When I was a student, I felt quite strongly about having a grown-up household on a low budget – especially for the holidays.  In decorating my Christmas tree, I discovered gingerbread ornaments and white bows.  Combined with tiny white lights, it was the most beautiful tree I had ever seen.  (and the anatomically correct gingerbread people made great conversation at parties).  Because we at UrbanMommies love the environment, and also feel that you can be stylish too – you might want to bake these with your kids.  I kept mine for over 10 years.  (Two tips: a)  they don’t taste great after a few years.  b) don’t let your dog eat them.)

Gingerbread Ornaments

6 T. shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup molasses
2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 cups water
7 cups flour
2 teaspoons each: cloves, ginger and cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy, stir in molasses.

Sift the dry ingredients together. Stir them into shortening mixture in 3 parts alternating with a 1/4 cup of water each time. Dough will be stiff. Refrigerate overnight.

Cut dough into 3 pieces. Knead to warm dough slightly, then roll each piece out about 1/4 inch thick. Cut cookie out with a gingerbread pattern of your choice. Use a drinking straw to punch hole in center if ornament will be hanging.

Place cookies on cookie sheet and bake 20 minutes, turn oven off and let cool in oven. Remove from cookie sheet and place on rack to dry for about 3 days to totally harden.

These cookies are purely for decorative purposes and not to be eaten.

If you wish you can seal cookies with 3 coats of clear acrylic and decorate with colorful acrylic pains when dry.

If you like the smell of gingerbread and are looking for more fun things to do with your kids check our recipe on Gingerbread Playdoh.