Gingerbread Trees

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 50 min (plus 2 hr chilling)
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: About 24 gingerbread trees
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3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 tablespoon gingerbread spice

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2/3 cup molasses

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

2 to 3 teaspoons hot water

White sanding sugar, for decorating

Candy-coated sunflower seeds, for decorating


  1. Whisk the flour, gingerbread spice, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat the butter, brown sugar and molasses in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium low and add the flour mixture in two batches, beating until just combined. Divide the dough between 2 large pieces of plastic wrap. Flatten into disks and wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350˚. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out 1 disk of dough on a lightly floured surface until about 3/8 inch thick. Cut out trees using 2- to 3-inch cutters. (If the dough becomes too sticky, refrigerate 15 minutes.) Arrange the cutouts 1 inch apart on the prepared pans. 
  3. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are puffed and the edges are lightly set, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on the pans, then remove the cookies to racks to cool completely. 
  4. Roll out the other disk of dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out more cookies. Once the baking sheets have cooled, arrange the cutouts on the pans, bake and let cool. 
  5. Make the icing: Whisk the confectioners' sugar with the water until smooth and very thick. Transfer the icing to a resealable plastic bag, snip off a corner and pipe on the cookies; sprinkle with sanding sugar. Decorate with the sunflower seeds.