Introduction: Nifty 3D Christmas Tree Cookies, Great to Eat or Give!

Picture of Nifty 3D Christmas Tree Cookies, Great to Eat or Give!

A fabulous way to turn sugar cookies into gorgeous Christmas Tree gifts. They look fabulous, taste great, and are fun and easy to make. They are pretty time intensive, but the result is fabulous. I wrote this up on Dabbled as well.

These were inspired by Wedding Cake Cookies for wedding favors, which are blogged here. I credit my fabulously creative aunts for the idea!

Step 1: Materials & Hardware

Picture of Materials & Hardware

Unusual Hardware:
Cookie cutters in star shapes (at least 4 sizes from 1 in or so up)
Small spatula.

Sugar cookie dough, with no leavening (ie baking soda or powder), something like this recipe.
Icing (buttercream or similar) that will dry hard.
Green food coloring
Storebought or homemade royal icing flowers. {Cheap, but more labor intensive: make your own ahead of time (google for instructions). More expensive but easier: purchase online or from a local cake supply company} - or - use your imagination to decorate!
Optional: Peanut Butter Cups, miniature.
Optional: acetate favor boxes for packaging.

Step 2: Cookies

Picture of Cookies

Prepare cookie dough according to recipe. Roll thin (1/4 in or less).
Amount will depend on the number of Cookies you wish to make.

You'll need four star shaped cookie cutters - from 1 in or so, up.

Determine the number of cookies, and you'll need enough to have 8 stars per cookie, 2 of each size. Make a few extra in case of breakage or cookie-stealing family :)

Cut out cookies, and bake according to recipe.

Step 3: Ice and Stack

Picture of Ice and Stack

Prepare your icing. (These were made with buttercream, but any type that dries hard should be fine.) Use green food coloring to tint your icing green.

Ice the largest cookie first, then ice the second of the same size. Immediately press the iced cookie on top of the first one, centering the points of the stars between the ones of the previous layer, so they do not overlap. Continue building the tree in this manner, with successively smaller stars. Icing the star shapes is hard to do neatly, but just make sure the points look nice, as that is what will show.

See the attached pics, some are neater than others (the messy ones are mine!) :)

Step 4: Decorate

Picture of Decorate

There are plenty of options for decorating ... be creative! But we used packaged royal icing flowers, which you can purchase from a cake supply shop or online. Just google royal icing flowers. Just press one on top while the top star's icing is still wet. We had some sugar stars we considered standing up on the top of the tree as well, which could be really neat.

If you want to make your own flowers, just pipe them onto wax paper prior, let dry hard, then peel and place in the same manner.

Step 5: The "Trunk"

Picture of The "Trunk"

The original plan was to just have this be the cookie, but due to the size of the box we wanted to package them in, we thought they should be taller. So a 'trunk' was added! Simply an unwrapped Miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. And hey, now your cookie includes chocolate -- can't be a bad thing!

Anyways, the Trunk is optional, so use it if you like it!

In the second picture, you'll see we just 'glued' this to the bottom with more icing.

Step 6: Packaging for Giving!

Picture of Packaging for Giving!

If you're going to give these as a gift, you'll need something to put it in. For this, we used clear acetate favor boxes ordered online (check places that sell wedding favor boxes in bulk), tied with a gold ribbon. But there are lots of options, again, be creative!

Important: Let the tree dry thoroughly before transferring to packaging. Use icing to 'glue' the tree to the bottom of the box.

The first example picture shows a tree with a trunk, and also a tree sans trunk with an extra cookie.
The second is the finished version.

Give as gifts or they would make a great display for a party!

Enjoy :)


krysteanuh (author)2012-12-19

Ever since I saw this Instructable two years ago, I've literally been scouting for nestled star cookie cutters at my local craft shop. I finally came upon them last year and made them this year!
I made ~10 of these to give out for Christmas this year! Great instructions, also super easy to customize and decorate to your liking!
I tinted the sugar cookie dough green, and baked the cookies. Watch your sugar cookies -- you don't want them to turn the traditional "golden" because then you'll lose color. I popped them in for 5-6 minutes each, cycling a bunch of trays because I had so much dough. The cookies ended up being pretty soft because they weren't in the oven for long.
To stick them together, I knew I had to use some sort of sweet. However, I tried making royal icing and it failed miserably. So I relied on good ol' marshmallow fondant (microwave some marshmallows, add confectioner's sugar until no longer sticky), rolled it out, and cut out shapes using the cookie cutters (since sugar cookies expand a little bit, the fondant was perfect). I also used a little bit of fondant to stick the Reese's cups to the cookies.
Finally, I used a yellow M&M for a star because it was what I had on hand. I'm sure if I scouted around I could find star-shaped candies which probably would've looked cuter, but overall they turned out great!

racoontnn (author)2012-12-13

Amazingly realistic look of these trees. You can make an entire grove of trees, and then eat it. That's what children need and the cookies.

susanchen2011 (author)2012-08-12

nice and delicious.

debflowers (author)2011-12-16

This is a great project with kids. And you can use One of each size brownie also!
I use Royal icing for snow and add to ti[s of "tree" dripping off, then add mini m&ms for ornaments! Kids love it. Great Christmas day decoration and the kids (and adults) can eat it for dessert! Just have fun with it!

CandiiKorn (author)2011-11-18

These look so cute. I cnt w8 2 make them; they look rlly gud ;) But at the same time they kinda look like u dnt wanna eat them cuz theyre cute decors

Damiser (author)2010-12-23

i simply love this idea made my "special dough" tonight and gonna have fun with my kiddies tomorrow! Thanks so much!

knektek (author)2009-12-22

heres how my tree came out to be... the shapes are not perfect.... and i like my icing :)

maximus197619 (author)knektek2010-11-19

gawd that looks like a blob with mustard on it. b8ut i bet the thing tasted good

knektek (author)maximus1976192010-11-20

Thanks, it was like one of those things that looks gross but tastes great! It was a virtue because my family can sometimes be cookie hunters, and the decorations got them off my creation! Tasty for me disgusting for them :)

Ward_Nox (author)2010-01-14

i discovered something when i did this the number of each size cookie is determined by how THICK your cookies come out mine came out thin so i ended up doing 4 sets of 4 to get the height i wanted

gjm (author)2009-12-13

I know this has nothing to do with the cookies but your kitchen looks awesome.
The cookies are really cool too.

DotatDabbled (author)gjm2009-12-20

thx, though it's not my kitchen unfortunately, but an aunts'...!

jjinyancey (author)2009-12-18

Hey, wouldn't they be pretty (at each place setting on your Christmas table) in a simple, long-stemmed wine glass?  You could even transport the glasses in a cardboard beer six-pack carrier.

DotatDabbled (author)jjinyancey2009-12-20

Very cool idea...    The only issue I could see is that it might be hard to move the assembled tree into the glass, or assemble it in the glass...

mcorbin (author)2009-12-17

 They're great! I have seen centerpiece sized trees like this, but
I really like these 'personal sized ' trees. 

I have a set of graduated snowflake cookie cutters. I'm going to try
it with those. 

DotatDabbled (author)mcorbin2009-12-20

I'd love to see pics of the ones you do with the snowflakes... I suspect they will do nicely!

knektek (author)2009-12-20

could you add red dots of icing randomly on some of the verticies for the balls that you hang up

DotatDabbled (author)knektek2009-12-20

an excellent idea! 

thepbyguy (author)2009-12-20

Verry good idea !!!

red-king (author)2009-12-13

 looks good!

Bartboy (author)2009-12-13

I guess I was wrong, it doesn't have WIN written all over it,
it has WINNER! written on it.

What did I say?
 Glad you entered?
Well, congratulations!

Ward_Nox (author)2009-12-12

i have 2 sets of cookie cutters i bought i got JUST to do this one set is stars the Other is snowflakes

melynia (author)2009-12-09

awesome!!! if you put to much icig on the stars you wont be able to finish though!!! i love <3 the idea though!!! ( i looked at all your other instuctables they are also so neat and awesome!!!)

Kiwipancakes (author)2009-08-29

May I ask why you call for a recipie that has no Baking soda or powder?

because you don't want the cookies to rise, or else they wont stack straight.

boogsy72 (author)2009-07-05


Mr_bakiecakieness (author)2009-02-06

thats what I call a cookie

goeon (author)2008-12-17

awsome 5*

bobhill125 (author)2008-12-08

i used rollos in stead of resses cus some of my friends allegic to peanets

how_may_i_help_you (author)2008-12-07

I did this and it worked great. What I did was cut 2 more really small star cookies, and after they cooked, I cut a line down from a point to the middle of the cookie, then did from the middle to the end with the other. I then slid them together to make a 3D star for the top. I don't think I explained it properly, but hopefully you go the drift

neat idea! I'd love to see a picture..

depotdevoid (author)2008-12-07

Hey, that's neat! My mom used to make those and give them as gifts every Christmas.

Browncoat (author)2008-12-07

Could poke a hole in each cookie with a thin dowel rod before cooking. Then just put 'em on the dowel rod after & it'd be easier to eat... just slide one at a time off as you want to eat. Very neat idea!!

or a skewer/kabab stick

taiphoon (author)2008-12-04

OMG! I wanna try green cookies with white frosting for snow!

matt_sawyers (author)taiphoon2008-12-04

Or powdered sugar for snow! What about using even a smaller cookie cutter shape, cut the cookie in half and (one half whole, the other half cut in half again- positioning the while half vetically pointing up, and the other two pieces gliued the larger half) attach to the top using royal icing. That might create a nice "top" to the tree. Just a thought. Thabks for the instructable, I am gonna give this a try this year!

taiphoon (author)matt_sawyers2008-12-04

oh man, powdered sugar sounds good, too! or, for an indoors-y tree, you could use tiny confetti sprinkles for ornaments and lights, and maybe just coat everything with granulated sugar for a tinsel-y sparkle.

DotatDabbled (author)taiphoon2008-12-05

Oooh, I love the idea of making these all white, then covering in a dusting of sparkly sugar. Very elegant!

sockeye101 (author)2008-12-05

for peopole with peanut allrgies they could use rolo pieces instead!

DotatDabbled (author)sockeye1012008-12-05

they might be a little small/unstable... but you could use sliced swiss rolls ( or something similar, as an alternative! Good thought on the peanut alergy prone.

carolbrowne (author)2008-12-04

I love your idea for the trunk! Genius!

lancmaltby (author)2008-12-04

Hello Dot ! I love these!!! I will be adding these with my Gingersaurous rex cookies. They will have a forest to live in!

Bartboy (author)2008-12-01

Enter this is the holiday treats contest, it has WIN written all over it!

DotatDabbled (author)Bartboy2008-12-02

thanks for the kind words, everyone!

Bartboy (author)DotatDabbled2008-12-02

I really hope it wins, it is so simple, yet so effective!

DotatDabbled (author)Bartboy2008-12-04

Well, I won third place in the food portion of the DIY Halloween contest with my creepy shots, so maybe that bodes well for winning this one! :)

DotatDabbled (author)Bartboy2008-12-03

Well, I entered it! We'll see... :)

At Liberty (author)2008-12-04

Brilliant - love the trunks. (gorgeous kitchen)

DotatDabbled (author)At Liberty2008-12-04

Well, they just built the house, and the kitchen is totally to die for. Unfortunately, it's not my own :) I love the trunks too. They were a cousin's idea when the trees didn't seem to have enough height as originally envisioned, and I think they add such a nice twist (plus, who doesn't love chocolate!)

ax89 (author)2008-12-04

Great instructable. Never seen anything like this before. Your granite counter is very nice too!

About This Instructable




Bio: Dabbler in All Things Creative...
More by DotatDabbled:Conehead Zombie Costume (Plants vs Zombies)Draco Malfoy - Death Eater (kids robe, mask, scarf and other Harry Potter stuff)Angry Birds Cupcakes
Add instructable to: