Gingerbread Christmas Tree

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This gingerbread Christmas tree is super cute and the perfect Christmassy activity to do with children (of by yourself!). You can make multiple trees to use as festive decorations, or just keep the extra gingerbread shapes for snacking on the side!

Gingerbread Christmas Tree

Whilst gingerbread houses are probably still more popular amongst the children at Christmas time (who can blame them for wanting to eat the sweet decorations?), the gingerbread Christmas tree has been gaining favour in recent years. It's certainly less fiddly, and if you plan to create a gingerbread village, you'll need a tree or two in it!

Gingerbread Christmas Tree

This is a great gingerbread Christmas tree, as its three dimensional nature means you can enjoy it from all angles. It's also very forgiving to make - you just need a selection of star shaped biscuits in various sizes, stack them together in decreasing size order, and there you have your tree!

Gingerbread Christmas Tree

There are an infinite number of ways to creatively decorate the tree shapes to make them look pretty - here's your chance to go all out. Or, if you prefer a minimalist approach, the tree will look equally beautiful with just a few bauble decorations dotted around the tips of the stars.

Gingerbread Christmas Tree

Display your tree as Christmas decoration - they make adorable table centrepieces for your festive feast. Just don't forget to bake extra cookies for snacking on whilst waiting for the icing to dry!

For this recipe, you'll need gingerbread cookie dough, which you may already have on hand if you're making gingerbread cookies, and some royal icing to decorate.


Here's what you'll need to make this gingerbread Christmas tree:
(Click here to jump straight to the recipe)

170g cold butter, cut into small chunks
1 egg, room temperature
375g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
100g light muscovado (brown) sugar
Zest of 1 large orange
2 Tbsp black treacle
1 tsp vanilla extract

You'll also need an assortment of star cutters in various sizes and a round cutter for the tree base.

And here's what you'll need to do:

  • Start by making the dough, which is the same recipe I use for my gingerbread cookies. This will yield a large batch of raw dough (about 750g), so you can make lots of trees or cut out cookie shapes at the same time!
  • Weigh and cut the butter into chunks, returning it to the coldest part of your fridge until you need it. Take the egg out of the fridge, and let it come to room temperature.
  • When you're ready to make the dough, put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices into either the bowl of your food processor or a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the butter chunks, and either pulse gently in the food processor or use a knife and fork to cut the butter into the flour mixture, until it starts to resemble breadcrumbs.
Making Gingerbread Dough
Making Gingerbread Dough
Making Gingerbread Dough
Making Gingerbread Dough
  • Add the sugar, pulse or stir, and add the orange zest, pulsing or stirring again until everything is well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, black treacle and vanilla extract.
  • Add it to the food processor or mixing bowl, and either pulse or stir continuously in one direction, until the mixture starts to come together in clumps.
Making Gingerbread Dough
Making Gingerbread Dough
Making Gingerbread Dough
Making Gingerbread Dough
  • Remove the dough from the food processor or mixing bowl, and knead briefly on a floured surface for a few minutes until smooth and uniform.
  • Divide the dough into two or three equal portions, shaping each into a flat disc, and wrapping tightly in cling film. Leave to chill in the fridge for at least 20-30 minutes.
  • (Tip: You can make the dough in advance and store in the fridge for up to a week until needed or the in freezer (doubled wrapped and in a tightly sealed bag) for up to three months. Just let the dough warm to a soft enough consistency before kneading, rolling and cutting your shapes.)
  • If you're cutting your gingerbread Christmas tree shapes and baking straight away, preheat the oven now to 190C / 170C Fan, and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  • Roll out the chilled dough onto a flat and well-floured surface. (Tip: Roll it out directly onto the parchment that you will be using for baking, this way you don't have to transfer the cut shapes and risk damaging them before they've even been baked!)
Making Gingerbread Dough
Making Gingerbread Dough
Making Gingerbread Dough
Making Gingerbread Dough
  • Cut out the required shapes, and gather together the excess dough, knead, roll and cut more shapes until all the dough has been used. I cut out two shapes for each size of star, as well as a round cookie shape for the tree stand.
  • If you find your dough warming up too much between rollings, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up. (Tip: To save time and make gingerbread cookies fresh for when you need them, cut all your shapes ahead of time, freeze and transfer them to a tightly sealed container. Thaw on a lined baking sheet before baking.)
  • Bake the gingerbread in the preheated oven for 9-11 minutes until golden, and cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
  • Make up a batch of royal icing, tinting as desired, to decorate your gingerbread Christmas tree shapes. Leave the icing to set completely.
Making Gingerbread Christmas Trees
Making Gingerbread Christmas Trees
Making Gingerbread Christmas Trees
  • When the icing has set and hardened, assemble the gingerbread Christmas tree, using royal icing as the 'glue' to hold it together.
  • First, stick the round tree stand onto a small cake board or piece of cardboard covered with aluminium foil.
  • Then, squeeze a blob of royal icing into the centre of the base, and place one of the largest stars on top. Repeat with the other star of the same size, offsetting the points, and continue like this with all the stars, in descending size order.
  • Stand the final small star upright at the top of the tree. Leave the assembled tree for a while to allow the icing to fully set and harden.
Making Gingerbread Christmas Trees
Making Gingerbread Christmas Trees
Making Gingerbread Christmas Trees
Making Gingerbread Christmas Trees 9
  • Admire your festive decoration!
Gingerbread Christmas Trees

Gingerbread Christmas Tree

By

Gingerbread Christmas Tree

This gingerbread Christmas tree is a fun festive activity to do with the children (or by yourself) - if you can keep from eating all the gingerbread!

Prep Time: 20 minutes plus time to chill, roll and cut shapes
Bake Time: 10 minutes
Assembly Time: 15 minutes plus time for icing to set
Yield: 1 tree
Course: Snack, Craft
Cuisine: Modern European
Tags: Christmas, Festive

Ingredients

170g cold butter, cut into small chunks
1 egg, room temperature
375g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
100g light muscovado (brown) sugar
Zest of 1 large orange
2 Tbsp black treacle
1 tsp vanilla extract

You'll also need an assortment of star cutters in various sizes and a round cutter for the tree base.

Method

  1. Start by making the dough, which is the same recipe I use for my gingerbread cookies. This will yield a large batch of raw dough (about 750g), so you can make lots of trees or cut out cookie shapes at the same time!
  2. Weigh and cut the butter into chunks, returning it to the coldest part of your fridge until you need it. Take the egg out of the fridge, and let it come to room temperature.
  3. When you're ready to make the dough, put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices into either the bowl of your food processor or a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the butter chunks, and either pulse gently in the food processor or use a knife and fork to cut the butter into the flour mixture, until it starts to resemble breadcrumbs.
  5. Add the sugar, pulse or stir, and add the orange zest, pulsing or stirring again until everything is well combined.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, black treacle and vanilla extract.
  7. Add it to the food processor or mixing bowl, and either pulse or stir continuously in one direction, until the mixture starts to come together in clumps.
  8. Remove the dough from the food processor or mixing bowl, and knead briefly on a floured surface for a few minutes until smooth and uniform.
  9. Divide the dough into two or three equal portions, shaping each into a flat disc, and wrapping tightly in cling film. Leave to chill in the fridge for at least 20-30 minutes.
  10. (Tip: You can make the dough in advance and store in the fridge for up to a week until needed or the in freezer (doubled wrapped and in a tightly sealed bag) for up to three months. Just let the dough warm to a soft enough consistency before kneading, rolling and cutting your shapes.)
  11. If you're cutting your gingerbread Christmas tree shapes and baking straight away, preheat the oven now to 190C / 170C Fan, and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  12. Roll out the chilled dough onto a flat and well-floured surface. (Tip: Roll it out directly onto the parchment that you will be using for baking, this way you don't have to transfer the cut shapes and risk damaging them before they've even been baked!)
  13. Cut out the required shapes, and gather together the excess dough, knead, roll and cut more shapes until all the dough has been used. I cut out two shapes for each size of star, as well as a round cookie shape for the tree stand.
  14. If you find your dough warming up too much between rollings, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up. (Tip: To save time and make gingerbread cookies fresh for when you need them, cut all your shapes ahead of time, freeze and transfer them to a tightly sealed container. Thaw on a lined baking sheet before baking.)
  15. Bake the gingerbread in the preheated oven for 9-11 minutes until golden, and cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
  16. Make up a batch of royal icing, tinting as desired, to decorate your gingerbread Christmas tree shapes. Leave the icing to set completely.
  17. When the icing has set and hardened, assemble the gingerbread Christmas tree, using royal icing as the 'glue' to hold it together.
  18. First, stick the round tree stand onto a small cake board or piece of cardboard covered with aluminium foil.
  19. Then, squeeze a blob of royal icing into the centre of the base, and place one of the largest stars on top. Repeat with the other star of the same size, offsetting the points, and continue like this with all the stars, in descending size order.
  20. Stand the final small star upright at the top of the tree. Leave the assembled tree for a while to allow the icing to fully set and harden.
  21. Admire your festive decoration!

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