Have you ever made a gingerbread Christmas tree before? Maybe not. I bet you've made a gingerbread house, though. And dealt with the mess, the frustration, and the less-than-satisfactory final result. I've made gingerbread trees multiple years (you'll see a few of the years represented here) for a fun centerpiece in the kitchen or on the dining room table.
This gingerbread Christmas tree is much, much easier than a gingerbread house.
It's requires only gingerbread cookie dough and frosting. The best part of this tree is that the gingerbread isn't cut into fancy shapes and doesn't use cookie cutters or any such things. Simply cut squares (or use various sized stars, like I did) a bit larger in size from one another and stack them up with frosting in between as your "glue".
Necessary items for a Gingerbread Cookie Tree:
- Gingerbread cookies Cut your gingerbread cookies into the same (or similar) shapes of varying sizes.
- Icing or Frosting You need a frosting or icing that will keep your structure stable. If it's fairly small or if you are making a tree with kids it might be fine to use traditional frosting. However, royal icing is best for when you want REALLY good good glueing power.
How to Make the Gingerbread Cookie Tree:
- Bake Cookies Bake a dozen or so gingerbread cookies in varying sizes (be sure to make a small star if you don't have another plan). The higher you want your tree, the more cookies you need. If you're wanting better strength then overcook your cookies just a bit to make them a bit tougher. If you intend to eat your tree, cook them just until the edges are dry and set. Let cool.
- Make icing or frosting It is perfectly acceptable to use a tub of frosting, if you want. However I recommend royal icing for serious tree makers. It is up to you if you choose traditional green or something else. Have fun!
- Stack up the cookies Use your icing or frosting as glue between cookies and stack them one on top of the other. Be sure to watch for leaning, and try to stagger the corners to create the tree effect. The higher you stack your cookies the more wobbly your structure will get. Plan carefully.
- Place a star on top Use plenty of icing to place a small star on the top of your tree. Gently hold it in place until the icing dries.
- Decorate your stacked cookies Use more icing, sprinkles, powdered sugar, edible glitter, or whatever you find to decorate your cookie tree.
We use our basic gingerbread cookie recipe for the cookies. This is the best gingerbread cookie we have ever tried, eaten, or any such thing. We highly recommend giving it a try! We recommend using Royal Icing when creating a gingerbread structure. It really is like glue. However, feel free to use a tub of frosting.
A gingerbread Christmas tree party would be absolutely fantastic for a Saturday afternoon activity with the kids or grandkids. Gather up some frosting, gingerbread dough, and sprinkles and let those kids go at it! Have the cookies made in advance to make it even faster.
We used gingerbread stars for the top of our tree but small candies, cherries, chocolate stars, etc. would be a fun alternative! The best part of these is the fun in decorating how you want!
To decorate your gingerbread cookie tree:
- A simple shake of powdered sugar can be enough.
- Try dripping icing off the "branches" to look like snow.
- Nonpareils (little edible balls) placed on the icing before it dries looks amazing!
- Perhaps a sprinkling of silver or gold edible glitter would be a festive touch.
Best Gingerbread Cookies
- ½ cup shortening
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ cup molasses use dark for stronger flavor, light for a lighter flavor
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 ½ cups flour or until it's good to roll out
- Beat shortening on medium speed for about 45 seconds, until light and fluffy.
- Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Beat until combined.
- Add molasses, egg, & vinegar. Beat until combined.
- Add 2 cups of the flour and beat until combined.
- Beat in the remainder, if you can. Otherwise stir it in.
- Cover and chill the dough for at least 3 hours (you can leave it overnight, too!)
- ----For basic cookies roll the dough into 2 inch balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Press down gently (use the bottom of a cup covered in sugar, for a bonus!)
- ----For cut-outs roll the dough (about ½ at a time) on to a lightly floured surface until about ⅛ inch thick. Cut out.
- Bake cookies at 375 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes or edges are slightly brown. Cool before icing or frosting.
Additional Christmas Cookies and Treats to try:
- The Ultimate List of Christmas Cookies for Kids to Make
- Fool-Proof No-Chill Sugar Cookies (great for a GF option!)
- 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies
- Grapefruit Shortbread Cookies
- Citrus Linzer Cookies
- the BEST Homemade Toffee Recipe
- the BEST Gingerbread cake recipe
- Caramel Cookie Cup - a family favorite!
- Jam Thumbprint Cookie recipe
- Super-Moist Apple Almond Cake - perfect for coffee or tea!
- 2 Minute Microwave Fudge
- the BEST Gingerbread Cookies
Holiday Cocktails, Mocktails, & festive drinks to try:
- Bucket List of Holiday Cocktails
- Sex on a Snowbank Cocktail
- Cranberry Margarita (with mocktail version)
- Cranberry Moscow Mule (Moscow Unicorn)
- Rosemary Honey Moscow Mule
- Bourbon Cherry Smash Cocktail
- Whiskey Pom Cocktail
- Cranberry Whiskey Sour
- Root Beer and Rum Cocktail
- Hard Cider Hot Toddy
- Bailey's S’mores Dessert Shots