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to desired thickness about 5mm. The dough might start to crack while you are rolling it but keep rolling and it should come back together. Cut out about 5 stars of each size and carefully place onto trays. If using a stand, also cut out circles in the centre to thread the stars onto the stand.

4. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Carefully transfer the shapes to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. Meanwhile, make the royal icing by beating the egg white until frothy. Gradually beat in icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture is combined. Pipe onto gingerbread stars as desired to decorate the “tree”.

6. When decorative icing has dried, arrange the stars into size order. If using a stand, thread the stars onto the stand from largest to smallest. If not using a stand, use remaining royal icing to glue the stars together with the largest on the bottom, and smallest on the top. Try to arrange the pointy bits of the stars so that they are alternating between the stars above and below to get the full “tree” effect. If using a star topper, use the icing to glue the small star to the top of the tree. Allow to dry before serving.

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