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Christmas Tree Cookies

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This Santa Christmas tree cookie recipe is the easiest way to bake cookies that are very popular with young children. This one uses a gingerbread cookie recipe that’s quick, easy, and fun to make.

Gingerbread cookies in Christmas Tree shapes.
Frosted Cookies – Gingerbread Christmas Trees.

Homemade holiday cookies always taste better than those bought in the supermarket. This year, give your gingerbread recipe a little twist in the shape of Christmas trees instead of gingerbread men.

Why make these cookies

  • This recipe is simple and easy. It takes less than 10 minutes to prep this gingerbread cookie dough.
  • The cookies are soft, sweet, and delicious, with the warm spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
  • In fact, they are the best Santas Christmas cookies during the holiday season, don’t you think?
  • I am using an electric mixer (hand mixer) but a large bowl with a whisk and spatula works just find too. 
  • And most of the ingredients are pantry staples plus molasses, which you can use in so many other cookies such as molasses cookies, gingerbread bars, gingerbread sugar cookies.
  • Today, I am using a gingerbread recipe but you can also try other cookie recipes such as shortbread cookie dough, sugar cookie doughchocolate sugar cookies.  I like to use my vanilla sugar cookies with almond extract and rose extract.
Gingerbread tree cookies for Christmas.
Frosted Cookies – Gingerbread Christmas Trees.

Ingredients and substitutions

  • Butter – I always use unsalted butter so I can control the amount of salt in the recipe. Having said that, if salted butter is all you have, use it and omit salt in the recipe. And make sure the butter is at soft room temperature, not melted.
  • Brown sugar – The molasses in the brown sugar contributes to the soft texture. And, you can also add light brown sugar as well but the cookies will also get lighter in color.
  • Molasses – Is a rich, dark, thick brown slightly sweet syrup left after the sugar has been removed from the juice. And, you can find it in the baking aisle or baking supply store. Look for unsulphured variety.
  • Spices – I’ve used the classic ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. However, you can also use a gingerbread spice mix or pumpkin spice mix.
  • Decorations – I am using a variety of sprinkles and dragees. You can also use Christmas Green and red sprinkles. Colorful dragees or M&Ms represent Christmas lights beautifully too. 
  • Frosting – I am making a simple quick and easy vanilla frosting with just confectioners sugar and milk. But you can also make royal icing in a medium bowl and whisk with meringue powder, powdered sugar, almond extract, and vanilla extract
Ingredients for making gingerbread Christmas Tree Cookies.
Ingredients Gingerbread Christmas Trees.

How to make Santas Christmas tree cookies

  • Dry ingredients – In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices – cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg.
  • Dough – In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the molasses and egg. Followed by flour mixture, orange, and vanilla extract. Combine well.
    Pro tip – Make sure to cream the butter and sugar until the sugar is almost dissolved in the butter and it all becomes very lighter in color.
Progress pictures making the gingerbread cookie dough.
Cookie dough Gingerbread Christmas Trees.
  • Chill dough – Divide the dough into two, wrap in plastic, and let chill until firm enough to roll – about 2 hours or overnight.
    Pro tip – Do not skip on the chilling time. Otherwise, it will be too soft to roll and the cookies will spread.
Progress pictures chilling the gingerbread cookies.
Dough Gingerbread Christmas Trees.
  • Roll – Roll the dough on a lightly flowered work surface to about 1/8 inch thick. Roll into a long rectangle about 3 inches in height. Then, using a sharp knife cut at an angle to create the long triangle shapes similar to a Christmas tree (as shown in the video). Or you can use a Christmas tree cookie cutter too!
    Pro tip – I use a rolling pin with spacers so the dough is the same thickness all over. If necessary, chill the excess dough before you gather the scraps together and re-roll the cookie dough again.
Progress pictures cutting the Christmas Tree shapes.
Cut Gingerbread Christmas Trees.
  • Chill cookies – Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Leaving a little gap between them for air circulation. Place the cookie sheet in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
    Pro tip – Chilling the cookies is a sure way to ensure the cookies do not spread. You can leave the rolled cookies well wrapped in the fridge for up to 48 hours before baking.
Progress pictures frosting the Christmas tree cookies.
Decorate Gingerbread Christmas Trees.
  • Preheat the oven at 177°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4
  • Bake the Christmas tree cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges.
    Pro tip – If you do not want to frost the baked cookies you can add sprinkles, colorful dragees, or M&M to the cookies before baking too.
  • Cool – Once baked, cool them on the cookie sheet for 10 mins. Then, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Icing for cookies – Combine the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk until you have a smooth thick piping consistency.
    Pro tip – This is a simple eggless frosting. But you can also use royal icing or other flavored frostings to ice these cookies.
  • Frost the cookies – Color half the icing with garden green gel food colors. Add the white and green icing to two separate piping bags with a small star piping tip. Pipe diagonal lines on the triangle cookies as shown in the video and top with colorful sprinkles.
    Pro tip – Alternatively, you can also put the icing in a ziplock bag and cut a small snip at the end.
  • Storage – Let the icing dry properly before you stack the cookies and store them in an airtight container or cookie jar.
Gingerbread tree cookies for Christmas.
Gingerbread Christmas Trees.

Tips for success

  • Always have all the ingredients at room temperature so the butter and sugar can cream until light and fluffy. 
  • Rest the dough before rolling the cookies. Resting helps the butter firm up again which makes it easier to work and prevents spreading
  • And if the rolled cookie dough is soft, put it back in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Chilled cookie dough will give well-defined shapes so you won’t have to struggle with them being so soft. 
  • Preheat the oven for a good 15 minutes making sure the oven is at the right temperature. A cold oven will spread the cookies.
  • Place cut cookies in the fridge while the oven is preheating to prevent them from spreading.
  • When baked, leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then, transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. This will prevent them from sweating on the bottom. 
Christmas Tree cookies on a table.
Frosted Cookies – Gingerbread Christmas Trees.

More Christmas recipes

Other creative ways to use gingerbread dough.

  • Gingerbread Cookie Garland: String the cookies onto a festive garland and hang it across your mantle or holiday tree. Make sure to bake them with a hole at the top so they can be strung up.
  • Edible Cookie Wreath: Create a wreath using gingerbread cookies as the focal point. Adorn the wreath with sugared cranberries and sprigs of rosemary for a holiday touch.
  • Cookie Tree: Stack star-shaped gingerbread cookies from largest to smallest to create a three-dimensional cookie tree.
  • Gingerbread House: Craft a gingerbread house using gingerbread cookies as the shingles, pathway, or fencing around a traditional gingerbread house.
  • Personalized Place Settings: Decorate each cookie uniquely to resemble each guest, and place one at each place setting at the dinner table as a personalized edible name card.
  • Cookie Bouquet: Make a cookie bouquet by inserting sticks into the bottom of each cookie before baking and arranging them in a vase or a holiday-themed mug.

Serving and Pairings with gingerbread

  • Hot Cocoa and Cookie Station: Set up a station with hot cocoa and various toppings, and serve the cookies as a delightful dunker.
  • Cookie and Ice Cream Pairing: Serve the cookies alongside scoops of vanilla ice cream, sprinkled with festive edible glitter or sprinkles.
  • Gingerbread Cookie Fondue: Serve a variety of dipping sauces, such as chocolate sauce, caramel, and white chocolate, alongside the cookies.

Interactive Serving Ideas

  • DIY Cookie Decorating Station: Set up a cookie-decorating station with a variety of icings, sprinkles, and other toppings, and let your guests personalize their gingerbread cookies.
  • Gingerbread Cookie Story: Arrange the cookies in a way that they tell a holiday story or create a holiday scene on your serving platter.
  • Blind Cookie Tasting: Arrange a blind tasting session with different gingerbread cookie recipes, and let your guests vote on their favorite.

Gingerbread gift Ideas

  • Cookie Advent Calendar: Create an advent calendar where each day reveals a new gingerbread cookie to enjoy.
  • Gingerbread Cookie Gift Boxes: Pack the cookies in beautiful holiday-themed boxes, adorned with festive ribbons for a perfect holiday gift.
  • Cookie Ornaments: Decorate the cookies with a hole at the top, add a ribbon, and gift them as edible ornaments that your recipients can hang on their holiday trees.

Frequently asked questions

How long with these Christmas tree cookies keep?

These will stay fresh for a week. Place the cookies in an airtight container to prevent them from becoming soft.

Can you freeze these Christmas Tree cookies?

Yes, you can freeze the cookie dough for 3 months wrapped well in a ziplock bag. Then, thaw in the fridge overnight when ready to use.
And, you can also freeze the rolled cookies on a cookie sheet between parchment papers. In addition, wrap the tray in plastic to prevent drying out. They will stay for up to a month.
Alternatively, the baked cookies can be kept in the freezer between parchment papers for up to 3 months and thaw in the fridge overnight when ready to use.

How do you flavor these gingerbread cookies for Christmas trees?

Orange – Orange is a good flavor that blends well with ginger and cinnamon.
Ginger, Cinnamon & Cloves – A good blend of spices, but you can go less or more. If you don’t like too much cinnamon you can reduce it to one teaspoon cinnamon.
Spice mixes – try gingerbread spicepumpkin spicechai spice for a different flavor.

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Pinterest image for frosted gingerbread cookies.
Frosted Cookies – Gingerbread Christmas Trees.

Gingerbread cookies in Christmas Tree shapes.

Gingerbread Christmas Tree Cookies

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Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 46 minutes
Calories: 154kcal
Adjust Servings Here: 24 cookies

Description

This Santa Christmas tree cookie recipe is the easiest way to bake cookies that are very popular with young children. This one uses a gingerbread cookie recipe that's quick, easy, and fun to make

Video

Ingredients 

16 Cookies

  • cups (435 g) All-purpose flour 
  • 10 tbsp (140 g) Butter (unsalted, room temperature)
  • ¾ cup (165 g) Dark brown sugar (packed)
  • cup (160 ml) Molasses (light or dark)
  • 1 large Egg
  • ½ tsp Baking soda
  • ½ tsp Baking powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 tbsp Cinnamon Powder
  • ½ tsp Ground Cloves
  • ¼ tsp Nutmeg (freshly grated)
  • ¼ tsp Orange extract ((or 1 tsp orange zest) )
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract

Icing

  • 4 cups (480 g) Powdered sugar
  • 6 tbsp (90 ml) Milk
  • ¼ tsp Vanilla extract
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Instructions

  • Dry ingredients – In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices – cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg.
  • Dough – In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the molasses and egg. Followed by flour mixture, orange, and vanilla extract. Combine well.
    Pro tip – Make sure to cream the butter and sugar until the sugar is almost dissolved in the butter and it all becomes very lighter in color.
  • Chill dough – Divide the dough into two, wrap in plastic, and let chill until firm enough to roll – about 2 hours or overnight.
    Pro tip – Do not skip on the chilling time. Otherwise, it will be too soft to roll and the cookies will spread.
  • Roll – Roll the dough on a lightly flowered work surface to about 1/8 inch thick. Roll into a long rectangle about 3 inches in height. Then, using a sharp knife cut at an angle to create the long triangle shapes similar to a Christmas tree (as shown in the video). Or, you can use a Christmas tree cookie cutter too!
    Pro tip – I use a rolling pin with spacers so the dough is the same thickness all over. If necessary, chill the excess dough before you gather the scraps together and re-roll the cookie dough again.
  • Chill cookies – Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Leaving a little gap between them for air circulation. Place the cookie sheet in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
    Pro tip – Chilling the cookies is a sure way to ensure the cookies do not spread. You can leave the rolled cookies well wrapped in the fridge for up to 48 hours before baking.
  • Preheat the oven at 177°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4
  • Bake the Christmas tree cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges.
    Pro tip – If you do not want to frost the baked cookies you can add sprinkles, colorful dragees, or M&M to the cookies before baking too.
  • Cool – Once baked, cool them on the cookie sheet for 10 mins. Then, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Icing for cookies – Combine the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk until you have a smooth thick piping consistency.
    Pro tip – This is a simple eggless frosting. But you can also use royal icing or other flavored frostings to ice these cookies.
  • Frost the cookies – Color half the icing with garden green gel food colors. Add the white and green icing to two separate piping bags with a small star piping tip. Pipe diagonal lines on the triangle cookies as shown in the video and top with colorful sprinkles.
    Pro tip – Alternatively, you can also put the icing in a ziplock bag and cut a small snip at the end.
  • Storage – Let the icing dry properly before you stack the cookies and store them in an airtight container or cookie jar.

Recipe Notes & Tips

  • Always have all the ingredients at room temperature so the butter and sugar can cream until light and fluffy. 
  • Rest the dough before rolling the cookies. Resting helps the butter firm up again which makes it easier to work and prevents spreading
  • If the rolled cookie dough is soft, put it back in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Chilled cookie dough will give well-defined shapes so you won’t have to struggle with them being so soft. 
  • Preheat the oven for a good 15 minutes making sure the oven is at the right temperature. A cold oven will spread the cookies.
  • Place cut cookies in the fridge while the oven is preheating to prevent them from spreading.
  • When baked leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. This will prevent them from sweating on the bottom. 

Bake Ahead and Freezing Instructions

  • Dough – You can freeze the dough for 3 months wrapped well in a ziplock bag. Then, thaw in the fridge overnight when ready to use.
  • Rolled cookies – And, you can also freeze the rolled cookies on a cookie sheet between parchment papers. In addition, wrap the tray in plastic to prevent drying out. They will stay for up to a month.
  • Baked cookies – Alternatively, freeze the baked cookies between parchment papers for up to 3 months and thaw in the fridge overnight when ready to use.
    Adapted from –

    Conversions Used

    1 lb = 453 grams, 1 cup = 240 ml, 1 stick = 113g, 1 tbsp= 15 ml, 1 tsp= 5 ml,

    Nutrition Information

    Calories: 154kcalCarbohydrates: 24.5gProtein: 1.9gFat: 5.5gSaturated Fat: 3.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 43mgPotassium: 0mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 13.6gVitamin A: 0IUVitamin C: 0mgCalcium: 0mgIron: 0mg

    The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you

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    27 Comments

    1. Moop Brown says:

      5 stars
      These cookies look super festive and are definitely a recipe that the kids will enjoy. Thanks for sharing!

    2. 5 stars
      Lovely gingerbread cookie recipe. I appreciate all the detailed instructions and tips for the best results. Tried them at home and turned out really good.

    3. 5 stars
      Love how festive these treats are! The kids love making them and so that’s a win in my book!

    4. 5 stars
      This is an amazing looking recipe that I bet my husband would love!! Thanks for the specific instructions and information! Happy Holidays!

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