Houseful of Nicholes asked who wanted to participate in the 12 Days of Cookies, and inside I was like oh yes I do want to join in because how fun is this, but on-line I was like yeah, if you need someone I'll do it. Because I'm all casual like that!
Instantly, I knew what I was going to make: a Christmas Tree.
I did this quite a few years ago and thought it was really pretty cute and it looks harder to make than it is. And if you can make yummy cookies that impress people, well, why not?
Melodee and ever since she shared it with me, I've never used another! After mixing, I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and placed it in the fridge. This dough, I've found, works best when it's just slightly cold. If it's too cold, it cracks and if it's too warm it's too sticky. I find just under an hour in the fridge is perfect and if it has to stay in longer, I just let it sit at room temperature until it softens.
Anyway, I pulled it out of the fridge and had some kids very eager to roll it out! I handed them some dough, a rolling pin, and a stack of cookie cutters. Be careful cutting them out, I warned, we need two cookie of each size so you have to pay attention!
So we carefully cut them out, placed on the cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and I was in charge of baking them. Which is good, because these cookies go from done to burned very quickly. I don't even leave them on the pan when I take them out of the oven - I move them to cooling racks right away!
Now truthfully, this is where I stop for the day. After the cookies are cooled, I put them in a storage container and stop for the day. Yes, a two day cookie - not because they need to be, but because it's better for me to do it that way! If you don't have two days, do it in one. If you only have smaller chunks of time, split it up!
Day two of cookies is frosting day! Another thing the kids like to do. I whip up the frosting, fill bags, and let them go. We used a royal icing and outline the cookie and then fill it in. The kids do a great job at this because even if they don't, we just spread the frosting out a little bit with a spatula and call it a day!
Now step back. You have a gorgeous cut-out cookie Christmas tree. That isn't any more wok than traditional cut-out cookies. In fact, it's probably a bit of less work because you don't need to decorate them fancy - just top with green icing and you are good to go!
We also made one extra of the tiniest star and decorated it with sprinkles so it could be our tree topper! It looks lovely I think. And every one will be oohing and aahing over your cookies!
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cream of tartar
1/2 t salt
Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix in rest of ingredients.
Flatten into a disc and chill for at least one hour.
Bake 6-8 minutes at 400 degrees.
*You'll need to double the recipe to make a tree the size of mine
2 pounds powdered sugar
5 Tablespoon meringue powder
1/2-3/4 cups water
2-3 teaspoon of vanilla
Food coloring (if desired)
Mix the vanilla into half the water.
Put the sugar and meringue powder into a mixing bowl and mix it at low speed.
Slowly add the water/vanilla mix.
Then add as much of the water as you need to get the frosting to a honey-like consistency.
Add food coloring (if desired).
Continue to mix for a few minutes, until it can form soft peaks.
I find this is a bit thinner than other recipes, but I like it that way much better! I even sometimes add a bit more water to thin it out just a bit more.
Bake. Frost. Eat. Enjoy =)