I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but one day after some experimentation with sugar cookie dough, I ended up with green slice-and-bake triangles. They looked so much like Christmas trees, that I felt they should have some kind of decoration – cue the sprinkles!
The technique for making these is pretty simple. Just divide the sugar cookie dough in two and tint one piece dark green and the other light green. I decided to make mini trees, so I divided the dough into four pieces (2 dark green pieces and 2 light green pieces). Roll the light green piece of dough into a fat log and then shape it into a triangle (I did this by gently pinching the dough with my fingers as I pressed the dough flat against a work surface). Roll the dark green piece of dough flat between two pieces of parchment paper, and then wrap it in a single layer around the light green triangle dough.
Time for sprinkles!
It’s best to coat the cookie dough in the sprinkles while it’s at room temperature. It’s okay if the sprinkles don’t completely coat the outside – it doesn’t have to be perfect. It helps to gently press the sprinkles into the dough with your fingers. I did this and they stuck fairly well.
I found these cookies slice best after they’ve chilled about 20 minutes in the freezer. The sprinkles stay on better and the shape doesn’t squish when you cut it.
The tree trunks are made from Tootsie Rolls. I just pressed little pieces into the bottoms of the cookies and they held together on their own. If you have some trouble getting them to stick, a dot of melted candy (candy melts) can be used as adhesive.
Because my trees were so tiny, I cut the Tootsie Roll candies into smaller pieces to make the tree trunks. It’s best if the tootsie rolls are fresh and soft so they’ll stick to the cookies well. If you’ve had your Tootsie Rolls since Halloween, then you might want to purchase a fresh bag.
I’ll close with a great big HOORAY(!) for slice-and-bake cookies. You can store the shaped dough in the freezer until you’re ready to bake them.
Sprinkle Christmas Tree Cookies
- 1 cup/226g unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/2 cups/300 g granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 3/4 cups/350 g all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Leaf green gel food color
- Dark green food color
- 1 cup rainbow nonpareils
- Tootsie Rolls
- Candy melts meltable candy disks optional
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg and extracts; mix well. Combine flour and salt; add to butter mixture. Beat until well blended. Divide dough into two equal pieces. Tint one piece light green and the other piece dark green (I kneaded it into the dough with my hands, but you could use the mixer on low speed). The dough should not be sticky, but if it is, then add extra flour to the batter until it is no longer sticky.
- Divide the tinted dough into four equal pieces (or six, for mini trees). Shape the light green portions into triangles by rolling the dough into a log and then pinching in into a triangular shape with your fingers. Roll the dark green pieces of dough flat between two pieces of parchment paper and wrap it over the light green triangle in a single layer. Cut away the excess dough with a knife.
- Place the sprinkles in a shallow dish and place the dough on top of them, turn the dough to coat the outside, pressing the sprinkles on with your fingers as you go. This part doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s okay if some of the sprinkles don’t stick to the dough.
- Cover the sprinkle-coated dough in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two (or more) baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Cut the dough into 1/4-inch slices, and place them on the parchment –lined sheets. Bake small cookies for 7-9 minutes, and 10-12 minutes for larger cookies. Bake times will vary according to size, so keep an eye on them. They are done when slightly puffed and fragrant.
- Cut Tootsie Rolls candies in half, and then into small rectangles to make the “tree trunks”. Use the back of a knife to press tree bark striations in the candy. Press the Tootsie Rolls onto the bottoms of the trees. If the Tootsie Rolls are fresh and soft, they should stick to the sprinkles naturally. If you’re gifting these or taking them to a party, I suggest adhering the trunks to the trees with a dot of melted candy melts (insurance is best!)
- Allow the cookies to stand for several minutes or until the melted candy is set and the Tootsie Roll tree trunks are stable.
- Cheerful cookies like this are meant to be seen, so gift them in clear cellophane bags tied with pretty ribbon.