Christmas Sugar Cookie cut-outs decorated to look like Christmas trees—so easy! A small batch of cut-out sugar cookies decorated with a small batch of royal icing and sprinkles.
Last year, Camille was just beginning to grasp the concept of making cookies for Santa. She really enjoys the process of making cookies with me, but really, it’s more about the candy decorations than anything.
Last year, I realized that I didn’t have much of a game plan for Santa’s Christmas Eve snack, so I whipped up the easiest Christmas Sugar Cookies I knew. They’re all round with white frosting, and I zig-zagged some thin black icing across the cookies. I turned mini M&Ms sideways to resemble Christmas Lights. Behold, the easiest Christmas Lights Cookies ever.
You guys LOVE that recipe, and are still making it this year! I'm so glad!
But, can I suggest another Christmas Sugar Cookie recipe that is just as easy? These Christmas tree cookies have a zig-zag of green icing, sprinkles on top, plus a big candy star on top.
Christmas Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs:
The base for these Christmas Cut Out Sugar Cookies is the same as last year—a round sugar cookie, cut with a 3" biscuit cutter. So, even if you don’t have any Christmas shaped cookie cutters, you can still make these cookies!
If your cutter is out, try my Tea Cakes, too!
The cookies are rich with the classic sugar cookie flavor, thanks to Rodelle’s vanilla extract. It perfumes the dough with a festive scent, and tastes delicious, too.
I made a small batch of royal icing to use on top of the cookies. I love royal icing because it’s smooth and dries perfectly flat. The matte white finish when it's dried allows any decorations on top to really shine. Plus, the Christmas sugar cookie recipe uses only egg yolks, and the royal icing uses the leftover egg whites!
I use a store-bought tube of shimmery green icing for the Christmas tree shape, but you can always divert some of the small batch royal icing and dye it green instead. Just place it in a piping bag and use the smallest round tip you can find. Then, I separate out my jar of non-non-pareil sprinkles into green and red, and I found a jar of large star sprinkles just for these cookies.
I can really see these cookies spinning off in so many directions. The blank white canvas allows you to draw anything on top—Christmas bells, holly leaves, a present, or a Christmas stocking! Camille wants to make a snowflake version next and pour edible glitter on top, because it’s been 6 months since she’s seen the movie Frozen, and her obsession is not showing sings of slowing down.
Baking Christmas cookies with kids:
This Christmas Sugar Cookie recipe makes a little over 1 dozen cookies. It’s the perfect amount for baking with kids, because I’ve found that they lose interest decorating cookies after about 6 cookies. Or, they just start eating the frosting and sprinkles straight-up, ignoring the actual cookies. This recipe will give you enough cookies for Santa’s plate, plus a few for everyone in the family to enjoy.
Sometimes I think baking with kids can be daunting in the kitchen, but a small-batch recipe is just perfect for children.
I use a mini rolling pin that fits little chubby hands in a small work surface. The mess should be minimal and contained in a small space!
If you kids are really little, you can make the cookies a day ahead, and store them in an air-tight container. If you think your kids would get bored waiting for icing to dry, you can ice the cookies with the small-batch royal icing ahead of time, too. Let it dry overnight. Then, on Christmas Eve, lay the cookies out in front of the kids and give them the green icing and sprinkles to decorate. This way, the kids get to do just the fun part of cookie decorating.
I linked to all of the sprinkles and baking tools in the recipe below, should you find yourself needing a mini rolling pin or the perfect star sprinkles on top. I hope you enjoy these cookies!
Christmas Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs
The cutest Christmas Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs. The simple Christmas tree cookie design is great for baking with kids. No chill time required!
For the sugar cookie cut-outs:
- 1 ½ cups flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks (save the whites for the frosting)
- 1 teaspoon Rodelle vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 tube green frosting with small tip
- red and green nonpareils sprinkles
- star sprinkles
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a medium bowl, beat together with an electric mixer the butter and sugar. Once light and fluffy, add the egg yolk and vanilla extract.
- Once well incorporated, sprinkle over half the flour mixture and beat gently until combined, then sprinkle over the rest. Beat until no streaks of flour remain, but be careful not to over-mix.
- Dust a clean counter top with flour, and dump half of the dough out onto it. Gather it into a ball and press it into a ½" thick round disk. Flour your rolling pin, then roll out the dough out big enough to cut out about 8-9 shapes. Place the shapes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Gather the dough scraps and re-roll to cut out 8-9 more shapes and place them on the cookie sheet. You should get roughly 16 cookies.
- Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for the minutes while you preheat the oven to 350.
- Once the oven is hot, bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, until the edges of the cookies just start to turn brown. Let them sit on the sheet a few minutes before moving them a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the cookies are cooled completely, make the royal icing: in a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice.
- Beat the egg white in a small bowl to loosen them, and then measure out 2 tablespoons of egg whites and add them to the bowl with the sugar.
- Whisk together the icing, starting slowly, and trust that the sugar will melt and it will become liquid. Resist the urge to add any more liquid to the bowl, and instead just keep whisk slowly.
- When the icing comes together, spoon a small amount onto each cookie, and use an off-set spatula to spread it almost to the edges.
- Let the royal icing harden completely on the cookies before proceeding.
- Using the green frosting tube, make a zig-zag Christmas tree shape in the center of a cookie. Immediately add the nonpareil sprinkles and press a star candy on top. Because the royal icing is already dry, the sprinkles will only stick to the Christmas tree shape. Repeat with all remaining cookies.
Cookies will keep for up to 3 days in an air-tight container at room temp.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 195Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 59mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 0gSugar: 21gProtein: 3g
Did you ever try any other flavors other than vanilla?
These came out so cute, and I love how simple the cookie and icing recipes were. The royal icing came together in just a few seconds! (The egg whites and lemon juice were room temp so that might make a difference for those who had trouble.) I used Wilton green sparkle gel for decorating, and didn’t realize that the bottle says “does not harden”! I Therefore they weren’t stackable or very transportable. Next time I will use your tip for dying some leftover royal icing green instead since it hardens perfectly! Thanks for the recipe!
Christina Lane says
This happened to me the first time--the green icing stayed wet! I'm glad they updated the bottle to say it!
Hi Christina - trying to decide between this and your other sugar cookie cutout recipe with the state of Texas shaped cookies. Is there a big difference between the two? I noticed this recipes uses more flour, sugar, and egg yolks but omits the almond extract?
Can you just do simple multiplication to make 2-3 dozen at a time instead of 1? Or is there a special conversion?
Christina Lane says
For this recipe, just multiply :) Thanks for asking!
Lydia D. says
I tried these today and I was so happy with the result! I didn't make them into Christmas cookies but cut them into pumpkins and circles and used some leftover RI I had made previously. Definitely going to be a go-to for smaller batch cut outs.
Can you freeze the dough and bake later?
Grace Callan says
These are so cute I can’t wait to make some! I was just wondering how long does is take for the Royal icing to harden before I can pipe the Christmas trees on top?
Christina Lane says
I'd say 15-20 minutes in a not-so-humid environment.
Can you freeze these to use at a later date? If so, would they need to be frozen before I ice them or could I freeze them completely done?
Anne Kelly says
Is it safe to eat the uncooked egg whites which are used in your icing recipe? Thank you! Can’t wait to make these cookies!❤️🥳
Christina Lane says
For sure, but if you're worried, you can buy a carton of eggs labeled 'pasteurized.'
I’m making these now as a trial run through. I’m considering having the high school students make them in our cooking class. But I was careful about lightly spooning and measuring the flour, but it only made enough dough to cut 10 cookies that are 1/2” thick. I used a ruler to measure the thickness. My biscuit cutter is 2-1/2” diameter. Also the dough seemed pretty crumbly after mixing. Is that correct? I’m guessing this is more of a shortbread type cookie? It did come together when pressed on a floured counter.
Christina Lane says
Yes, it's shortbread-like, and my recipes are small-batch, hence the name Dessert for Two.
I don’t see the link for large star sprinkles