3D christmas tree cookies
Hands-on time: 1½ hours
Total time: 6 hours
Makes: 10 cookies
Take simple tree ornaments to the next level with these pretty 3D cookies. Place them in clear jars on your holiday table, then pass them out as impressive party favours at the end of the night. For a perfectly even green tint, thoroughly knead the food colouring into the dough. Cookies:
¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder pinch salt
green paste food colouring
¼ cup meringue powder
4⅔ cups icing sugar
green paste food colouring
Garnish (optional): assorted candies (such as white or silver dragées and/or yellow stars) Cookies: In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; stir into butter mixture in 2 additions just until combined. If necessary, knead gently to form smooth dough.
Shape 1 cup of the dough into disc; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, knead food colouring into remaining dough. Divide in half; shape into discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.) Let dough stand at room temperature until soft enough to roll out, about 15 minutes. Between waxed paper or on lightly floured work surface, roll out green dough to scant ¼-inch thickness. Using 3½-inch Christmas tree cookie cutter, cut out 20 shapes, rerolling scraps as necessary; cut 10 of the trees in half lengthwise. Arrange, 1 inch apart, on parchment paper–lined rimless baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, roll out untinted dough to scant ¼-inch thickness. Using 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 10 rounds. Arrange, 1 inch apart, on parchment paper–lined rimless baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
Bake, 1 sheet at a time, in 375°F oven until trees are firm and no longer shiny and bottoms and edges of rounds are light golden, about 7 minutes for tree halves and 9 minutes for whole trees and rounds. While still warm, trim long edge of each tree half until smooth. Let cool on pans for 2 minutes; transfer directly to racks to cool completely. (Make-ahead: Layer between waxed paper in airtight container; store for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.) Royal Icing: Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat meringue powder with ½ cup water until foamy, about 2 minutes; beat in icing sugar until stiff and glossy, about 9 minutes. Remove ⅔ cup of the icing to small bowl; cover with damp towel and set aside. Using food colouring, tint remaining icing green. Assembly: Spoon green icing into piping bag fitted with small plain tip; pipe along straight edge of 1 tree half. Press iced edge onto centre of 1 whole tree to adhere. Lift whole tree upright; using another tree half, repeat on opposite side to create 3D tree. Repeat with remaining cookies, using soup cans to support, if necessary. Let stand until dry, about 30 minutes. Reserve remaining green icing.
Spoon 1 tbsp of the reserved white icing over 1 round cookie, spreading to edge. Place one 3D tree upright in centre of cookie, pressing gently to adhere and adjusting tree to stand straight; hold in place for about 20 seconds. Repeat with remaining white icing, round cookies and 3D trees. Let stand until dry, about 1 hour. Using piping bag fitted with small star tip, pipe remaining green icing onto trees. Garnish (if using): Decorate with dragées and stars. Let stand until completely dry, about 1 hour. (Make-ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 5 days.) per cookie: about 509 cal, 6 g pro, 15 g total fat (9 g sat. fat), 90 g carb (1 g dietary fibre, 66 g sugar), 55 mg chol, 179 mg sodium, 42 mg potassium. % RDI : 1% calcium, 11% iron, 13% vit A, 22% folate. card—a great takeaway gift for holiday parties. Make easy stands for an upright design, or lay the place cards flat on the table and save the extra dough for later.
1 batch Classic Sugar Cookie Dough (see recipe, page 28) meringue powder icing sugar assorted paste food colouring decorating sugar, dragées and/or small candies (optional)
Between waxed paper or on lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to ¼-inch thickness. Using 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out shapes, rerolling scraps as necessary. If making stands, cut one 2- x 1-inch rectangle for every 2 place cards; cut each rectangle diagonally into 2 triangles. Arrange, 1 inch apart, on parchment paper–lined rimless baking sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, in 375°F oven until bottoms and edges are light golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool on pans for 1 minute. Using ruler, trim edges of triangle cookies (if using). Transfer cookies directly to racks to cool completely.
In bowl, beat meringue powder with ⅓ cup water until foamy, about 2 minutes; beat in icing sugar until stiff and glossy, about 6 minutes.
Remove 1 cup of the icing to separate bowl; cover with damp towel to prevent drying out. Using food colouring, tint remaining icing to desired shade. Spoon into piping bag fitted with small plain tip; pipe outline around cookies. Let stand until dry, about 20 minutes.
Gradually add water, ½ tsp at a time, until mixture is the consistency of molasses. Spoon onto centres of cookies; using toothpick or skewer, spread to piped edges, popping any air bubbles. Let stand for 2 minutes; sprinkle with decorating sugar, dragées and/or small candies (if using). Let stand until dry, about 30 minutes. Using food colouring, tint reserved icing, if desired; pipe names onto cookies.
If using stands, pipe remaining reserved icing along long edge of each triangle stand; secure onto back of each decorated cookie. Let stand until dry, about 30 minutes. (Make-ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 5 days.) per cookie: about 175 cal, 1 g pro, 3 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 37 g carb (trace dietary fibre, 31 g sugar), 11 mg chol, 30 mg sodium, 9 mg potassium. % RDI : 2% iron, 3% vit A, 6% folate. 3 tbsp 3⅔ cups