Christmas cookie baking that won’t add any calories to your day, but will give you one sweet holiday decoration for your kitchen counter.
Wanting to slow down and enjoy the holiday season more this year, I decided over the weekend to take my own advice.
Instead of working, I listened to Christmas music and had an enjoyable afternoon using these cookie cutters.
I went in search of them in my cookie cutter stash after my daughter told me that today, December 4th is National Cookie Day. I looked it up and sure enough it is an annual day created for enjoying the art of cookie baking, but also a day where many retailers are giving away free cookies all day. Like Cinnabon and Mrs. Fields along with a few others.
I bought the Wilton star shaped cookie cutters and directions to make a cookie tree for 59 cents at a yard sale about 15 years ago. I kept them all these years and finally used them for the first time yesterday.
My day of baking was more about enjoying the day and remembering baking Christmas cookies with my mom and sisters in the small kitchen that had a multi-colored spotted floor in the house I grew up in.
It was always so cozy and warm, not only from the heat of the oven, but the warmth of the Christmas music playing from the FM radio that sat on top of the refrigerator while we went about our cookie baking tasks. The cozy factor was upped quite a bit if it was snowing outside and we were snow-bound.
We made all types of cookies, Vienna Crescents, Forgotten Cookies, M&M Cookies and a few others. After they cooled they went into Christmas tins and were stored on the dining room buffet until they were gone, which was usually within a few days. Then it was back to the kitchen to make more so we would have enough for Christmas Day.
I am sharing my less than perfect attempt to show you that I was not after perfection. My afternoon of baking was more about bringing back my fond memories and enjoying a holiday pastime.
The Wilton booklet that came with the cutters has many different ideas on what type of cookie to make to create a tree, but also how to ice and decorate it. I made sugar cookies, but you could also make the tree using a Gingerbread recipe.
I chose to make the cookie tree instead of individual cookies so I could use it as a holiday decoration for my kitchen counter…
… and not be able to eat it. I don’t need the calories, just the fun of an afternoon of holiday baking.
Have you ever made a Christmas cookie tree like this?
If you like to bake Christmas cookies around the holidays, you may enjoy these delicious cookie recipes from my blog’s archives.
Pecan Cherry Cookies are my favorites.
These Chinese Almond Cookies stack easily and are perfect for wrapping up in a pretty box to give as holiday hostess gifts.
To find out more about National Cookie Day and where you can get free cookies today, check out this site: National Cookie Day
Here is the recipe I used to make my Christmas Cookie Tree
Christmas Cookie Tree
A Christmas Cookie tree can be made using a sugar or gingerbread recipe. I used the Roll-Out Cookie Dough Recipe that came with the Tree Cookie cutter Kit.
To create the tree, double this recipe.
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups flour
Preheat over to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add baking powder and flour, one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. The dough will be very stiff; blend last flour by hand if needed. ( If dough becomes too stiff and does not hold together in a ball, add water, a teaspoon at a time). Do not chill
Working with one cookie dough ball at a time, roll each out on a floured surface to 1/4" thick. Cut out star shapes.
Bake on ungreased cookie sheet on middle rack of oven; small and medium sized stars for 6-7 minutes, larger stars for 10-15 minutes or until light brown. Remove cookies from sheet immediately onto wire racks to cool.
To Make Royal Icing:
When making Royal Icing make sure the bowl and utensils are grease-free, since any trace of grease will cause it to break down. Royal icing dries quickly, so keep bowl covered with a damp cloth at all times.
3 level tablespoons Wilton Meringue Powder
4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
6 tablespoons water*
Beat all the ingredients at low speed for 7-10 minutes (10 - 12 minutes at high speed for a portable mixer) until icing forms peaks. This icing can be stored in an airtight container and rewhipped before using. Makes 3 cups.
*For stiffer icing when using a heavy-duty mixer, add 1 tablespoon less water.
How to Assemble Tree:
You will need 2 of each size star to create the tree.
Add icing to piping bag and assemble cookies largest to smallest on doily covered cake stand. Place a dab or two of icing between each cookie as you stack them.
Place a dot of icing on each tip of the stars and add one red M&M candy to each. Let icing dry.
For top star, place one small star on wire rack. Water down Royal Icing and pour over one of the star. Let dry. Use Royal Icing to attach it to the top of the tree.
Sift confectioner's sugar over tree.