Gingerbread Forest

Sometimes I think we want to try new things and upgrade, so to speak, that we have a tendency to forget about old favorites.  I used to make this Gingerbread Forest  when my children were little and then when grandma hung her big mirror on the wall I stopped.
 Last year we purchased a mirror of our own just so we could start this tradition again.  
I did upgrade a little bit, this year 
I purchased a Wilton Gingerbread Village Kit to add some houses to the forest. 
 It contained 4 little house to add something new. 
 I first saw this idea in the December 1981 issue of Sunset magazine. 
It is an oldie, but a goody.
The Gingerbread recipe I use is not the same one I use for cookies, but it makes great trees.
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
6 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves
1/3 cup hot water
Cream together shortening and sugar.  Add molasses, vinegar and vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with water. Divide in two balls cover with clear wrap and chill 1 hour.
While dough is chilling make your tree pattern. You can use just about any shape tree and cut it in half.  I have three sizes.  The tallest is 11″ tall and 4″ wide the bottom.  The next one is about 2/3 as tall and the little one about 1/3 as tall.
Roll out ball of dough to 1/4″ thickness.  Lay pattern of tallest tree and cut around the outside mark the middle, flip over and cut the other side. Cut smaller pieces out of the remaining dough, cutting 2 pieces for each tree.  Before baking score the dough from your center mark to the top of one
tree and the bottom of the 2nd tree.
Carefully place on greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or
until the edges start to crust.
While hot, cut on each side of your score mark with a sharp knife making it the
thickness of the cookie.
Let cool and carefully put together a top and bottom cookie pieces.  As you can see they may rock. Take apart and carefully cut to flatten the bottoms where needed. Put together again and place on mirror or whatever surface you choose.
Dust with powdered sugar.  I have some little ornaments that have small bears on them that I place amongst the trees and brush away sugar to look like a frozen pond.
One of my favorite parts is that is makes my house smell great.
Merry Christmas! Enjoy!
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