Enjoy the festive season with some delicious Christmas tree sugar cookies. These cookies, made from homemade sugar cookie dough, offer a wonderful blend of sweet and buttery flavors. Once cooled, these sugar cookies are decorated to resemble Christmas trees, complete with green buttercream frosting and decorations.
What’s more is that you can easily whip up these cookies at home! The process of making the sugar cookie dough, rolling it out, and then cutting it into shapes is a fun, hands-on activity. Moreover, decorating the cookies with cream cheese frosting, sprinkles, and crystal sugar brings out the child in everyone, making it a great family activity.
The star of this recipe is cream cheese frosting. The frosting, made with softened cream cheese, butter, and a hint of vanilla extract, brings a rich, creamy texture and depth of flavor to these cookies.
Plus, the green food coloring gives it a festive touch, making these cookies a perfect addition to your holiday baking list. So why wait? Bring out your rolling pin, preheat your oven, and let's start baking these wonderful Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies!
Want to learn how to make this Christmas tree sugar cookies recipe? Then keep on reading.
What are Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies?
Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies are a delicious treat that perfectly captures the spirit of the holiday season. This recipe involves making sugar cookie dough, cutting it into festive shapes using a cookie cutter, and baking until golden brown.
What makes this recipe truly special is the combination of a few simple ingredients and some fun, creative techniques. The process of rolling out the dough and using cookie cutters to create Christmas tree shapes is a baking tradition that many people enjoy. But what sets this recipe apart is the decorating process.
The use of green food coloring in the cream cheese frosting gives the cookies their tree-like appearance, and the technique of piping the frosting onto the cookies adds a touch of skill and artistry. The finishing touch, a sprinkle of Christmas-themed decorations, gives these cookies a festive look.
Making these Christmas tree sugar cookies at home is a fun and creative activity. The sugar cookies themselves have a wonderful, buttery flavor, and the cream cheese frosting adds a sweet, creamy contrast. Plus, when paired with a warm cup of cocoa, these cookies make for the perfect cozy treat to enjoy during the holiday season.
What Makes This Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies Recipe Special?
- Easy to make: The recipe is simple and straightforward, even for beginners. The sugar cookie dough is easy to handle and the cream cheese frosting requires just a few ingredients. Plus, the prep time is minimal - just chill the dough for an hour, roll it out, and you're ready to bake!
- Delicious: The combination of the buttery sugar cookie and the creamy frosting is a match made in heaven. The vanilla extract in the frosting adds an extra layer of flavor that pairs perfectly with the sweet cookie base.
- Versatile: These cookies are great for any occasion, not just Christmas. The dough can be cut into any shape you like and decorated with different colors of frosting and sprinkles. Plus, you can easily change up the flavor by adding almond extract or using a different kind of frosting.
- Family-favorite: These Christmas tree sugar cookies are a family favorite, loved by both kids and adults alike. They're fun to decorate and even more fun to eat!
- Crowd pleaser: These cookies are sure to impress at any holiday party. They're not only tasty but also visually appealing, with a bright green frosting and festive sprinkles. The recipe makes a large batch, perfect for serving a crowd.
What You Need to Make Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies at Home
All you need are some simple pantry staple ingredients to make this Christmas tree sugar cookie recipe recipe at home. Let's look at them in more detail:
- Sugar Cookie Dough: We will be using a homemade sugar cookie dough recipe to bake these festive cookies. The dough should be covered with plastic wrap and chilled for one hour to achieve the best cut-out results.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Cream Cheese: Softened cream cheese is used to make the frosting. It gives the frosting a rich and creamy texture, enhancing the overall flavor of the cookies.
- Butter: Also part of the frosting, butter gives it a smooth, velvety texture and adds a touch of savory flavor to balance the sweetness.
- Vanilla Extract: A little bit of vanilla extract is used to enhance the flavors of both the cookie dough and frosting. It adds a subtle sweetness and aroma that compliments the cream cheese and butter.
- Sea Salt: A pinch of sea salt is used in the frosting to balance out the sweetness and enhance the overall flavor.
- Powdered Sugar: This is the sweetener in our frosting. It not only makes the frosting sweet but also helps in giving it a smooth and spread-friendly consistency.
- Green Food Gel Color: This is what will give our frosting that vibrant Christmas tree green. It is a fun way to add a festive touch to our cookies.
- Sanding and Crystal Sugar: These are used for decorating cookies. They add a sparkly touch and a bit of crunch to the soft sugar cookies.
- Sprinkles: More fun decorations! Sprinkles add color, texture, and a little extra sweetness to our Christmas cookies.
How to Make Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies (Step-by-Step)
Making this incredible Christmas tree sugar cookie recipe is easier than you think. Here's how to make them at home step by step:
How to Shape and Bake Your Sugar Cookies
To start off, divide your sugar cookie dough into two equal parts. Place each part onto a lightly floured silicone baking mat. This prevents your dough from sticking to the surface.
Next, grab your rolling pin (also lightly floured to prevent sticking) and roll out the dough to a thickness of about ¼-inch. If the dough seems too sticky, don't hesitate to sprinkle on a little more flour.
Once your dough is rolled out, it is time to shape your cookies. Using a cookie cutter, cut out your desired shapes - snowflakes, stars, or in our case, Christmas trees.
Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat this process with the second piece of dough until you've used it all.
Now, arrange your cut cookies on a baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space between each cookie. This allows for even baking. Preheat your oven to 375 F and bake your cookies for about 8 minutes, or until you see a light brown color around the edges.
After baking, let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Then, transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. This is important because if you start decorating while the cookies are still warm, the frosting may melt.
How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting for Decorating
While your cookies are cooling, it is time to prepare your cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again often to guarantee that all ingredients are completely incorporated.
Next, add vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and powdered sugar to your bowl. Mix these ingredients on low speed until the powdered sugar is moistened. Then, increase your mixer's speed and beat until the mixture is smooth.
To bring in the Christmas spirit, add your desired amount of green food coloring to the frosting. Mix until all the color is combined. If you want your frosting to have a snowy-dusted look, don't fully mix in the green coloring.
Finally, use a piping bag with a large star attachment to pipe frosting onto your cookies in the shape of a tree.
To bring your trees to life, sprinkle some Christmas-themed sprinkles, sand, or crystal sugar to represent ornaments on your tree.
Now, your Christmas tree sugar cookies are ready to be enjoyed!
Tips for Making the Best Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies Ever
- Chill the Dough: Chilling the sugar cookie dough for at least an hour helps it hold its shape during baking and gives the best cut-out results. Remember to cover it with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
- Rolling Dough Thickness: When rolling out your dough, aim for about ¼-inch thickness. This guarantees that your cookies bake evenly and are sturdy enough for decorating.
- Flour is Your Friend: If your dough seems too sticky, don't be afraid to use more flour. Lightly flouring your silicone baking mat and rolling pin can prevent sticking and make dough handling easier.
- Cool Before Decorating: Always allow your cookies to cool completely before decorating. This prevents the frosting from melting and helps maintain your beautiful designs.
- Coloring the Frosting: For a snowy dusted Christmas tree look, don't mix the green food gel into the cream cheese frosting completely. This will give your frosting a marbled, realistic tree effect.
- Piping Frosting: Using a large star attachment on your piping bag will give your frosting the appearance of a Christmas tree. Easily create the branches by starting at the bottom and working your way up.
- Decorating with Sprinkles: Sprinkles, sanding sugar, or crystal sugar can represent ornaments on your tree. Adding these after frosting gives your cookies a festive and fun touch.
- For a festive breakfast treat, pair these Christmas tree sugar cookies with a steaming mug of hot cocoa. The rich chocolate flavor of the cocoa complements the sweet sugar cookie perfectly, setting a cheerful holiday tone for the day ahead.
- Want to add a little more Christmas spirit to your dessert table? Create a beautiful Christmas cookie display by using different shapes of cookie cutters and decorating each cookie with white frosting and a variety of sprinkles. Consider adding some snowflake cookies to the platter too!
- For an afternoon tea party, serve these Christmas tree sugar cookies with a selection of your favorite winter teas. The slightly spicy flavor of a chai tea or the refreshing taste of peppermint tea pairs wonderfully with the sweet and buttery flavor of these cookies.
- Looking for a unique hostess gift? Pack these beautifully decorated Christmas tree sugar cookies in a festive box or tin and bring them to your next holiday party. Your hostess will appreciate the thoughtful, homemade gift.
- Christmas tree sugar cookies also make a delightful after-dinner dessert. Serve them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream for a sweet end to your holiday meal.
- These cookies are also perfect for a cookie exchange party. Bake a double batch, then swap with friends and family. You'll get to taste a variety of different cookies, and everyone will love your charming Christmas tree sugar cookies!
Recipe Variation Ideas for Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies
This delicious Christmas tree sugar cookies recipe is absolutely perfect as is, but if you're looking to change things up, here are a few variation ideas you can try:
- Try it with Almond: If you're a fan of almond flavor, this variation is for you. Simply replace the vanilla extract with almond extract in the sugar cookie dough. This will give your Christmas cookies a unique and delightful twist.
- Make it colorful: For those who love to play with colors, this variation is a must-try. Instead of just using green food coloring for the frosting, try using a variety of colors. This will make your Christmas tree cookies look vibrant and festive.
- Add a hint of mint: If you love the refreshing taste of mint, you can enhance the flavor of your Christmas cookies by adding a teaspoon of peppermint extract to the cream cheese frosting. This will give your cookies a cool, minty flavor that's perfect for the holiday season.
- Go for a different shape: If you want to try something different, you can use different shapes of cookie cutters. Instead of Christmas trees, you can make star-shaped or candy cane-shaped cookies. This will add variety to your Christmas cookie collection.
- Try it with Buttercream Frosting: If you prefer a sweeter, richer frosting, replace the cream cheese frosting with homemade buttercream frosting. The creamy, buttery flavor of this frosting pairs perfectly with the sugar cookies.
Frequently Asked Questions
For the best results, I recommend using my homemade sugar cookie dough. It is a simple recipe that gives the cookies a great flavor and texture. Just remember to cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill it for an hour before using it for cut-outs.
Yes, you can use store-bought frosting if you're short on time. However, the homemade cream cheese frosting in this recipe adds a delightful tangy flavor that pairs wonderfully with the sweet cookies.
If your dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. You can also lightly flour your rolling pin and the surface you're working on to prevent the dough from sticking.
The cookies are done when they are lightly browned around the edges. This usually takes about 11-12 minutes in a preheated oven. Make sure to let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
Absolutely! Feel free to get creative with your decorating. You can use different colored frostings, sprinkles, or even edible glitter to make your cookies stand out. Just remember to let the cookies cool completely before you start decorating.
How to Store Leftover Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies
You can easily store leftover cookies. Once your sugar cookies have completely cooled on wire racks, transfer them to an airtight container.
If you have decorated your cookies with buttercream frosting, white frosting, or any other type of cream, make sure to add a layer of parchment paper between each layer of cookies to prevent them from sticking together.
Place the container in the fridge. Your cookies will stay fresh for up to a week.
Luckily, sugar cookies freeze wonderfully, allowing you to enjoy them even longer. After your cookies have completely cooled, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If your cookies are decorated, make sure the frosting is hardened before freezing.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour, or until the cookies are firm. Transfer the cookies to a freezer-safe bag or container, adding parchment paper between each layer to prevent sticking. They can be frozen for up to three months.
Lastly, label the bag or container with the date. The cookies can be frozen for up to three months.
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The Best Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies (Easy Festive Recipe)
For the Sugar Cookie
- Sugar Cookie Dough (see my favorite homemade sugar cookie dough recipe )
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 16 oz. – softened cream cheese
- 8 oz. – softened butter
- 1 tsp. – vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp. – sea salt
- 6 cups – powdered sugar
- Green food gel color
- Sanding and Crystal sugar
How to Make Sugar Cookie Dough
- See my favorite recipes on how to make the perfect homemade sugar cookie dough recipe.
How to Shape and Bake Your Sugar Cookies
- Preheat you oven to 375 ℉.
- To start off, divide your sugar cookie dough into two equal parts. Place each part onto a lightly floured silicone baking mat. This prevents your dough from sticking to the surface.
- Next, grab your rolling pin (also lightly floured to prevent sticking) and roll out the dough to a thickness of about ¼-inch. If the dough seems too sticky, don't hesitate to sprinkle on a little more flour.
- Once your dough is rolled out, it is time to shape your cookies. Using a cookie cutter, cut out your desired shapes - snowflakes, stars, or in our case, Christmas trees.
- Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat this process with the second piece of dough until you've used it all.
- Now, arrange your cut cookies on a baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space between each cookie. This allows for even baking. Preheat your oven to 375℉ and bake your cookies for about 8 minutes, or until you see a light brown color around the edges.
- After baking, let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Then, transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. This is important because if you start decorating while the cookies are still warm, the frosting may melt.
How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting for Decorating
- While your cookies are cooling, it is time to prepare your cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again often to guarantee that all ingredients are completely incorporated.
- Next, add vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and powdered sugar to your bowl. Mix these ingredients on low speed until the powdered sugar is moistened. Then, increase your mixer's speed and beat until the mixture is smooth.
- To bring in the Christmas spirit, add your desired amount of green food coloring to the frosting. Mix until all the color is combined. If you want your frosting to have a snowy-dusted look, don't fully mix in the green coloring.
- Finally, use a piping bag with a large star attachment to pipe frosting onto your cookies in the shape of a tree. To bring your trees to life, sprinkle some Christmas-themed sprinkles, sand, or crystal sugar to represent ornaments on your tree.
- Now, your Christmas tree sugar cookies are ready to be enjoyed!
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