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Hi Bold Bakers!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE: With our Festive Gingerbread Cookie Garland DIY, you’ll be making memories and delicious holiday-spiced treats.
- You’ll love how homey the garland looks among the green branches, and the fun and satisfaction of putting together the garland will make this DIY project a cherished tradition.
- Our crisp Gingerbread Men Cookies, brimming with holiday spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, make the perfect homemade cookie garland, and the icing recipe below is gorgeous for piping or simply spreading on the cookies. White icing looks classic, but you can also add food coloring for a fun look.
Making our homes and food holiday pretty is a special part of the season, but it doesn’t have to be complicated or fussy! With our Irish Shortbread Christmas Tree Cookies, Simple and Beautiful Christmas Cake Decorating, and Cupcake Christmas Wreath, it’s easy to create scrumptious Christmas magic.
Table of Contents
- What is a Festive Gingerbread Cookie Garland?
- Tools You Need
- Key Ingredients and Why
- How to Make a Festive Gingerbread Cookie Garland
- Can I Make a Festive Gingerbread Cookie Garland in Advance?
- How to Store a Festive Gingerbread Cookie Garland
- Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips
- More Classic Christmas Cookie Recipes
What is a Festive Gingerbread Cookie Garland?
- A Festive Gingerbread Cookie Garland is a holiday decoration made by stringing together iced gingerbread cut-out cookies with ribbon or twine.
- A hole is made at the top of each cookie before baking, and when the cookies are cooled, they are strung on twine or ribbon to make a garland.
- Christmas tree decorating gained popularity in Germany in the 1800s. Homemade ornaments like cookie garlands were some of the earliest types of decorations, and now they bring a cozy, nostalgic charm to modern holiday decor.
Tools You Need
- Baking sheets and parchment paper
- Wire cooling rack
- Wooden skewers
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and measuring spoons
- Cookie cutters
- Piping bag fitted with a small, round tip
- Kitchen twine or ribbon
Key Ingredients and Why
One batch of Gingerbread Men Cookie Recipe
- Powdered sugar, also known as confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar, gives the gingerbread cookie icing its sweetness and bright white color.
- Using powdered sugar, made by grinding sugar with a small amount of cornstarch, gives this icing a smooth texture, ideal for piping and spreading.
- Check out our recipe, How to Make Powdered Sugar, and you won’t have to worry about running out.
- Whole milk makes the icing pleasantly creamy but still easily pipeable and spreadable.
- The amount of corn syrup in this recipe is minimal, but it’s crucial to include it as corn syrup acts as a binder in this icing recipe. It holds the powdered sugar and whole milk together in a smooth, cohesive mixture.
- The corn syrup also makes the icing gorgeously glossy and stabilizes it so the color stays bright.
- Corn syrup also adds a note of mild sweetness to the icing.
Food coloring (optional)
- Would you like a Christmasy red and green gingerbread garland for your tree, or maybe a fun rainbow version? Add food coloring one drop at a time until the icing gets to the desired color.
How to Make a Festive Gingerbread Cookie Garland
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C) fan assist. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Shape the cookie:
- Roll out prepared Gingerbread Men Cookie dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4-inch thickness and cut out your cookies. Place them two inches apart on the baking sheets.
- Poke holes for stringing by pushing the flat end of a wooden skewer through the top of each cookie.
- Bake the cookies: Bake for 18 to 24 minutes until they are dry. Note that these cookies need to be cooked until crisp in order to make a sturdy garland. Cool the cookies completely on a wire rack.
- Make the icing: Whisk the powdered sugar, milk, and corn syrup until thick but still pourable.
- If you need to thin out the icing, add more milk, a few drops at a time.
- If you’re coloring your frosting, add the food coloring a drop at a time.
- Decorate the cookies: Pipe or spread the icing onto the cookies. Let the frosted cookies dry for at least three hours until completely set.
- Make the garland: String the cookies together, placing them five inches apart. Knot the twine or ribbon at the top of each cookie to keep them in place.
Can I Make a Festive Gingerbread Cookie Garland in Advance?
Yes, you can make a Festive Gingerbread Cookie Garland in advance.
- You can cut out the cookies in advance and refrigerate them for up to three days. Separate each layer of cookies with a piece of parchment paper to keep them from sticking. Place in an airtight container or cover well with plastic wrap. Bake the cookies straight from the fridge.
- You can also freeze pre-cut cookies for up to three months before baking. You can bake the frozen cookies straight from the freezer.
How to Store a Festive Gingerbread Cookie Garland
- You can store pre-iced cookies in an air-tight container for up to 7 days.
- I recommend hanging the Festive Gingerbread Cookie Garland on the tree for no more than five days, as the cookies may start to spoil. How long the cookie garden lasts depends on many factors, including the room temperature.
Can I eat the cookies after they’ve hung in the tree?
- It’s best to set aside some cookies from your batch to eat fresh and use the cookie garland itself only as decoration.
What do I do if my cookie dough is sticky?
- First, be sure your dough is chilled. It should be refrigerated for at least one hour before rolling and cutting.
- If that doesn’t help, add flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough is workable.
How do I fix my dough if it’s too dry?
- Letting the dough sit in the fridge for at least an hour may also help soften dry dough, giving it time to hydrate.
- If your dough is still dry, you can add another teaspoon of molasses to make it more pliable.
How do I keep my gingerbread cookies from spreading too much?
- To get defined shapes, your gingerbread dough shouldn’t spread.
- When making the cookies, the butter should not be too soft. You’ll know it is at the right temperature when you push the butter with your finger and it makes an indent, but your finger doesn’t easily squish right through.
- Overmixing the cookie dough can put too much air in the dough, making the dough overly soft and prone to spreading. Mix just until the ingredients are combined.
- Warm dough will spread more than cold. Be sure to chill the dough for at least one hour before rolling it out.
- A warm pan will cause the dough to spread. Be sure your pan cools between batches.
Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips
- This dough must stay very cold, or it can be challenging to roll out. Keep the dough refrigerated in between baking the batches.
- Check the thickness of your ribbon or string before making the holes in the cookies so you know that you are making a hole large enough to accommodate the piece of ribbon.
- If you don’t want to pipe your icing, you can spread it on the cookies with a small spoon or knife.
- The icing dries out quickly, so keep it covered until you are ready to decorate.
- You can add sprinkles on top of the cookies while the icing is still wet.
- Don’t skip knotting the string at the top of each cookie, or the cookies won’t stay nicely spaced on the ribbon.
- Make sure to bake the cookies until they are crisp and dry. If they are soft, they will break off the string.
- Be sure to check out my other gingerbread recipes:
More Classic Christmas Cookie Recipes
- Three Easy Christmas Cookies to Bake with Kids
- Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- Italian Ricotta Cookies with Christmas Sprinkles
- Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies
- Classic Snowball Cookies
Festive Gingerbread Cookie Garland DIY
- 1 recipe Gingerbread Men Cookie Recipe, chilled
For the Cookie Icing
- Festive cookie cutters (about 3 ½ inches (9 cm)
- Wooden skewer
- Piping bag fitted with a very small round tip
- 5 yards (4 ½ meters) thin ribbon or butcher twine
Bake the Gingerbread Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C) fan assist and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On a floured surface, roll the cookies ¼ -inch (6 mm) thick and cut out your desired shapes for your garland. Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking sheets about 2-inches (5 cm) apart.
- For each cookie, use the flat end of a wooden skewer to poke a hole about a ½-inch (1½ cm) down from the top of the shape.
- Bake the cookies for 18 - 24 minutes or until the cookies are dry and crisp. They need to be crisp cookies to hang for a long period so If they are still soft bake for longer.
- Let cool on the pan for five minutes before transferring on a wire rack to cool completely while you roll and bake off any remaining dough.
Make the Cookie Icing
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk and the corn syrup. The consistency should be pourable but thick enough to stay where it is piped and not run. If needed add the remaining tablespoon of milk, a few drops at a time, until the correct consistency is achieved. (If you are coloring your icing, divide the icing into separate bowls for each color and add a few drops of coloring. Stir until evenly mixed)
- Transfer the icing to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip (or several bags if using multiple colors) and decorate the cookies. Let dry completely, for at least 3 hours, before assembling the garland.
Assemble the Garland
- Lace thin ribbon or butcher twine through each hole and tie a small knot at the top of the cookie to keep it in place. String the cookies about 5-inches (12½ cm) apart, then you are ready to decorate your tree!