Transform basic gingerbread into reindeer, foxes, raccoons, and other forest frolickers with the help of royal icing.
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royal icing woodland creatures gingerbread cookies
Credit: Johnny Miller

As much as Martha loves classic gingerbread people and adores making gingerbread houses, our founder is always looking for new ways to decorate cookies for the holidays. These gingerbread woodland creatures are one of her latest inspired ideas. All four of the below cookie decorating techniques start with her favorite Basic Gingerbread Recipe—and you'll also need plenty of Royal Icing on hand for the finishing touches.

Foxes and Raccoons

They're the cutest of gingerbread treats and sure to go fast. Martha's fox and raccoon cookies use a similar decorating process. To make them, you'll need:

  • Fox and raccoon cookie cutters
  • 3 pastry bags
  • 3 small round pastry tips
  • 3 larger round pastry tips
  • Toothpicks (for each shape)
  • Orange-and-black food coloring (for foxes)
  • Gray-and-black food coloring (for raccoons)

To Start

Stamp out shapes using fox and raccoon cutters before chilling and baking according to Basic Gingerbread Cookies directions; let cool completely.

Foxes

  1. Separate the white royal icing into 3 batches; use food coloring to tint one orange and another black, leave the other batch white.
  2. Fit 3 pastry bags with couplers and small tips. Fill with orange, black, and white icing, respectively.
  3. Start by outlining the foxes' faces with white icing, then change to the larger tip and fill in or "flood" the cookies, pulling icing to the edges of the outlined section with a toothpick. Let the icing dry before moving on to the next color.
  4. Repeat with orange icing, outlining and flooding the rest of each cookie.
  5. Use black icing to pipe arms, hands, eyes, mouth, and feet.
  6. Let dry completely before enjoying or packaging to share.

Raccoons

  1. Separate the white royal icing into 3 batches; use food coloring to tint one gray and another black, leave the other batch white.
  2. Fit 3 pastry bags with couplers and small tips. Fill with gray, black, and white icing, respectively.
  3. Start by outlining the with white icing, then change to the larger tip and fill in or "flood" the white sections of the cookies, pulling icing to the edges of the outlined section with a toothpick. Let icing dry before moving on to the next color.
  4. Repeat with gray icing, outlining and flooding icing. Let dry.
  5. Use black icing to pipe arms, hands, eyes, mouth, and feet.
  6. Let the cookies dry before filling in black stripes on tail and mask.
  7. Allow cookies to dry completely.
royal icing mushroom and reindeer gingerbread cookies
Credit: Johnny Miller

Mushrooms and Reindeer

Reindeer and mushrooms might not seem to have much in common but both inhabit Martha's gingerbread woodland, and both are made using the same piping tip and frosting colors. To make them, you'll need:

  • Reindeer and mushroom cookie cutters
  • 2 piping bags
  • 2 couplers
  • 2 small round tips (such as Ateco #2)
  • Toothpicks
  • Red-and-white food dye
  • White sanding sugar (optional)

To Start

Stamp out shapes using mushroom and reindeer cutters before chilling and baking according to Basic Gingerbread Cookies directions; let cool completely. Separate white royal icing into two batches; tint a smaller batch red with food coloring, leaving the other white. Transfer icing to separate piping bags fitted with couplers and small round tips.

Reindeer

  1. Outline each cookie with white icing to create antler, tail, and hoof details. Sprinkle icing with sanding sugar on antlers, tail, and hooves if desired.
  2. Pipe spots along the back of the deer, then switch to the red icing to pipe the nose.
  3. Let dry completely on cooling racks, icing sides up.

Mushrooms

  1. Outline each cookie with white icing. Then, either leave the centers un-iced or flood them with icing to fill in. If filling in, use a toothpick to pull icing to the edges of the outlined section. Let dry completely before creating the dots.
  2. Use red icing to pipe dots on each mushroom cookie.
  3. Let dry completely on cooling racks, icing sides up.
frosted tree gingerbread cookies
Credit: Johnny Miller

Iced Gingerbread Trees

You can ice all the trees the same green or use several different shades for a more realistic look. To make them, you'll need:

  • Large Christmas tree cookie cutter
  • Pastry bags
  • Coupler
  • Small round pastry tip (such as Ateco #2)
  • Larger round pastry tip (such as Ateco #3 or #4) for each shade of green you plan to use
  • Green-and-white food dye
  • Green sanding sugar (optional)

To Start

Stamp out shapes using the tree cookie cutter, then chill cookies and bake according to the directions in the Basic Gingerbread Cookies recipe; let cool completely. Tint icing as desired.

  1. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small tip with green icing; repeat if using more than one shade of green.
  2. Working on each tier of the tree cookie separately, starting with the top tier: outline with green, then switch to the slightly larger tip and fill in. Repeat with second tier of tree, and so on, to give the impression of multiple layers.
  3. Sprinkle cookie with sanding sugar if desired. Let dry completely on cooling racks, icing sides up.

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