Monday, December 15, 2014

Snowflake Cookie Tree Stack


Oh, Christmas Tree; Oh, Christmas Tree!

I've had this cookie stack idea in my 'to do' file for a loooooong time, and finally got around to trying them this past weekend.  You may have seen them before but made with star cookie cutters.  There are even kits to make them. I had been looking for a set of 6 graduated stars for these but I when I looked through my Christmas cookie cutters, I found I had a set of 4 four graduated sizes of snowflakes cutters and realized I could try making 3-4 cookies of each size snowflake for the stack, starting with the largest and working up to the smaller ones at the top.  Then, the very smallest added for the 'topper'. Real trees aren't perfect pyramids either so I think my plan worked just fine :)


I found that the trees looked best using 10-11 cookies for each tree shape and 1 small cookie for the topper. I used royal icing on each cookie, allowing it to harden for just a couple of minutes and then started stacking and twisting each cookie slightly going up.  If the icing isn't hard enough, your tree may start to tilt as mine did but it's easy to straighten it out as you work because royal icing takes a long time to harden.  I bought a set of Wilton 'icing' brushes and found they worked really well to apply the icing.  So much better than trying to use a spoon or icing knife. 

When I finished stacking the tree, and before adding the 'toppers', I sprinkled them with white non-pareils and clear sanding sugar.  On one, I added tiny, round candy balls on the tips of the 'branches'.  I just dabbed a little more royal icing where I wanted to place them.  I have a tiny tree and angel in my cutter collection so used one of each for topping the trees. To place the topper, I put a dab of icing on the top snowflake, allowed it to set for about 5 minutes and then, carefully, added the 'topper'. 


They were really fun to make and I think they would make adorable, edible table decorations for a holiday dinner!


For the cookie recipe I used my tried-and-true Celebration Cookie Recipe. You can Click here to see the snowflake cutters I used and here to see the icing brushes I found.

How is your holiday baking going and how is your weather?  Damp and dreary here but above freezing and no snow.  Thank goodness for the holiday lights to brighten the dark days and nights!


Celebration Sugar Cookies


Adapated from Big Fat Cookies by Elinor Klivans
Printable Recipe

2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) vegetable shortening (I used Crisco)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, in a large bowl beat the butter, vegetable shortening and sugar until smooth and somewhat lighter in color, about 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extract and mix until just blended. On low speed, add the flour mixture until just incorporated. The dough should be soft and smooth.

Divide the dough in half and shape it into 2 disks about 6 inches in diameter. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to roll without sticking, approximately 1 hour.

With the oven rack positioned in the center, preheat the oven to 350° F . Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

Unwrap one piece of dough and place on lightly floured rolling surface. With a floured rolling pin. roll the dough out to about 12-inches wide and 3/16 inch thick and cut out cookies. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets using a thin spatula, placing them 1 inch apart. Unwrap the second piece of dough and repeat the rolling and cutting process. Dough scraps can be gathered, re-rolled and cut.

Bake one sheet of cookies at a time for approximately 14 minutes or until golden at the edges. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack or sheet of parchment or waxed paper to cool.

The cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week or frozen for one month.

Frost and decorate as desired. 

Royal Icing


Adapted from Martha Stewart
Printable Recipe

Makes about 1-1/4 cups

2-1/2 Tablespoons meringue powder
2 cups confectioners' sugar, or more to thicken icing
3 Tablespoons water
2 drops glycerin

Note: You can find both meringue powder and glycerin at JoAnn in the baking section or, if you don't have a JoAnn nearby your can find them here and here.

Add the meringue powder and confectioners’ sugar to a bowl Add water, a few tablespoons at a time and mix until the consistency looks good. Not too runny. Add more powdered sugar if needed. Beat for 1 minute. Add glycerin and mix thoroughly.

The icing will keep for several days in an airtight container. After you decorate the cookies the frosting will take about one hour to dry thoroughly so handle carefully until then.

76 comments:

  1. I have a set of the graduated star cookie cutters. They are quite old and I can't remember where I got them. I love the idea of the stacked stars and snowflakes. I was just about to pull out my Lenox Christmas china when I decided to check in on my blogging friends!! So far, no cookies baked but I have found the cards and started on them.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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    1. I've decided to start using my holiday china every day since we don't host Christmas dinner any longer. All of the little touches help make the season bright :)

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  2. Well. Can you guess?
    I love them so much..
    How very very cute.i have admired the star ones too..but now I think these are cuterAnd with the toppers and decor?
    Si beaux!

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    1. Thank you, M! I thought they were pretty cute too :) Glad I finally got around to trying it.

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    2. I printed out the recipes..I only have graduated stars..lots of snowflakes but nothing cohesive:)
      Jacques tested some Christmas morning scones this morning.and has been taste testing so much..he said he was full:)
      They are quite enchanting your trees.

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    3. I'm sure they'll be beautiful if you make them, Monique. It's more about the the icing and sparkles :) Poor Jacques - LOL.

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  3. Hi Susan they look wonderful there very pretty indeed, and the pictures are very nice, I'm going to have to try this recipe

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    1. Thank you, Rosa! Your grandchildren will love them.

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  4. What lovely Christmas tree!
    Susan they look georgeous!:)

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  5. Very nice Susan - creative and elegant looking

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  6. Susan, These are beautiful. Your photos should be on the cover of a magazine! How festive everything looks. I am amazed at how talented all of you ladies are. Happy Holidays.

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  7. Cute and clever, Susan! They look great! I will have to check out the icing brushes, sounds like they would be much easier to use. The weather is the same here and I have baked several hundred cookies so far, love it this time of year. Take care.

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    1. Thanks, Pam. I found the brushes so much easy to use. That a lot of cookies!

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  8. These are stunning! I must admit that I would never have the patience to do these! What a gorgeous table you set and just curious how long these delectable centerpieces would last! Happy Holidays!

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    1. I honestly don't have much patience for decorating cookies either but these were fun :) Thanks, Abbe!

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  9. Susan, your stacked trees are adorable...I love the last shot...it really is magazine worthy.
    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thanks so much, Marigene! Merry Christmas to you also!

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  10. They turned out cute Susan! I remember Ma making the trees from stars for everyone one Christmas. I love that you used what you already had on hand:@)

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    1. What a great memory of your mother, Lynn! Evidently, this idea has been around for longer than I knew!

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  11. Oh I live Christmas cookies.....yum!

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  12. Susan, I absolutely LOVE those! Not only as table decorations, but edible too. They look delicious and so adorable on your table! Isn't it fun to try things like this?

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    1. It is and thank you, Barbara! I'm so happy I finally made them :)

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  13. these are adorable great job I don;t think I would have the patience

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    1. I never thought I would either :) They actually go quite quickly with the right consistency icing and the brushes.

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  14. I've never seen anything like these before and I LOVE them!!

    Sues

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  15. These are SO pretty! I love your little trees, and they look perfect on your beautiful table. :)

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  16. They look so cute and elegant Susan! Very festive indeed! Have a happy holiday!

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  17. These are the prettiest cookies trees I have ever seen! I love esp. those on your holiday table. So festive!

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  18. These are works of art Susan. I will mimic Angie's comment above - these are the prettiest cookie tries I've ever seen.
    Sam

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    1. That's very high praise indeed, Sam! Thanks so much.

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  19. these are just too cute... I want to know how many you ate whilst making these stacks? Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thank you, Dom. I did eat a few - how did you know :-))

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  20. These are SO BEAUTIFUL! I'm in awe. I would feel bad eating them and destroying the prettiness.

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    1. Thank you, Joanne! I'll let my grandsons do the damage. Boys don't mind :)

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  21. Hi Susan, what a masterpiece! these are just perfect in every way. You are going to have the most beautiful table this year, Happy Holidays!

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  22. Always a Happy Holiday spirit in your neck of the woods. Adorable cookie cutters!! You always make everything look perfect. Honestly, I wish I had you on my decorating team.

    Have a great holiday!

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    1. I'd love to be on your decorating team, Deana! Too bad we don't live closer :) Thanks so much!

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  23. Oh my gosh these are wonderful! So adorable, creative and festive. I would love these on my table. Printing to share with grandchildren someday :) Merry Christmas!

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    1. Good to have those ideas on hand, Tricia :) Thanks so much!

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  24. What a beautiful idea, these snowflake stacks are so festive! Delicious too no doubt :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  25. these snowflake stacks are perfect for Christmas table, lovely and chic atmosphere in this post !A warm hug ..

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  26. Very pretty and so festive and decorative! Great substitution using the cookie cutters you already had. The trees are lovely and I bet they taste wonderful too!

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  27. So beautiful, Susan! You are so talented!! Perfect for the holiday table. Merry Christmas!!!

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  28. What a great idea! I love the way you've decorated the table with it rather than put them on plates. Perfect for Christmas dinner edible decorations.

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    1. Thank you, Joumana! I'd love to make a whole forest of these ;)

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  29. I love that you used large snowflakes, what a perfect idea. I've been meaning to make these since I have an old kit from Wilton I believe. Now I definitely need to pull those out to make. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Thank you, Vicki! There were honestly fun to make with the right tools.

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  30. What a gorgeous edible, and I'm sure, such a tasty centerpiece, Susan!! I love that you used the snowflake cookie cutters that you already had. Your table looks so pretty, too. Merry Christmas!

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  31. Susan, what a great idea! They are not only edible, but decorative!

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    1. I love double-duty :) Thank you, Debbie, and Merry Christmas!

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  32. Your cookie tress are beautiful, Susan. A stunning addition to any buffet or table. I'm saving this for next year so have plenty of time to find the cutters. Your little trees look like they are fun to make. Happiest Christmas wishes to you and your family.

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    1. Thanks so much, Cathy, and a very Merry Christmas to you and your family as well!

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  33. Those are absolutely gorgeous!

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  34. Wow Susan, these trees made with cookies are so cute...they are perfect for the holiday table...not only add beauty, and they can be eaten...great idea...
    Hope you are having a fabulous week :)

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    1. They are in the freezer now waiting for Christmas :) Thank you, Juliana and Merry Christmas to you!

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  35. Genius idea Sue! These trees are gorgeous and I admire how you took the time to make them, they are so perfect! Boy, I wished we were neighbors- we would have fun drinking coffee, hanging out, and baking together!

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  36. That would be so much fun! Don't forget I'd be over for some great Italian cooking too ;) Merry Christmas!

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  37. You did a fantastic job making your snowflake trees…I love them!

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  38. Susan, these are the prettiest cookie creations that I've seen all season! Seriously! Thank you for sharing; I hope to be able to try to make them next year, since the next week is all about mingling with family. No cooking for me this year since we're flying and being 'the guests'. I'll do the dishes though (I'd rather cook!). Have a beautiful Christmas and thank you for your recipes throughout the year!
    Roz

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