My family and I love Christmas Trees. We just can’t get enough of them at Christmas. This year upon moving into our new home, we have gone all out on decorating for the holidays with three different trees. Here, three is definitely not a crowd! To celebrate our love for trees, I decided to make a homemade version with this Sugar Cookie Christmas Tree.
Festive and fun and a great project to do with the kids.
Stars are the foundation for this fun, decorative, and edible tree. One day strolling through the arts and craft store, I happened upon this set of star cutters. As you can see, they range from small to large.
For this size tree, each star cutter is used twice when cutting out the dough so you end up with two of each size star and lots of cookies!
Great Do-Ahead Tip
To make this project easy, I like to make the dough in the morning, allow it to chill, then cut out all the stars and bake them off. You can freeze them to do the project later or keep them in an air tight container to assemble the next day.
Sugar Cookie Dough
The tree is made from my favorite sugar cookie dough recipe that I use year after year. Simply delicious and super easy to whip up and pretty straight forward. Not to mention, it rolls out nicely too.
My favorite cut out cookie recipe:
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 4 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
Cream the butter with the sugar on medium high in a stand mixer for 1-2 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix well, add the vanilla. Add in the flour, salt, and baking powder and mix till the dough comes together. It will be slightly stiff. Divide in half and place in plastic wrap and form into two discs. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Royal icing is used here since it will get pretty hard and be a nice touch if using this as a decoration. Reminds me of making gingerbread houses and making huge batches of royal icing.
Meringue Powder vs Egg Whites
Meringue powder is used in place of raw egg whites to ensure food safety. Originally, I was taught to make royal icing using fresh egg whites which produces a really nice result. However, meringue powder is a great substitute and much more safe and also produces a great end result.
Of note, instead of real egg whites you can also use the pasteurized ones that is an equal safe alternative.
I use a forest green gel color to color the icing to make it look like evergreen. Christmas green or leaf green works great too. Additionally, plain white royal icing would make a great look for an elegant tree as well.
Evergreen icing is placed into a piping bag with a small star tip.
Assembling the Christmas Cookie Tree
Once I have my cookies all baked off and royal icing made, I’m ready to go!
First, I take an 8″ round cake circle and use as my foundation for building the tree. Here are the quick and easy steps:
- Place a dab of icing in the center of the cake board
- Place the largest star in the center
- Place a small dollop of icing in the center of the first cookie star
- Place the second largest start on top of the icing but turned so the star tips are not directly placed over the ones underneath.
- Pipe long rows of icing on the tips from the center out to the end.
- Sprinkle the icing immediately with powdered sugar.
- Repeat the stacking process with each duplicate sized stars going from largest to smallest till you get to the smallest star.
- Place one of the smallest star on top of the stack.
- Pipe some icing vertically on top of that star and place the other small star on top allowing the icing to hold it in place.
Also, after you pipe the icing on each star level tips, you can shake your favorite sprinkles on the icing before it dries.
Makes a great holiday gift or centerpiece on your table!
Other ideas for the cookie is using a chocolate sugar cut out or gingerbread!
Check out two of my favorite and festive holiday desserts: