Start with the perfect sugar cookie base, then learn how to make Decorated Christmas Tree Cookies with royal icing.
Keyword Christmas cookies, Christmas tree cookies, decorated Christmas cookies
Prep Time 30minutes
Cook Time 10minutes
Total Time 40minutes
Author Plating Pixels
½cupunsalted butterroom temp (1 stick)
½teaspoonlemon extractor vanilla extract
½teaspooncream of tartar.
1 packagevarious food coloringsgreen, red, yellow
For full instructions and lots of tips for making perfect cut out cookies, refer to my fail-proof Sugar Cookie Recipe. You can make these 1 to days ahead of time or before decorating, just be sure to fully cool.
How to Make Royal Icing
In a large hand or stand mixing bowl stir together powdered sugar, meringue powder and cream of tartar.
Add warm water and vanilla. Beat with whisk attachment on low until combined.
Set speed to high and beat 5-8 minutes more until icing forms soft peaks. Check for proper thickness, add more powdered sugar or water if needed (see notes below).
Separate royal icing into separate bowls for desired colors. White can be used as is. You’ll need a lot more for green.
Add desired amount of green paste, gel or liquid food coloring to reach color vibrance. Repeat for red and other desired colors.
How to Decorate Christmas Tree Cookies
Place colored royal icing into piping bags and use desired tips. A smaller round one works best.
Pipe a solid layer of green around the outside (leave a bit of space) then filling in center in horizontal lines. Shake cookie a bit if needed to flatten and create even layer.
Let dry and thicken for about 15 minutes. Then use red icing to create zig-zag lines for lights or garland look.
Add a bit of white to top and dots on yellow on lines to customize more.
Let cookies sit at room temp 4-6 hours or overnight to dry, depending on thickness of icing
Correct consistency for royal icing: Royal icing should be a thick glaze. The easiest way to test is to run a toothpick through it. You’ll see a line that forms. It should hold its shape a bit, then flatten back out.
If icing is too thin: Stir in powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time.
If icing is too thick: Stir in warm water, ½ teaspoon at a time. A little extra water goes a long way.
The amount of coloring needed can vary greatly depending on the type of coloring (paste, gel or liquid) as well as the quality of coloring. Stir in little at a time or go off of package directions.
Royal icing can dry out: Keep in piping bags with tips covered to prevent sealing. If it does dry out simply clean out with a toothpick
For extra icing not being used: Cover bowl or container with a damp paper towel and seal with plastic wrap. This will prevent drying.
Icing can be made ahead: Store as directed above in fridge up to 48 hours ahead.