Gingerbread shadow box, made with layers of gingerbread stacked on top of each other to create this pretty frame.
It’s not the holiday season with out a gingerbread creation.
I had planned to make a gingerbread house, but i suddenly had the idea for this and designed a template for it.
It was quite fiddly to cut out, i wont lie!, but once the deer’s are cut you can free hand the trees a little.
As long as the straight lines are in the right place and the trees are in the same place.Jump to Recipe
To make it, i made a massive batch of gingerbread dough. I thought it would be safer to cut out the layers as whole pieces rather than trying to stick parts together.
Hence the large quantities for the recipe below.
There will be some dough left over. I used it to make a fifth frame layer to stick on top.
Draw around one of the other templates to get the measurements for it.
I also made a few deer gingerbread cookies.
Because the gingerbread dough is made with out any eggs, its safe to eat raw. I like to make cookie dough balls with the left overs and dip in in chocolate.
I found a clay tool (like this light blue one) that had a star end and poked it through the dough to create the star shapes.
Then i added some crushed yellow and orange hard sweets in to the holes i cut for the moon and stars and baked it for 3 minutes.
When you place a light behind it you can see it glow.
If you just want to make some gingerbread trees then i have a tutorial here
I am not very good at piping royal icing. So my trick is to create texture on the dough for the trees. Then i bake them and rub powdered sugar on.
Print the template for the gingerbread shadow box
Print on to A4 paper, the bottom part of the paper is used as the edge of the design.
When cutting out the template use the scissors to pierce the paper in the middle, so you don’t have to cut through the frame.
Because i drew the template and then scanned it, you might find that it is not perfectly straight.
Use a ruler to make sure that the bottom of the template did’t get cropped off by the scanner.
The dough recipe
If you just want to make the deer cookies then use half the quantities.
Excuse the poor step by step photos, it was late at night and i used my phone.
Gingerbread shadow box
- baking paper
- 4 large flat baking trays
- battery powered fairy lights (optional)
- 150 grams unsalted butter softened
- 90 grams caster sugar
- 90 grams soft light brown sugar
- 100 ml golden syrup i use lyles
- 100 ml black treacle i use lyles
- 600 grams plain flour
- 1 and a half tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 10 tbsp milk
- a couple hard candy sweets in yellow or orange
- icing sugar
- gold lustre dust optional
- In a large bowl using an electric whisk cream the softened butter with the sugars until pale and fluffy.
- Add the golden syrup and treacle and whisk together until combined
- mix the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt together then add to the wet ingredients
- Add milk a table spoon at a time until you have a soft dough
- Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours
- Cut out the template ready to start making the gingerbread (see downloads)
- take two large sheets of baking paper to roll the dough out on and get four large flat baking trays
- Flour one of the sheets of baking paper then take some of the dough and roll it out so its large enough for the template. Place the paper with the rolled dough on to a baking tray before you cut it out if its easier, or cut on a board and gently lift the paper across to the tray afterwards. then check its straight.
- Using a sharp knife cut around the template. Make sure the edges are straight and place tray in the fridge to chill while you make the next one
- Keep rolling the dough and cutting around the templates until you have all four. after you have cut it and its on the tray, place the template back over it to check the lines are straight.
- Preheat oven to 180c
- After the dough has chilled while the oven is preheating using clay tool or knife create texture on the trees creating lines to look like branches.
- Bake the top three layers for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden, The antlers can burn so keep and eye on them you can cover them with a tin foil after 4 minutes if you like.For the last layer that goes on the bottom, bake for 10 minutes, then add the crushed sweets in the star and moon holes and bake for a further 3 minutes. To make the stars i used a clay tool that was shaped like a star but you could use a straw and make circles and then use a knife to cut lines. The tool i used was like this one https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outus-Plastic-Ceramic-Sculpting-Assorted/dp/B01J9S3Z0A (the light blue one in the middle)(after 5 minutes i opened the oven and used a knife to poke the star holes open a bit more so they didn't close over when the dough baked.)
- Once all four layers are baked let them cool
- Using the left over dough, draw around one of the templates to get the size and cut a frame to go on the top, Then if you like make the deer cookies or any other shaped cookies you like
- Rub some icing sugar on the trees so it creates a snow pattern, then make some icing glue
- I mix a really thick icing using powdered sugar and water it should be so thick that it can't be poured and more like a paste
- Take the bottom layer with the stars and add some of the paste in small blobs around the edge. then place the next layer on top and gently press them together. continue this with the next layers.
- Once it is built, leave it laying flat to dry.
- To display place some lights behind it. i used battery powdered ones. you could even use the left over dough to build a compartment to place them in.
The deer are made by cutting around the template. Then use a knife or clay tool to create the texture. (bake these for 8 to 10 minutes).
Once cool rub on some icing sugar so it sticks in the indentations.
Happy baking and happy holidays
Find some of my other christmas recipes here.