Matching up the perfect sugar cookie recipe with the perfect buttercream recipe gets you an AMAZING Christmas Tree Cookie’s recipe! I saw these Christmas Cookies over on Delish and knew I had to make them! I made a couple of small changes to ensure they would be perfect for everyone. I have a big list of amazing Christmas Cookies right here, including my award-winning Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe!
Christmas Tree Cookies
The first change was the size. When I originally made the cookies according to the instructions they were far too big to handle, much less eat! I made the largest cookie layer of the cookie tree only 3-inches big.
The other change was the recipe. I used an easy, no chilling, delicious sugar cookie dough that made the process much quicker. I love how these turned out and thank you to Delish for the fun idea!
To make these cookies you will need:
sugar cookie recipe (below)
2-inch, 1 1/2-inch, and 1-inch round cookie cutters
vanilla buttercream (recipe below)
green food color
#32 decorating tip and pastry bag
decorative sprinkles or jimmies and mini stars
PRO TIP: If you can’t find mini stars, you can pipe out stars with yellow buttercream and freeze before adding to cookies!
Begin by rolling out cookie dough.
Prepare three cookie sheets each lined with parchment paper. Start cutting out cookies with the 2-inch cookie cutter and set on the pan at least an inch apart. (these cookies should not spread too much) Fill the pan. Now, using the 1 1/2 inch cookie cutter, cut out the same amount of cookies you did with the 2-inch. (So if you made fifteen 2-inch cookies you will want fifteen 1 1/2-inch cookies and fifteen 1-inch cookies) Repeat with the 1-inch cookie cutter.
Repeat this process with any remaining sugar cookie dough.
Bake at 350°F for 6-9 minutes or until the center of the cookie does not appear wet and the edges are JUST barely starting to brown. (I usually remove mine at 7 minutes to avoid browning)
Prepare buttercream and tint with green food coloring. You can make the color as light or as deep as you prefer.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a #32 decorating tip and green buttercream.
When cookies are cooled you can begin piping. Take the largest shape and set on a solid surface. Pipe a ring around the outside with the #32 tip and then fill in the center. Set the next smallest size (1 1/2-inch cookie) on top and pipe around, then fill in the center. Place the final 1-inch cookie on top and pipe out a small dollop on top.
Drop the sprinkles over top. You can use as many or as few as you wish. (I have also placed each individual sprinkle by hand to try and make it look more uniform, but this was a massive amount of time and the final result was not as spectacular as I had envisioned. 😂)
Finally, place the star on top. Repeat for remaining cookies.
Tips, Tricks, Variations
For a couple of the cookies that spread (the ones that I baked after I had re-rolled the dough a couple of times!), I used the cookie cutter on the cookies right out of the oven. Meaning, I set the hot cookies on the counter, pressed the cookie cutter onto any cookie that had slightly spread, then carefully removed the excess. This helped ensure that all my cookies were the same size and shape.
In the original recipe found on Delish, they created the different sizes by rolling out cookie dough into different size balls. While this *seemed* easier, I ended up with really different sizes. I wanted my Christmas Tree Cookies to be uniform and symmetrical, so I found using cookie cutters to be the best option. I also tried piping a garland around the cookie for a prettier effect and while it was pleasing to the eye, it was tough to eat! The kids ended up with frosting all over their hands and faces! (and when I say kids, I mean me.)
Do these cookies work well for a cookie exchange? YES! Speaking from experience, not only do they work well but people LOVE them. They are small enough that you can fit 12 on a platter and because I used a traditional American buttercream that crusts, they are quite sturdy.
Variations could be using a chocolate sugar cookie recipe and a darker tint of buttercream, then sprinkle with powdered sugar.
- 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 tsp. McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp. McCormick® Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp. McCormick® Pure Almond Extract
- 4 cups (440g) confectioners sugar, sifted
- 1 -2 tablespoons whole milk, you can use more if needed
- green food color
- pinch salt
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Add butter to the bowl of your stand mixer and cream on medium-high for 1-2 minutes, or until butter is smooth and lighter in color.
With the mixer on low, slowly add the sugar and then the egg.
Scrape the bowl with the mixer off.
Turn mixer back on low and add in extracts.
Allow all ingredients to combine fully.
Add the baking powder and then the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until fully incorporated.
Remove bowl from mixer and drop dough onto a floured countertop. Roll out into a flat disc, about 1/2 inch thick.
Cut cookies into 2-inch, 1 1/2-inch, and 1-inch cookies and bake at 350 for 6-9 minutes.
Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.
Beat butter in the bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. (about 3 minutes)
With the mixer off or on low, add vanilla and almond extract.
With the mixer on low, slowly add in confectioners sugar, milk, green food color, and salt; frequently scrape sides and bottom of the bowl.
Once incorporated, whip frosting for at least 3 minutes on medium-high to high.
If frosting is too thick to spread, gradually beat in additional milk.
Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.