First cut out paper patterns of deer, horses, etc. Press the patterns into the dough and cut out the figures. These gingerbreads are frosted, if desired, with white icing, or they are gilded,* if they are intended for the Christmas tree.
*The gilding is another clue to the ancestry of these cakes. Plain gold leaf (without the paper backing) was used to decorate both sweet and savory banquet dishes in medieval England and France and is still used for garnishing on grand occasions in India. Gilding may be done more simply (and inexpensively!) by painting the dough with egg yolk to give it a golden color after baking, but
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