Make gingerbread dough using the recipe above. Refrigerate overnight. Gather an assortment of leaves in all shapes and sizes. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1⁄4-inch thick. Press leaves into the dough, vein side down—apply plenty of pressure. Using a sharp knife cut around the sides of the leaves. When cutting around stems, leave extra dough on each side.
Gently pull excess dough from around leaf. If you want to hang the leaves, use a straw to make a hole near the base of the leaves. Transfer the gingerbread leaves to a cookie sheet and carefully pull the real leaves away. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Place on rack to harden for several days, then seal with spray varnish. Remember, these are for show, not to eat.—E.E.
Beat shortening and sugar together then stir in molasses. Mix dry ingredients and gradually add shortening mixture, beating on low.