Cookie Tree

This is the most Christmas sugar cookie arrangement ever! Super easy to assemble and decorate unlike gingerbread houses! I whipped up a batch of green buttercream for my tree the day before, chilled it and let it come to room temperature the next day. 

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I finished off the tree with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and a golden star! I love breaking out the edible gold leaf, yes it’s expensive but you end up using it in moderation and it makes such an impact. To make my golden star I painted on a thin layer or sugar glaze and the gold stuck right on! As you can see in the video I cut double the needed stars to give my tree some height. Pipe buttercream to attach each layer using a small closed star tip.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR THIS COOKIE TREE

A Christmas tree made from star-shaped sugar cookies.

PRO TIPS FOR THE BEST COOKIE TREE

  • If your butter isn’t room temp just cut the sticks into a few slices and microwave on 50% power in 5 second bursts. Flip the butter with every burst.
  • Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don’t have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.
  • Scrape your bowl down a few times. If you have a glob to two of butter that doesn’t get mixed with the flour it will loose shape and melt when baked.
  • The dough only needs to be chilled for about 20-30 minutes. Just until it’s firm enough to cut and handle without marring the edges.
  • The different sized stars will bake for different times so bake the large ones on separate cookie sheets so they can come out later.
  • I used a good amount of green food coloring for the buttercream but you can get a nice soft green by using matcha powder to color and flavor the buttercream. When you’re trying to get an especially vivid color with buttercream, make it ahead and you’ll see the color come through.
  • You might need to let your buttercream set for a while after building the tree and before covering the tips of the stars in buttercream and decorations.
  • If you can’s find the mini chocolate spheres I used for the ornaments try other smaller candies like M&Ms or even crushed candy canes.

HOW TO MAKE A COOKIE TREE

Suggar cookie batter being mixed for stained glass cookies.

1. Sift your the flour, corn starch and salt in a large bowl. Give it a whisk.

2. In your standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together.

Butter and sugar getting creamed for stained glass cookies.

3. Add the eggs while mixing. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

4. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and mix to combine.

Rolling sugar cookie dough out to make stained glass cookies.

5. Pour in the flour mixture and mix until everything is well incorporated, making sure to scrape the bowl down.

6. Put the dough in a plastic bag, flatten it together, then chill it in the refrigerator so it firms up.

Sugar cookies getting cut into star shapes.

7. Once the dough is chilled, place it on a rolling mat, sprinkle with flour and roll out with a rolling pin. Move the dough around so to prevent it from sticking. Use your Star-Shaped cookie cutters to cut out your cookies. You’ll want lots of the smaller stars for spacers between the layers. Take away extra scraps to re-roll for more cookies. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 375F for 12 minutes.

8. Cream your butter and salt then sift half the powdered sugar in and mix on low. Sift in the remaining sugar then mix again. Scrape the bowl down and add your vanilla and food coloring.

Star-shaped sugar cookies getting stacked to form a tree.

9. Transfer buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a #30 star tip. Pip a ring fo buttercream onto your first (cooled) cookie then place the largest star on top. Add another ring of buttercream then place a smaller star on top followed by the second to largest star.

10. Continue building your cookie tree until it is at the height you desire. You may want to let the tree hang out for a while so the buttercream sets and stabilizes the tree before decorating.

Green buttercream piped onto a cookie tree.

11. Pipe dollops of green buttercream onto the tips of your cookies.

12. Add the ornaments! This step is optional but I happened to have some candy colored chocolate balls that were PERFECT for this. You can use M&Ms or any colorful candy you like.

A gold star getting placed on a cookie tree.

13. To make my golden star I painted on a thin layer or sugar glaze and the gold leaf stuck right on! If you don’t have any edible gold leaf on hand you can use some yellow food coloring to dye a bit of buttercream or glaze and cover your star with that.

14. Dust with powdered sugar then place your star on top and enjoy!

 

IF YOU LOVE THIS RECIPE TRY THESE OUT!

Santa Cupcakes

Christmas Tree Cake

Amazing Christmas Cakes

Snowflake Cake

If you’ve tried these cookies then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you!

Cookie Tree

A decadent treat made from sugar cookies and buttercream!
Course      Dessert
Cuisine     American
Prep Time   1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time   12 minutes
Total Time   42 minutes
Servings          10
Calories      160kcal

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 cups unsalted butter 339g, Room temp
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar 300g
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour 720g
  • 1 cup cornstarch 125g
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt 7g
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract 15mL

For the Buttercream:

  • 1 tbsp vanilla 15mL
  • 1 lb confectioner’s sugar 454g
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature 225g
  • 3 tbsp heavy whipping cream 45mL, add as needed

For the Assembly:

  • ½ cup confectioners sugar 60g
  • 1 tbsp whole milk 15mL
  • 4 inch sheet edible of gold leaf
  • Paint brush medium

Instructions

For the Cookies:

  • Preheat to 375F.
  • Cream butter and sugar together.
  • Add eggs one at a time then the vanilla extract while mixing on low, scrape the bowl down.
  • On low, mix in flour, cornstarch and salt.
  • Separate dough into two parts. Wrap in plastic and chill for about an hour.
  • Roll out between two pieces of parchment paper.
  • Roll to between ½ and 1/4 inch thickness.
  • With a cookie cutter, cut out star shapes.
  • Place stars on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for about 12 minutes.
  • Allow cookies to cool on their baking sheet until room temperature.

For the Buttercream:

  • Cream the butter If you’re using a stand mixer you’ll want the paddle attachment for this part.
  • Sift in half the confectioner’s sugar and mix on low. Scrape the bowl down and sift in the remaining sugar then mix once more.
  • Add the vanilla and then the cream a tablespoon at a time. Beat until you have an even, fluffy consistency. Mix in food coloring until you have the desired color.
  • Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a size 30 star tip.

For the Assembly:

  • Use the buttercream as glue between each layer.
  • Start by piping buttercream to the bottom of a medium sized star.
  • Place star in the middle of a cake stand and press.
  • Alternate sizes between small and large stars to create a layered look to ascends into a tree. Save a small star for the tree topper.
  • Once you’re finished stacking, pipe buttercream onto each branch.
  • Add ornament decorations. I used Christmas color chocolate balls to decorate with. Dust with powdered sugar for a snowy effect.

For the Star:

  • Mix milk and powdered sugar together to create a glaze.
  • Paint the glaze onto the cookie using a paintbrush.
  • Place a sheet of gold leaf over the the cookie.
  • Flatten with brush and smooth out.
  • Pipe buttercream to the top star.
  • Place gold star as the tree topper.

Video

Notes

  • The dough only needs to be chilled for about 20-30 minutes. Just until it’s firm enough to cut and handle without marring the edges.
  • The different sized stars will bake for different times so bake the large ones on separate cookie sheets so they can come out later.
  • If your butter isn’t room temp just cut the sticks into a few slices and microwave on 50% power in 5 second bursts. Flip the butter with every burst.
  • Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don’t have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.
  • Scrape your bowl down a few times. If you have a glob to two of butter that doesn’t get mixed with the flour it will loose shape and melt when baked.
  • Use a high-quality vanilla if you can. Aside from the butter it’s the main flavor you’ll taste and worth the splurge!
  • I used a good amount of green food coloring for the buttercream but you can get a nice soft green by using matcha powder to color and flavor the buttercream.
  • You might need to let your buttercream set for a while after building the tree and before covering the tips of the stars in buttercream and decorations.
  • If you can’s find the mini chocolate spheres I used for the ornaments try other smaller candies like M&Ms or even crushed candy canes.

Nutrition

Serving: 38g | Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2.5g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 105mg | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 200IU | Iron: 0.7mg