handmade holidays {guest post} Melissa from The Alchemist

Welcome to another installment of the handmade holiday series!!  I asked six bloggers to share one way to make the holidays hand made and heart felt … and these ladies sure do deliver!!

Today, I want to introduce Melissa from The Alchemist!  Her blog is full of AMAZING recipes (like three of my favorites pictured below) and she posts the coolest quotes with each post!  It’s the perfect place for a foodie and a written word lover, like me!

Gingerbread Loaf :: Wine Jelly :: Cinnamon Tortillas & Fruit Salsa

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” 
~Peg Bracken

My name is Melissa, my blog is The Alchemist where I post awesome recipes that I love. I live with my husband on a small farm in Washington state with some free range chickens and 2 dogs. We’ve lived here for 5 years. Before that we lived in Los Angeles where I pursued a career in acting and modeling. We’re loving our new slower way of life. 

I’m so happy to be here at Shaken Together! I love Keri’s blog. I think she is so clever and smart, so I wanted to come up with something really creative to share.

Gingerbread Cookie Gift tags! 

These cookies have a good amount of spice, so if you are making them for children, you may want to reduce the amounts a little.

These can be used as a gift tag with an initial like I’ve done, or you can write out names on them with the icing. These can even be used as Christmas tree ornaments. (I wouldn’t eat them after that, since I’ve made these prior to Thanksgiving, but if it was a week before Christmas, I might eat them, even if they are slightly stale from sitting out.)

But yes, these are totally edible. Keep them in an airtight container until you wrap the gift.

Gingerbread Gift Tags
adapted from Martha Stewart Living
makes 30-40 gift tags, you can easily halve the recipe if you want to make less

Gingerbread Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 Tablespoons Ground Ginger
1 1/2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. allspice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons molasses – I used a 1 cup measure and eyeballed it
6 cups all purpose flour

Frosting Ingredients

cups sifted powdered sugar 
tablespoon milk (adding in more if needed for proper spreading consistency)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract – use clear vanilla (or omit it) if you want the icing to be totally white, regular vanilla will make it beige, or you can use lemon juice to give it a little lemon flavor.

sprinkles or other decorations for topping

Directions for cookies

In the bowl of an electric mixer, use the paddle attachment to cream the butter and brown sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Mix in the spices and salt. Beat in the eggs and molasses, making sure to scrape down the bowl as needed.  Spray the measuring cup with nonstick spray before pouring in the molasses so it slides right out. This recipe calls for 3/4 a cup plus 2 Tablespoons of molasses, I just eyeballed it in this one cup measure.

Add flour and mix on low speed to combine. Divide dough into thirds, press to flatten and wrap in plastic. Place in fridge and let chill for an hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly flour 2 pieces of parchment paper. Roll out the first piece of dough to 1/8 an inch between the two pieces of parchment. Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes, initials or a large cookie with an initial cut out of the middle. Or any shape you want! Cut a hole for hanging with a straw, or a size 10 or 12 pastry tip. Using a spatula, carefully transfer cookies to parchment lined, or Silpat lined, baking sheet. Cover cookies with parchment paper then top it with a second baking sheet to keep cookies flat while baking. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Keep the baking sheet on top for about 20 minutes while cooling. Let the cookies cool completely before frosting. Frost with the frosting recipe provided if desired. Keep cooled cookies (if frosted make sure they are totally dry, overnight is good) in an airtight container before using.

Frosting Directions

In a medium bowl, mix the powdered sugar with milk (start with 1-2 
tablespoons, you will likely need more milk for the perfect spreading 
consistency). If you are adding sprinkles or other decorations, put them on right after frosting the cookies. Then let dry completely before using.

If you want to write names on the cookies, tint the frosting to desired color, use a pastry bag and writing tip, or put frosting into a small baggie and cut a small hole in the corner for writing. If you are writing on a cookie that has been frosted already, make sure that frosting has dried first.

The dough is easy to work with. Just use two sheets of parchment to roll out the dough, so it doesn’t stick. You can’t use too much flour when rolling these out, since you don’t want them to turn out white.

 Here I’m dividing the dough into thirds to wrap in plastic and let chill for an hour.

Roll the dough out quite thin, 1/8th of an inch. This isn’t super easy to do, especially between parchment. Some of mine are sort of thick. No problem, if yours are thicker you need to just make sure your hole is big enough, so when they bake the hole doesn’t close up.

Cut out whatever shapes you want, initials, here I did a star with an initial inside. My alphabet cookie cutters are sort of big, so to do a cutout like this, I needed to make the outside shape pretty large.

Cut a hole for stringing on top with a straw or a pastry tip if you have one. A number 12 worked the best for me, some of these have a smaller hole.  

Put the cookies on a parchment paper (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Then place a second piece of parchment on the unbaked cookies with another baking sheet on top of that before going in the oven so cookies stay flat while baking.

Right from the oven …

Sprinkling the frosted cookies with edible glitter. Use a toothpick to keep the hole clear.

Frosted and decorated, waiting to dry …

These cookies are crisp, they are meant to be. I tried to under cook my cookies slightly to make them soft. Why not? What could be the problem with that, you say? Well, with my softer cookies I had a hard time stringing a ribbon through them, I had a few break. The softer cookies are just more delicate. So crispy are better and easier to work with.

If you are using thick ribbon for wrapping, it’s so much easier to attach the cookies with a small piece of wire, or a small ribbon attached to the thick ribbon. It’s a chore to get thick ribbon through the hole and not have a break.

Wrap up the gift, attach the gingerbread to ribbon, and watch everyone smile when they receive their special gift.

Happy Holidays!  I wish you a fabulous and joy filled season of giving!

Thanks so much for sharing these edible gingerbread gift tags, Melissa!  What a fun way to sweeten up the holidays … I’d like all of my gifts to come with a cookie!!  You can also find Melissa in her Etsy shop House of Lucien, Facebook and on Pinterest!

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  1. Oh those are so cute!!

  2. Making this this weekend thanks so much

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