Every Christmas I make some form of Gingerbread scene. I use a traditional molasses based gingerbread dough which tastes amazing, you can use half honey or agave syrup if you feel it’s too dark or rich in taste. This dough can be sticky but if chilled properly and rolled between greaseproof paper the results are perfect and it holds it’s shape beautifully when baked doing the most complicated cookie cutters justice. A few years ago I began to make Nativity Scenes which are perfect to display at home instead of the usual wooden or porcelain decorative crib. Although it may look complicated the stable is easier to make than a full gingerbread house. This recipe makes a large amount of dough and usually is enough for the entire Nativity scene and up to twenty gingerbread tree decorations. Simple but delicious decorations can be made using a gingerbread man or star shaped cookie cutter. I make a hole in the top using a knitting needle and string a ribbon through once baked. Children’s names can be piped onto the decorations to personalise them as well as being the perfect vehicle for glistening gum drops and multicoloured jelly beans. I bake these cookies the day before I decorate them, leaving enough time for them to cool completely. The assembly and decoration can be a time consuming process although it is very enjoyable. If you do decide to just make cookies as tree decorations or simply for eating then I suggest having a cookie decorating party. Have a group of friends over, make a pot of tea and lay all the sweets and cake decorations on the table for everyone to decorate their own. Some of the biscuits may not make it to the decorating stage having been dunked in the tea and eaten but it’s a lovely way to kickstart the festive season.
Here are the links to the downloadable templates for the Characters and Stable. So just print, bake and assemble!
Happy Festive Baking!