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With crisp edges and delicious dark chocolate and sprinkles, these gorgeous Christmas tree cookies are easy to make and perfect for cookie exchange.
Beautiful and festive without requiring decorating skill or piping bag!
We’re in the final stretch of the festive season with Christmas just around the corner, and today I share one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes that is perfect to turn up the holiday cheer!
This cookie recipe is based on the shortcrust pastry dough that I made last year. The method is super simple and the dough comes together in a food processor in just a few seconds. And it’s so easy to work with, versatile, and great to make fragrant cookies.
So I thought I’d do a few more festive versions of it for Christmas!
This time, the dough is delicately flavored with spices and rolled out, cut into lovely Christmas tree shapes, baked and decorated with luscious dark chocolate and beautiful sugar sprinkles.
And no piping bag required,
These delicious Christmas tree cookies will be perfect for your holiday cookie tray, and they are as lovely to look at as they are to eat!
List of the ingredients
- All-purpose flour
- Powered sugar
- Cinnamon & ginger
- Orange zest
- Vanilla extract
- Dark chocolate
- Food processor: It keeps the ingredients colder longer than mixing with hands and makes the cookie dough ready in seconds. I’ve been using this model for ages, I couldn’t recommend it more!
- Cookie cutters: A Christmas tree cookies cutter that is about 3.5 inch/9 cm.
- Rolling pin: to roll out the cookie dough. I use a wood rolling pin.
- Baking sheets: You need two baking sheets and parchment paper or silicon baking mat.
How to make Christmas tree cookies
(Note: this is a description of the method, the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)
- Add diced cold butter, flour, and salt to the bowl of a food processor.
- Process for a few second until the mixture resembles “sand”.
- Add the sugar, spices, orange zest, and pulse again just until combined.
- Add the egg, vanilla extract, and pulse for a few seconds just until the pastry dough comes together. Do not overprocess, it’s important to not overheat the dough.
- Transfer the dough onto a piece of cling film, wrap it, flatten and refrigerate.
- Next, roll out the chilled dough and cut about 24 Christmas tree cookies (the quantity depends on the size of your cookie cutter).
- Place them on a the baking sheets and refrigerate for 20 minutes before baking.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes, decorate liberally with melted dark chocolate and Christmas sugar sprinkles. And to finish it off, don’t forget a white chocolate star to the top of your tree cookies!
Cookie Ingredients & substitutions
Flour: Unbleached all-purpose flour (aka plain flour) works just fine for this recipe.
Butter: Good-quality unsalted butter is really a treat here (salted could work too, but skip the extra salt).
Sugar: Powdered sugar (aka icing sugar if you’re in the UK) gives a smoother texture than using granulated sugar.
Egg: One whole egg provides structure and makes the dough more compact and easy to roll out.
Flavoring: To add extra flavor I used vanilla extract, orange zest, cinnamon and ginger. You can skip the spices if you wish and use only orange zest or lemon zest with vanilla extract or almond extract.
Dark chocolate: Good-quality dark chocolate chips melt easily, but you can also chop up a 70% or 85% dark chocolate bar instead of using chocolate chips.
Sprinkles: I used white sugar sprinkles similar to these snow flakes and pearl sugar as I like the contrast between white and dark brown for these cookies. But you can use your favorite Christmas sprinkles here, the recipe is very adaptable.
Tips for the best Christmas tree cookies
- Fridge-cold butter is the key! I would recommend cutting the butter into cubes and refrigerate again until very cold, about 30 minutes, or freeze it for 15 minutes.
- Work quickly. It’s important to whip up the dough as quickly as possible.
- Flatten the dough before chilling: it makes the rolling easier and faster.
- Chill the cookie dough: Resting in the fridge improves the texture, don’t skip this step. If you’re short on time just make sure it’s in the fridge long enough to firm up properly and become chilled (at least 60 minutes).
- Roll it out! For the best cut, make sure you cut the dough when it’s still pretty cold.
- Once the chocolate is melted, you’ll want to work quickly!
More cookie recipes for you!
- Fig cookies (Italian cucciddati)
- Vegan biscotti with almonds
- 1-bowl Orange chocolate cookies
- 4-ingredient coconut cookies
- Lemon biscotti
- Chocolate chip biscotti
- Reindeer cookies
- Coconut chocolate chip cookies
Lastly, I hope you’ll love these Christmas tree cookies as much as we do. And if you have any questions, let me know! Leave a comment, send me a message, or rate it. I would love to hear from you!
Christmas Tree Cookies
- Food processor
- Christmas tree cookie cutter
- Baking sheets
- Parchment paper or silicon mat
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp (150 grams) powdered sugar (aka icing sugar)
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 large egg, cold and lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (or ½ lemon zest)
- 5 oz (150 grams) dark chocolate chips
- Christmas sprinkles, to decorate
- Prep the butter: for both cookie doughs, measure and cut the butter into 1-inch/2 cm cubes. Place the diced butter in two separate containers and keep refrigerated until very cold about 20 minutes.
- Make the cookie dough: Add the flour, cold-fridge butter, salt to a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles "sand". It takes a few seconds. Add the sugar, spices, zest, and repeat just until combined.
- Add the egg, vanilla extract, and pulse just to bring the dough together. It takes a few seconds, make sure you don't overwork the ingredients.
- Carefully remove the blades, transfer the cookie dough onto cling film, wrap and flatten the dough using your hands, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- After the chilling time, take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter to soften slightly. You don't want it at room temp, so try to roll it out after 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats.
- Rolling out: Lightly sprinkle work surface and dough with flour. Roll out the chilled dough (⅕ inch/ ½ cm thick), using the cookie cutter cut the Christmas tree cookies. Keep in mind you need to re-roll the dough, as needed, to get as many cut-outs as you can (they should be about 24 cookies).
- Place them on the baking sheets and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350℉/175℃ (conventional oven) and once it reaches the temperature, place one of the baking sheet in the middle rack and bake for about 13-15 minutes until golden pale. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and bake the second batch. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let them cool at room temp.
- Melt the chocolate on the stove: fill a medium saucepan with 3cm/1inch of water, place over a medium heat and bring to a very gentle simmer. Place a heatproof bowl on top of the saucepan so that it fits snuggly but doesn’t touch the water. Add chocolate chips to the bowl, then leave to melt for a few minutes. Stir regularly, until smooth and glossy, turn the heart off, then transfer the bowl from the stove to a work surface. For the microwave: melt the chocolate in short steps (10-15 seconds each time) and stir with a spoon after each step. Repeat until it looks melted and smooth. Remember that chocolate seizes easily and fast, don't overheat it.
- Decorate: using a spoon, drizzle the runny melted chocolate over the cookies – and once the chocolate is melted, you’ll want to work quickly! Add your fav Christmas sprinkles while the chocolate decoration is still soft. Place cookies in the refrigerator for a few minutes until chocolate hardens then store them in airtight container at room temperature for about 6 days.