Easy Iced Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies

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These delicious buttery shortbread Christmas tree cookies are piped with buttercream icing to look like little Christmas trees!

picture of iced christmas tree shaped cookie
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picture of iced christmas tree shaped cookie on a cooling rack

Iced Christmas Tree Cookies

I love fun cookies at Christmas – they are totally adorable, great to give as gifts, delicious to snack on, and are a blast to make – we love to spend days baking for friends and family in winter ahead of Christmas and sharing our favorite recipes with friends.

We hope you love these easy to decorate Christmas tree cookies as much as we do – let the kids get involved, too – they can decorate their own trees, use gummy ornaments, use different sprinkles to decorate, and more!

You can even turn it into a competition – see whose Christmas tree can win in a decoration challenge and have all your guests compete to win a white elephant style prize for a great party idea that is sure to get lots of laughs.

picture of iced christmas tree shaped cookie with sprinkles on a cooling rack

How To Make Iced Shortbread Christmas Tree Cookies

To make these adorable cookies you will need the following ingredients:

Cookies:

  • Flour – all-purpose flour is the perfect thing to bring this dough together.
  • Salt – salt will help bring the other flavors out of the other ingredients. Use a high-quality fine grain salt.
  • Baking powder – this will help your cookies have a light texture, don’t substitute baking soda, they are not the same.
  • Salted butter – softened butter gives these buttery cookies a soft chewy texture.
  • Granulated sugar – we use sugar to sweeten these. It also keeps the batter consistency soft but lets the cookies come together and hold their shape.
  • Eggs – eggs will add protein that will also assist in getting a nice short cookie while helping them hold their shape.
  • Vanilla Extract – this floral extract will be the main flavoring of these cookies.

Frosting:  

  • Salted Butter – use softened butter to whip up your frosting, it will stay soft but hold its shape when piped.
  • Powdered sugar – powdered sugar has a very fine consistency and grain which will make a smooth icing.
  • Vanilla extract – will sweeten the icing and make it compliment the cookies.
  • Milk – just a touch of milk will help you adjust your icing’s consistency.
  • Green food coloring – if you want your trees to be green, I suggest you use food coloring. You can make green food coloring from cooking and blending spinach, but I prefer the green food coloring drops.
picture of cookie ingredients on a table

Once you have assembled the ingredients use the following method:

Make Cookie Dough – Start off by mixing dough together to be chilled.

  1. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer if you like.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Then mix in the vanilla.
  4. Add the dry ingredients (flour mixture) to the wet ingredients (butter mixture). Beat this until thoroughly blended.
  5. Shape the cookie dough into a ball and place it in the fridge to chill for an hour. 

Cut, Bake Cookies – Next, we will roll out cookies, bake, and cool completely.

  1. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it is soft enough to roll.
  2. Spray your baking sheets.
  3. Roll the dough out onto a well-floured surface. It should be about ¼ inch thick.
  4. Use a lightly floured tree-shaped cookie cutter to cut out as many cookies as possible.
  5. Place the cookies 1 ½ inches apart on the cookie sheets. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until small cracks appear all over the tops of the cookies. Watch them carefully and make sure to pull them out before the edges brown.
  6. Place the cookie sheets on cooling racks and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before removing the cookies. Then allow the cookies to cool completely on cooling racks before decorating.

Make Icing – Then we will make a simple, colorful icing.

  • Cream the butter, beat in the powdered sugar a little at a time.
  • Then mix in the vanilla.
  • Only add enough milk to achieve the desired consistency and enough coloring to reach the desired color.

Pipe Icing On Cookies – Finally, we will pipe icing on cookies and decorate with sprinkles!

  • Pipe the frosting onto the trees using star shaped piping tip #98 starting at the base of the tree, then work your way up.
  • Make sure to overlap the layers so you get the tree branches look. 
  • Add sprinkles right after frosting before icing sets so they stick and don’t run right off.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Iced Cookies

Use the right icing tip. you need to use the right icing tip to get the pine tree affect for these cookies.

Don’t ice hot cookies. It is critical you let the cookies cool before you start to ice them. If you don’t wait the icing will melt.

picture of iced christmas tree sugar cookies on a cooling rack next to a cup of coffee

FAQs

How long can iced shortbread cookies be stored?

Store these cookies at room temperature in an airtight container. Place wax paper between the layers so that they don’t stick together. If you are going to keep them for more than a week, place them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or they may be frozen for up to 6 months.

How can I decorate shortbread Christmas trees without icing?

You could sprinkle on colored sugar or sprinkles before baking. Or if you have not decorated them before baking, you could brush the baked cookies very lightly with a mixture of equal parts corn syrup and water, and then sprinkle on your decorations.

Are shortbread cookies sweet?

I find that the cookies are not especially sweet – did I do something wrong? You’re right, this cookie recipe is not overly sweet. That is because the sweetness of the frosting creates a nice balance and are meant to be more buttery and rich.

picture of iced christmas tree sugar cookies on a cooling rack

Other Christmas Cookies You’ll Love

Check out some of our favorite easy and delicious Christmas cookies we posted recently here:

More Christmas Cookies:

These cookies aren’t super sweet – they are delicious with a big cup of Israeli Cardamom Coffee, Horchata Spiked Latte, or Hot Buttered Rum Cider – as well as a glass of Traditional French Vin Chaud, Mulled Beer, or Hot Buttered Rum Cider for a grown-up Christmas party.

Iced Peppermint Chocolate Cookies, Easy Millionaire Shortbread Bites Recipe, German Chocolate Cookies Recipe, Peppermint Buttercreams Candy, The Best Easy Keto Buckeyes Recipe, The Best Easy Candied Almonds Recipe and more of our Christmas treat ideas!

For our complete Christmas cookies (and other sweet treats perfect for Christmas gift giving and parties), click here.

picture of iced christmas tree sugar cookies on a cooling rack

Iced Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies Recipe

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picture of iced christmas tree cookie on a table next to a cup of coffee
Print

Easy Iced Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies

Easy Iced Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies – delicious buttery Christmas tree shaped cookies with easy to decorate buttercream icing!
Cuisine American
Keyword baking, christmas cookies, christmas tree cookie, cookies, cute christmas cookies, cute cookies, dessert, holiday cookies
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 24
Calories 230kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl.  
  • In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer if you like.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well.  Then mix in the vanilla.
  • Add the dry ingredients (flour mixture) to the wet ingredients (butter mixture).  Beat this until thoroughly blended.
  • Shape the cookie dough into a ball and place it in the fridge to chill for an hour.  
  • When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it is soft enough to roll.  
  • Spray your baking sheets.
  • Roll the dough out onto a well-floured surface.  It should be about ¼ inch thick.  
  • Use a lightly floured tree-shaped cookie cutter to cut out as many cookies as possible.  
  • Place the cookies 1 ½ inches apart on the cookie sheets.  Bake for 7-10 minutes or until small cracks appear all over the tops of the cookies.  Watch them carefully and make sure to pull them out before the edges brown.  
  • Place the cookie sheets on cooling racks and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before removing the cookies.  Then allow the cookies to cool completely on cooling racks before decorating.  
  • To make the frosting:  cream the butter, beat in the powdered sugar a little at a time.  Then mix in the vanilla.  Only add enough milk to achieve the desired consistency and enough coloring to reach the desired color.
  • Pipe the frosting onto the trees using star shaped piping tip #98 starting at the base of the tree, then work your way up. Make sure to overlap the layers so you get the tree branches look. 

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 151mg | Sugar: 24g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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