Delicious, buttery sugar cookies with chocolate caramel trunks and white chocolate icicles bring a winter wonderland alive in these Christmas tree sugar cookie stacks.
1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartare
2 cups (260 g) powdered sugar
200 g white chocolate, tempered (see note*)
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy – about 4 minutes.
Mix in egg and pure vanilla extract until fully incorporated.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Gradually add flour mixture in with the butter while mixing, until the dry ingredients are just completely mixed in. Scraping down the bowl as necessary. Be careful to not overmix.
Split the cookie dough in half. Take one half and set it onto some plastic wrap. Use the wrap to help you form the crumbly dough into a smooth, flat, and round disk shape. Repeat this with the other half of the dough.
Make sure that the cookie dough disks are well wrapped, and place them in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours (up to a few days).
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Cover a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
Set one disk of chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. If the dough has been in the fridge for more than a few hours, you may need to set it out for several minutes so that it won’t crack when you roll it. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to be 1/8″ thick.
Using your star cookie cutting set, make sure that you make an equal amount of each size of star. (I have a 6-size star cutter set, so 10 of each of the sizes = 60 cookies.) When you have no more room to cut out stars, mold the dough into another disc and roll it out again to cut out more.
Carefully transfer the star shapes to the parchment paper lined baking sheets, placing the smallest ones towards the inside. Make sure that the cookies are lying flat and leave a little bit of space between them (though they shouldn’t spread too much).
Bake the cookies for 6-7 minutes, until the outer edges just begin to golden. You do not want the cookies to brown. Allow the cookies to completely cool on the baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Roll out the second disk of dough and repeat this process.
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat cream of tartar and egg whites together until they look foamy. Slowly add in powdered sugar. Beat for 10 minutes on medium high until quite fluffy.
Put icing glue in a piping bag (or a zip-top bag with a small piece of the corner cut off).
Assembling the Trees:
Starting with the largest-sized star cookie, use the piping bag to put a generous squeeze of icing glue in the very middle. Gently press a Rolo Mini down into the glue. Repeat this process with all of the cookies, working from largest to smallest, excluding the very smallest size. With the smallest-sized, rather than a Rolo, glue a large ball sprinkle in the middle. Allow cookies to set for at least 5 minutes before moving to the next step (glue needs time to harden).
Pipe some icing glue on top of the Rolo mini that is glued to the largest-sized cookies. Then, take the second largest-sized cookies, and place them on top. Check from all angles to make sure that the Rolo ‘trunks’ line up properly. Also, try to offset the prongs of the different stars so that they are staggered (see images in post above). Allow to set for at least 5 minutes before repeating this step with the next size down of cookie. Repeat until entire trees are assembled.
Carefully transfer trees onto a platter with a bit of a raised edge. Carefully fill in around the trees with white sprinkles to look like snow.
Put melted, tempered white chocolate (see note*) in a piping bag. Decorate one tree at a time so that the chocolate doesn’t harden before you have time to add the sprinkles.
Drizzle a tree by squeezing the piping bag from above to give the icicle effect. Then take a pinch of metallic ball sprinkles at a time and toss them at the tree. They will stick to the chocolate. Repeat with the rest of the trees.
* For this recipe I used 200g of Lindt white chocolate, slivered finely with a serrated knife, then tempered using the seeding method (follow that link to go right to the directions or see my easy-to-follow, complete guide on how to temper chocolate). Tempering enables chocolate to hold its form perfectly at room temperature and I recommend doing it for this table centrepiece.
Keywords: Christmas tree sugar cookie