What is a Cookie Tree?
Baking cookies is a fun and festive way to spend the holidays. Children and adults can both participate in the cookie-making process, making for fun family time. Besides eating all these cookies, which is tempting, you can also use them to make a cookie tree. Cookie trees make great gifts for family members and friends.
Making a cookie tree requires very few supplies, most of which can already be found in the kitchen. You will need a rolling pin, cookie cutters of various sizes, a cookie sheet, a cooling rack, a frosting bag with frosting, and candy decorations. You can use any cookie recipe, although sugar cookies make the best trees because they aren't flaky.
Roll out the cookie dough until it is approximately a quarter inch (10.16 cm) thick. To prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin, coat it in flour. Use the cookie cutters to make cookies of various sizes. Some should be really small for the tip of the cookie tree, while at least one is large for the base. Various size stars make the best cookie trees.
Bake the cookies according to the recipe directions. Cook them until they are slightly crisp to prevent the cookies from breaking when they are stacked as a tree. Allow them to cool completely on a cooling rack.
Color the frosting with food dye, using holiday colors. Fill up the frosting bag with the colored cookie frosting. Frost the cookie that is being used for the base of the tree first. Apply the frosting about a quarter inch thick so it acts as a glue to adhere the other cookies.
Position the cookies, one on top of the other, in order of largest to smallest. Add a quarter inch (10.16 cm) layer of frosting between each cookie. You can make a star on top of your cookie tree by attaching it with frosting so it stands upright.
Attach a fancy frosting tip to your frosting bag and pipe frosting around the layers of cookies. You can make the frosting to resemble garland, lights or popcorn strings. Sprinkle powdered sugar on the tree so it resembles snow, if desired.
Decorate the cookie tree with small candies or sprinkles. Red hots and M&Ms make great ornaments. This is often the kids' favorite part about making a cookie tree. Completed cookie trees can be placed on a paper plate and wrapped in cellophane to distribute as gifts.
I would personally make these out of gingerbread. It's about the right consistency to make sculptures which is why it's always used for gingerbread houses.
A gingerbread cookie tree could actually make a really good accompaniment for a gingerbread house. I've made a house before and you always end up with way too much icing, since it's difficult to work out how much of each color you are going to need until it actually comes to the icing.
If you had a cookie tree around to decorate, you could just use up whatever icings you have left on that tree.
You might need to make a small one for the gingerbread house and a larger one with normal sized cookies for eating though.
@Iluviaporos - It is a really good way for your kids to make Christmas presents for all the relatives. My mother always had us do something like this so that we felt like we were contributing to the celebrations.
We only made the Christmas cookie trees one year though, as they are actually quite large and difficult to take in the car without breaking them.
We always had Christmas at my grandmother's house and it's a good half hour drive away from where we used to live. Our Christmas tree cookies survived the trip, but only just and it was a close call.
Everyone was very impressed with them though, so that was nice. I remember I was more excited about giving out those trees than about all the presents I got that year!
This sounds like a wonderful thing to do with your kids in the lead up to Christmas!
I don't have any kids but I think I'd be tempted to give it a try next year.
I imagine if you use dark green frosting, it would help to create the tree effect. I think I would also use those little edible silver balls that people use on wedding cakes.
Actually I think wedding cake accessories (which are often available at craft stores for some reason) would go very well on a Christmas tree. They are usually white and silver which are Christmas colors after all.
You could also try to make little balls at the end of the star cookies that look like ornaments. You'd have to make quite a crisp cookie for that to work properly though.
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