Gingerbread Tree Recipe
- 2 cups butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups light molasses
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 10 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1 container (3 ounces) cinnamon red-hot candies (about 1/3 cup)
- Confectioners' sugar, optional
- Clear Contact paper (optional)
- 10-inch flat serving plate
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, molasses and vinegar; mix well. Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves; gradually add to creamed mixture. Cover and chill overnight.
- To prepare star pattern: Trace each star size onto waxed paper and cut out. If you would like to preserve the patterns, copy them, cover both sides with Contact paper and cut out. On a lightly floured surface, roll a portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness; keep rest refrigerated.
- To cut out stars: Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut around star patterns. You will need a total of 33 cookies--two treetop stars; three each of stars 1-4 and 9; and four each of stars 5-8. Place 12 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Press a red-hot candy into the center of each treetop star; press red hot candies into points of the rest of the stars. In one number 9 star, make two indentations as shown on the pattern (to hold the treetop stars in place).
- To bake: Place all cookies in a 350° oven and bake until lightly browned on the edges; 5 minutes for treetop stars; 8-10 minutes for numbers 6-9; 11-12 minutes for numbers 1-5. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks and cool completely.
To assemble: Starting with star number 1, stack stars on the serving plate, staggering star points. For a natural-looking tree as shown in the photo at left, the sizes are alternated in the following order: 1-1-2-1-2-3-2-3-4-5-4-5-5-6-5-6-6-7-6-7-7-8-7-8-8-9-8-9-9 ( with indentations). Place the two tree top stars in the indentations, leaning back to back. Dust tree with confectioners' sugar if desired. To serve, pass the entire tree. Yield: 33 cookies.