For me, the holidays are all about having fun and indulging in sweet treats! My family is always laughing… especially when there is any cooking or baking involved. We love spending time together in the kitchen making something yummy and creative. It’s always in good sport of course.. even when we are all secretly trying to outdo one another with our baking skills. ;) Jeff loves to make his Mom’s fudge while Emma and I live for baking cookies. (Emma is SO good!!)
Today I’m sharing a new spin on one of our family favorite recipes.. the traditional sugar cookie in a special blogger cookie swap. Rather than make individual sugar cookies this time around, we decided to attempt making Frosted 3D Christmas Tree Cookies using our favorite sugar cookie dough.. I love how they turned out!
Sugar cookies are one of my family’s holiday staples. We own an abundance of cookie cutters and we bake sugar cookies at every Christmas get together. Recently while out shopping I found a box of stacking star cookie cutters in an assortment of sizes. (think baby star to grandaddy star) The cover shared the cutest 3D Christmas tree using the cookie cutters and I immediately knew that I had to make them for my special cookie swap. They were that adorable.
The 3D trees are not only delicious but they make the sweetest centerpiece for a holiday party, kid’s get together and more. Love that.. My favorite part is that you can make them using any kind of cookie dough: we made ours with our favorite sugar cookie recipe but you can swap that out for a gingerbread, chocolate, molasses, lemon or whatever type of cookie recipe your heart desires. Today I’m sharing the recipe that I used to make my 3D cookies along with detailed instructions on how to stack the cookie trees properly. I can’t believe how easy it was. :)
If sugar cookies aren’t really your thing – be sure to check out my friend Courtney from Pizzazzerie. Courtney makes the most amazing chewy molasses cookies. She is so talented.. every recipe that I have tried of hers is pure perfection. Click here to see her amazing blog and Christmas cookie recipe for yourself.
Also, make sure to take a peek at some of my other blogger friends recipes below who are taking part in today’s cookie swap – ALL of their holiday cookies look incredible! (Especially my sweet friend, Caitlin.. she and her mom, Carla made the most adorable and delicious sugar cookies like Emma and I did today. She’s also such a sweetheart.. I love the fact that she and her Mom shared the recipe together!)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 pinch powdered sugar (for rolling out dough)
- 1 roll parchment paper
- 7 graduated star shape cookie cutters, from 1 1/4 inch to 5 inches wide
- 1 pastry bag
- 1 small round pastry tip (2mm)
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter & sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from side of bowl. Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a disk 3/4 to 1 inch thick, wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured large work surface, roll out one dough disk 1/8 inch thick. Using the 7 different-sized cookie cutters, cut out 2 cookies of each size, for a total of fourteen cookies. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, putting the larger stars together and the smaller stars on the second sheet. Roll and cut out the second dough disk the same way and add the cookies to the sheets. You should have 28 cookies total, four stars of each size. (If needed, gather up the dough scraps, reroll, and cut out any missing stars.) Refridgerate the baking sheets for 15 minutes.
Position two oven racks, evenly spaced, in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until they look firm, switching the baking sheets between the racks about halfway through the baking time. Keep an eye on the smaller stars, as they will have to come out of the oven sooner. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to the racks and let cool completely.
Fit the pastry bag with the pastry tip and fill with white icing. Outline the points of the stars by piping small dots along their edge, stopping about 1/3 away from the tip. Let the stars sit for about 30 minutes, until completely dry.
For each tree, have ready 14 cookie stars, two of each size. Place the largest star on a plate and pipe a small amount of icing in the center of the star. Place the same-sized star on top, angling it slightly so the the star tips don’t line up. Continue topping the stack with stars in decreasing size, always adding 2 same-sized stars at a time, adhering them with a bit of icing, and angling them slightly. End with one of the smallest stars on top lying flat, and then place the other smallest star so that it stands upright, adhering it in place with a little icing. Let dry completely before displaying.
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1 1/2 tsps vanilla
- 1-2 tbs milk
- 1 medium bowl
- 1 electric mixer or mixing spoon
Mix the butter and powdered sugar in a medium bowl with a spoon or an electric mixer on low speed.
Stir in the vanilla and one tablespoon of milk. Once mixed, gradually beat in the remaining milk to make the frosting smooth and spreadable. If the frosting seems too thick, beat in additional milk a few drops at a time. If the frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar.
Inspiration from elisabet der nederlanden’s book – Holiday Cookies.
Items that helped me throughout this recipe:
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