Christmas Tree Cookies

December 14, 2020

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Festive Christmas Tree Cookies! Made with a soft and chewy sugar cookie style base, a simple buttery frosting and decorated as pretty pine trees. An easy cookie that’s fun for people of all ages to help with.

Christmas tree cookies shown on a red plate.

Frosted Christmas Tree Cookies

A simple cookie recipe that is actually baked more like bars to begin to simplify the process. After it’s baked it is then cut into wedges, or individual cookies, and decorated from there.

No chilling dough, no rolling dough and no cookie cutters required. This version is all about being easy.

I made these with my kids this weekend for a fun baking project and I thought they were too good not to share.

These are unbelievably soft, deliciously buttery, perfectly sweet (once you add the frosting) and they’re simplistically satisfying – yet pretty and festive. Plus the decorating options are endless.

I’ve listed the recipe to include a little extra frosting because we know how kids (and some of us adults) like to decorate cookies – extra frosting and loads of sprinkles.

If you like sugar cookies or blondies this is the holiday cookie for you!

Triangular decorated Christmas tree cookies shown on a red surface.

Christmas Tree Cookie Recipe Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour: I use unbleached but bleached will work nearly just the same.
  • Baking soda: This gives the cookie some lift and some color.
  • Salt: To help balance the sweetness and bring out the flavors.
  • Granulated sugar: I don’t add a whole lot to the cookie so it’s not overly sweet once frosting is added. You could even cut back to 1/2 cup in the dough.
  • Unsalted butter: You’ll need butter for both the cookie and the frosting.
  • Egg: For a substitute I would try something listed here.
  • Vanilla extract: We’ll add to both the cookie dough and the frosting for great flavor.
  • Almond extract: This is optional. Just use more vanilla if you omit.
  • Powdered sugar: Also known as confectioners sugar. Used to build up and sweeten the frosting.
  • Milk: Added to thin the frosting. I like this frosting to be just barely runny so it’s more smoothly pipe-able. Any fat percentage of milk will work here.
  • Green food coloring, Christmas sprinkles, and pretzel rods: All of these are optional. If you just want to drizzle over a pretty snowy white frosting that would be fun too.

Scroll down for full recipe with amounts and print option.

Image of ingredients used in making Christmas tree cookies.

Tips

  • After making the recipe several times the only thing I’ve noticed is that getting the baked cookie out of a cake pan as a whole can take some coaxing (it’s doable though) but you may find it nice to just go with a springform pan.
  • Or cut some 3-inch strips attached to the parchment round to assist in removing the cookie as a whole.

Collage of eight images showing how to make Christmas tree cookie dough.

How to Make Christmas Tree Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan or cake pan, line with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment paper. Dust pan lightly with flour then shake out excess.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment blend together butter and granulated sugar until combined. Scrape down bowl.
  4. Mix in egg, then mix in 1 tsp vanilla and the almond extract. Scrape down bowl.
  5. Add flour mixture and until combined.
  6. Scoop dough into prepared pan. Spray hands with non-stick cooking spray then spread dough into an even layer in pan.
  7. Bake in preheated oven until set, about 14 – 16 minutes.
  8. Let cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour).
  9. To make the frosting in a medium mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer blend together powdered sugar, butter, milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla until well combined. Tint with food coloring if using.
  10. Transfer frosting to a resealable bag, seal bag while pressing excess air out. Cut one small corner from the bottom edge, set aside.
  11. Run a small sharp knife along edge of the cookie in pan to ensure it’s loose. If you used a springform pan remove then ring, if you used a cake pan the invert cookie onto a cutting board.
  12. Cut cookie into 8 wedges, then trim rounded bottoms if desired.
  13. Decorate cookies with frosting, sprinkles and pretzel pieces for tree trunks if using.

Collage of eight images showing how to press dough into cake pan to bake. Then shows making frosting, slicing cookie into wedges and decorating.

Variations

  • Use lemon zest to flavor the cookie dough. Then finish with a lemon frosting.
  • Add more vanilla or seeds of a vanilla bean to the cookie dough instead of almond extract.
  • Try mixing in sprinkles at the end of mixing dough.
  • Or add festive, colorful M and M’s.
  • You can also tint the dough green if you’d like, or you can leave all food coloring out and just go with a pretty snowy white frosting.

Can the cookies be frozen?

I recommend freezing the cookie disk then cut and decorate after thawing.

Do cookies stack well?

Frosting does get a crust over on the exterior but not throughout so I don’t recommend stacking these cookies unless you switch to an icing that hardens throughout.

Can I double the recipe?

Yes. If you need more cookies just double the recipe then divide batter in half and press into two cake pans or springform pans.

Close up overhead image of a frosted Christmas tree sugar cookie.

More Tempting Christmas Cookies to Try

Triangular decorated Christmas tree cookies shown on a red surface.
5 from 1 vote

Christmas Tree Cookies

Festive Christmas Tree Cookies! Made with a soft and chewy sugar cookie style base, a simple buttery frosting and decorated as pretty pine trees. An easy cookie that's fun for people of all ages to help with.
Servings: 8
Prep30 minutes
Cooling1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1 1/3 cups (186g) unbleached all-purpose flour (scoop and level to measure)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
  • 10 Tbsp (141g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract*

Frosting

  • 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp (42g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 - 3 tsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Green food coloring**, Christmas sprinkles and 8 1 1/2-inch broken pretzel rod pieces (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan or cake pan, line with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment paper. Dust pan lightly with flour then shake out excess.
  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment blend together butter and granulated sugar until combined. Scrape down bowl.
  • Mix in egg, then mix in 1 tsp vanilla and the almond extract. Scrape down bowl.
  • Add flour mixture and mix until combined.
  • Scoop dough into prepared pan. Spray hands with non-stick cooking spray then spread dough into an even layer in pan.
  • Bake in preheated oven until set, about 14 - 16 minutes.
  • If sides are a little higher after baking you can flatten down with the bottom of a measuring cup. Let cookie cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour).
  • To make the frosting in a medium mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer blend together powdered sugar, butter, milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla until well combined. Tint with food coloring if using.
  • Transfer frosting to a resealable bag, seal bag while pressing excess air out. Cut one small corner from the bottom edge, set aside.
  • Run a small sharp knife along edge of the cookie in pan to ensure it's loose. If you used a springform pan remove then ring, if you used a cake pan the invert cookie onto a cutting board (it make take some forceful tapping on bottom or dropping pan upside down to help coax it out).
  • Cut cookie into 8 wedges, then trim rounded ends if desired.
  • Decorate cookies with frosting, sprinkles and pretzel pieces for tree trunks if using. Just gently press pretzel into cookie if using.

Notes

  • *If you don't want to use almond extract just increase vanilla in cookie dough to 1 1/2 tsp. It's not essential here, it just adds a nice light flavor.
  • **I like to use gel food coloring because it's more concentrated but liquid works too.
  • I have also cut the the whole portion into 10 pieces instead of 8 if you need just a couple more. 
  • If you don't have a stand mixer an electric hand mixer would work fine for this recipe too.