Remember last year when I made a 3D Gingerbread Christmas Tree out of interlocking cookies so that the tree stands on it’s own? I had so much fun making it that I decided to do something for Halloween too. This time I made a tree from four pieces so that the eight branches resemble spider legs. Perched in a dish of candy it looks rather creepy.
To make this I used one batch of Gingerbread House dough from Simply Recipes that was divided into four equal pieces before chilling it. I roll it to 1/4-inch thickness and bake it until the edges are browning so that it’s as dry and strong as possible. Directions and templates are all below.
I think I have some changes to make but in the mean time I feel like I’ve figured out how to roll out gingerbread dough with as little swearing as possible. As much as I love making gingerbread for construction purposes I really dislike rolling it out. Here is my set up:
The Roll-Pat is an investment but it gives me a smooth surface to use. It grips the tabletop and keeps parchment paper from slipping. A nice, heavy and super wide rolling pin with handles also makes a huge difference, before this I only had a cylinder rolling pin but this one with handles makes the job a lot easier. I have a 15″ rolling pin and it is large enough for everything I’ve used it for so far. I have both silicone and rubber rolling pin rings (one set has 1/2 inch and the other has 5/8ths inch heights). I cannot fit the thicker rubber rings around my larger rolling pin so I switch to my narrower rolling pin if I need to use them.
I let the dough come to room temperature and before I put it down to roll it out I squish flat to about twice the thickness I ultimately want. I like to roll dough between two layers of parchment paper, my house is small and flour gets everywhere so I avoid using it when I can.
Roll between two layers of parchment, and make sure it’s big enough to cut out your shape. I roll out all four pieces of dough first and leave each sandwiched in parchment until I’m ready to cut out my shapes.
I peel off the top layer of parchment and cut away any excess parchment so that it will ultimately fit onto a cookie sheet.
I sprinkle a little flour on top so that my paper template won’t stick.
Keep a pastry brush nearby to brush away excess flour when you’re done, try not to get it all over your floor the way I always manage to do.
To cut around the template I have found that a thin, blunt metal pattern tracing wheel does the job really well, think of it like a miniature pizza cutter. It makes a straighter cut and clears more height than a similar fondant cutter.
To cut tidy details into the corners I use this thin metal sewing ruler. You can also use a flat head screwdriver or a blunt knife, be very careful to not cut into the surface of your rollpat.
After you’re done cutting out your shape remove the excess dough from around it, this will keep the shape from warping or stretching. Then slide that parchment right onto your cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet in the freezer for about ten minutes before baking.
Here are all four baked shapes, and below I’m showing how they fit together.
Here are four images you can use if you’d like to make your own, each should print out at about the size of a sheet of paper:
I think I have more gingerbread experimentation to come. Happy Halloween!