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5 from 2 votes

Christmas Cookie Tree Recipe

How to Make a Christmas Cookie Tree using star shaped sugar cookies of varying sizes and green tinted buttercream frosting for a stunning holiday centerpiece.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword christmas cookie tree, christmas cut out cookies, cookie tree from stars
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chill time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 27 minutes
Servings 44 servings
Calories 260kcal
Author Lise Ode


For the cookies

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened 4 sticks
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour

For the buttercream frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar 16 ounces
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • green food coloring gel
  • white pearl sprinkles
  • yellow star sprinkles


For the cookies

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add baking powder and flour, one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. The dough will be very stiff; blend last flour in by hand (if dough becomes too stiff and does not hold together in a ball, add water, a teaspoon at a time). Divide dough into 4 balls, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
  • Working with one cookie dough ball at a time, place the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and knead it for a few minutes to get it into a smooth ball. Then place another piece of parchment paper on top and roll out to a 1/4" thickness. Cut the stars and transfer to a parchment lined sheet pan or you can use a silicone mat. You will need 2 cookies for each size star. For the large stars, cut them directly on the parchment and transfer the parchment to a sheet pan. You don't want to handle the large stars too much or they will break. (I use sheet pans because they have a raised edge and the cookies won't slide off.) Bake the large cookies for 11-12 minutes, bake the smaller cookies for 9-10 minutes. You want the cookies to be a light golden brown on the edges. Don't underbake them or they will be too soft to stack in your cookie tree. Let cool completely

For the buttercream

  • Measure out the powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Sift it only if it has a lot of lumps. I buy the grocery store brand powdered sugar that comes in a 32 ounce plastic bag so I don't have to sift it. I also weigh out the 16 ounces needed for this recipe using a food scale. Set aside.
  • Beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  • Add powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Note: If the frosting is too thick, you can add a little more cream. Just add one tablespoon at a time, then mix thoroughly until you get the consistency you like.
  • Reserve 1 cup of buttercream in a separate bowl, then color the remaining buttercream green. Scoop it into a large pastry bag fitted with a #21 pastry tip. Put the white buttercream into a small pastry bag, also fitted with a #21 pastry tip. Use twist ties to close the bags on the end (making sure to let the air out first), so the frosting doesn't fall out. Set aside

Making the cookie tree

  • Place the largest cookie onto a serving platter or cakestand (pipe a dollop of frosting under the cookie, so it will stick to the plate). Then place the next large cookie of the same size on top, moving it so the points of the stars are alternating (not lined up). Pipe green buttercream stars on the 5 corners of the cookie star. Pipe a dollop of frosting in the middle, so the next cookie will stick. Repeat these steps with 2 of each size cookie until you get to the top. Pipe white stars onto the smalled star cookie and place on top of your cookie tree. Garnish with white pearl sprinkles and yellow star sprinkles. Serve within 24 hours for best taste and freshness.


Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 115mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 419IU | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg