These gingerbread ornaments look and smell like edible gingerbread - but don't eat them! They become very hard after they are baked and are meant to be painted and then hung as Christmas ornaments.
6 tbsp. shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
7 cups flour
1 1/2 cups water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat shortening and sugar together in a large bowl. Stir in molasses.
Sift baking soda, ground cloves, ginger, cinnamon and flour together in a large bowl. Stir this mixture plus water into the sugar and shortening mixture, alternately adding the water and baking soda mixture to the shortening mixture.
Stir until mixed thoroughly and refrigerate 6-8 hours.
Cut dough into three equal pieces, knead each piece lightly and then use a rolling pin to roll out each piece to a 1/4-inch thickness.
Use holiday cookie cutters made in the shapes of gingerbread people and houses to cut shapes out of the dough.
Use a medium- to large-sized drinking straw or the end of a wooden chopstick to make a hole at the top of each shape.
Put cookies on cookie sheets and bake for about 20 minutes. Turn oven off and allow cookies to cool in the oven. This will help harden the cookies.
Place cookies on racks to completely harden. Place racks in a cool, dry place and let sit for two to three days.
Coat cookies with clear acrylic or varnish and allow cookies to dry thoroughly.
Paint cookies with acrylic paints as desired. Allow paint to dry thoroughly.
Thread a 5- to 6-inch length of narrow ribbon or cording through the hole at the top of each ornament. Knot ends and hang ornaments.
Tips & Warnings
This recipe can be halved. The recipe above makes approximately 30-40 cookies; the number of cookies you actually get will depend upon the size of your cookie cutters.
String gingerbread people together to make a gingerbread garland or a gingerbread wreath.
Coat cookies with an additional layer of clear acrylic or varnish to protect paint.
Explain to small children that these cookie ornaments are not to be eaten.