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Family Recipes: Holiday Cookie Tree

Family Recipes: Holiday Cookie Tree

Today’s post was written by Lori Morrow, a Bright Horizons employee, mom to a grown daughter and aunt to four nephews

One of our favorite traditions this time of year is to make a holiday cookie tree. It’s simple enough for children of varying ages. It makes a great centerpiece or a sweet gift for your child to share with others.

It’s also very versatile so you can choose just how much time and energy to spend on this activity. For older children, you might choose to have them make your favorite rolled-cookie dough and have them work on another activity while it chills, while for younger children it might be more about the decorating cookies and less about waiting for the dough to be ready!


Cookie Tree Ingredients:12-5-15_Holiday Cookie Tree_Inset

  • rolled cookie dough (sugar or gingerbread works well)
  • frosting or icing
  • candy pieces, gumdrops, or other fun decorative candies
  • set of graduated star-shaped cookie cutters, 6 – 10 pieces
  • food coloring (optional)

Make the Cookies:

  • Using chilled cookie dough, roll out a sheet about ¼” thick
  • Cut two – four cookies for each size star cookie cutter. Additionally, cut extra of the smallest star shape. (I made a tree with fourteen stacked cookies, so I needed about twelve extra small cookies.)
  • Bake according to recipe. Be sure to group cookies by relative size on the cookie sheet. In other words, don’t bake the smallest cookies with the largest cookies or you’ll end up with some very crispy little cookies, and some under-cooked large cookies!
  • Let the cookies cool before frosting. Warm cookies = melted frosting.

Assemble the Tree:

  • Frosting: If you want to frost or ice the entire cookie, do that now and let them set. If not, get ready to stack.
  • Stacking: Starting with the largest cookies, start stacking while remembering to alternate the tips of the star to create the tree. Use a dab of frosting on iced or unfrosted cookies to “cement’ the layers. With the extra small cookies, you can use one in between larger cookies to give the tree some space and height. Remember to keep one small cookie separate and use this as the tree topper.

Decorate the Tree:

If you used a dab of frosting to assemble the tree, you can now use additional frosting to decorate the tree or to use as a “glue” to attach candy pieces. Those of you who frosted the entire cookie can just start adding candies!

Note: If you’re planning on eating your cookie tree, do so within 2-3 days. If you’re not planning on eating your tree, discard it after 2-3 weeks.

Lori Morrow_Blog_PhotoI’m Lori, mom to a grown daughter and auntie to four lovable and crazy nephews, all under the age of six. I’m also a professional photographer, avid reader, Red Sox fan, and a craft blogger in my spare time (knitting and sewing are my main addictions, but I dabble in a dozen other crafts as well). My husband and I love to travel, although I am still unable to sleep on planes so I’m anxiously awaiting teleportation technology to become reality. Beam me up, Scotty… preferably to someplace near the ocean!


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