This gingerbread recipe is from the old La Leche League Whole Foods for the Whole Family cookbook. I love that there is only honey and molasses for sweetener, and that it uses whole wheat flour. These cookies turn out to be “sturdy” instead of doughy but still taste very yummy. The icing is called Royal icing, and while it is not exactly delicious, it does a great job holding the stars into little trees.
1/4 c. honey
1 c. molassses
1/2 c. oil
1 1/4 t. cinnamon
1 1/4 t. ginger
4 c. whole wheat flour
4 t. b. powder
Whisk together wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add dry to wet. Mix until a stiff dough forms. Form into a ball, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours; more is better. Roll out with ample flour 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick. Dip cookie cutters in flour before using. Bake cookies at 325 for 10 – 12 minutes, until light brown on edges. Cool.
1 pound powdered sugar
1/2 t. cream of tartar
3 egg whites, room temperature
Whisk together sugar and cream of tartar. Add egg whites, and whip for about 5 minutes. Keep bowl of icing covered with a damp cloth as it dries out quickly. Use immediately. This makes more than you need, so if you want to make a 1/2 batch or 2/3 batch, go for it.
To make the trees, use different sized star shaped cookie cutters. I made little trees here, so I only used 3 sizes of stars, and only 2 stars of each size (so six stars/tree). When I make tall trees, I will use 5 or even 6 sizes and do more of each size. Overlay the stars, going from big stars to little stars, so that the points do not directly overlap. If your cookie cutters are sized well, and you are doing a tall star, you can even do a pretty spiral pattern with the points of the stars. Use just enough icing to glue the cookies together; too much and they will slide and not stack straight.
Let the icing harden for a few hours. You can then dust them with powdered sugar, if you want. Also, if you situate the top stars so that is it vertical comparedo the other stars with are horizontal, it looks really, really cute. I was making 30 of these trees for a Chrsitmas cookie exchange so didn’t have the extra minute to hold the little star there until the icing had hardened!