Do you love the smell of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg filling your kitchen? Not only do these spices smell amazing they also make baked goods taste heavenly, as all baked goods should. That is why I use all these spices in our holiday favorite Spiced Christmas Tree Cookies.
These cookies are very simple to make, they taste great and are super cute. They just make you want to sing carols.
Nothing says Christmas like decorated cutout cookies
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Decorating cookies is fun but over the years I have gotten away from the heavily iced cookies I used to make in the past. I have quite a fondness for these cute Christmas tree cookies because they have such a simple design with just the red, white, and green dots. Sometimes less is more!
More Christmas cookies
Bake these simple but impressive Christmas Surprise Inside Cookies for the holiday’s. It’s hard to resist a cookie with red, green, and white sprinkles and a delicious surprise filling.
Now this recipe is perfect for the kids to make. Theses no-bake White Chocolate Covered Cookie Wafers are dipped in a fun assortment of holiday sprinkles, sugars and candy. Making these is so much fun.
Why you will love these cookies
- This is the easiest dough to work with.
- The dough isn’t sticky so it rolls out nice and smooth, it cuts clean and is so easy to transfer to your cookie sheets.
- These cookies are not overly sweet and they have a wonderful flavor from all the spices.
- Get the kids involved with this recipe, they love working with cookie cutters.
- Set out a platter of these festive Christmas tree cookies during the holidays, or give them as gifts. They are always a favorite.
- A simple powdered sugar icing and food coloring are all that is needed for decorating.
- There is no need to invest in decorating supplies since you can just put your icing in a small plastic storage bag and snip a little hole on one end to make the dots.
- Butter – unsalted and softened
- Brown sugar – for this recipe I use light brown sugar
- Vanilla – for flavor
- Flour – all-purpose
- Spices – Ginger, Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg
- For the icing – powdered sugar, corn syrup, milk, and food coloring
There are many recipes for spice cookies that use molasses but these cookies rely on just four spices that give a light spicy flavor to the cookies. All of these spices are included in this Baking With Spices Guide along with other favorites.
Let’s bake cookies
The recipe for these spice cookies is simple and the dough mixes quickly.
Step 1.Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer add the softened butter and brown sugar mixing until creamy.
Step 2. Mix in the eggs on medium speed one at a time then add the vanilla scraping the bowl as needed.
Step 3. In a small bowl add flour, all the spices and salt and mix together. Add this mixture to the bowl and beat in at low speed until the flour is incorporated. If using a handheld mixer beat a medium speed.
Step 4. Divide the dough and place it on plastic wrap and flatten just a bit. Wrap up the dough and chill for about 30 minutes to firm up.
Step 5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and prepare two or three cookie sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.
Step 6. On a floured surface roll out one portion of the dough to a ⅛″ thick and using a Christmas tree cookie cutter, or your favorite cookie cutter, cut out the shapes and place them on the cookie sheet.
Step 7. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from the oven, let cool on the cookie sheet for five minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
Step 8. Repeat cutting out the cookies with the remaining dough and baking and rerolling any scraps.
Step 9. While the cookies are baking you can make the icing by mixing the powdered sugar, corn syrup, and milk in a small bowl.
Step 10. Divide the icing into three small bowls and add a few drops of the red food coloring to one bowl and the green food coloring to another bowl mixing thoroughly to color the icing. If needed, add a small amount of food coloring to each bowl until you get the desired color.
Step 11. To make the dots on the cookies place a #4 icing tip into a disposable icing bag and fill it with the icing. Optionally you can make a piping bag out of parchment paper. Pipe dots on the cookies with the different colors. Set aside to let the icing dry for about an hour.
Optionally you can fill a plastic food bag and snip off a small piece from one end and pipe dots onto the cookies.
And another option is to ice the entire cookie with a small knife and maybe add some sprinkles for fun!
Step 12. Once the icing is dry on the cookies you can store them in an airtight container for a week
I happen to own a lot of cookie cutters and most of them are for Christmas cookies, but I find I use this Christmas tree cutter the most. I love the size and shape of the trees. If you don’t happen to have a tree cookie cutter, other cutters will be just as fun. You can even look around your kitchen for some fun shapes to cut out the dough, believe it or not, a cup works great.
For those of you wanting a Christmas tree cookie cutter, thisis the perfect size and shape.
All done and decorated with red, white, and green.
The tradition of cookie baking for Christmas
- Cookie baking is a tradition in many homes at Christmas time and these sugar cookies filled with warming spices are both deliciously sweet and spicy and perfect for your holiday table, cookie exchange, or gift-giving.
- Did you know the ritual of baking cookies for Christmas started in Medieval Europe?
- Cookie cutters started to appear in the 1400s in Italy and soon became popular with cookie makers in England and soon the German and Dutch in America.
- Gingerbread cookies are the most popular cookies at Christmas time.
- The beloved tradition of leaving cookies for Santa started during the Great Depression in the 1930s to show gratitude to others and the importance of giving.
Cutout cookie tips and tricks
- When using cookie cutters try to place the cutter close to the edge of the last cutout so you have less cookie dough left when done.
- After cutting out the cookies gather all the scraps into a ball and reroll the dough and cut out more cookies.
- The more you reroll the dough will cause the cookie dough to dry out because you are adding more flour to roll the dough in. This is another reason to cut the cookies out as close together as possible to reduce the leftover dough.
- If you are making quite a few cookies using three cookie sheets is helpful since you don’t want the cookies too close together, you can’t place a lot of cookies on one sheet. Also, while one sheet is baking you can cut out more cookies and have them ready to bake.
- Always let the cookie sheets cool between batches, putting cookie dough on a hot pan will cause the dough to melt and produce misshapen cookies. Another reason to use several cookie sheets+.
- One ingredient that I highly recommend if you like to decorate with icing is this Americolor Food Coloring Kit. The kit has eight colors of gel paste which I prefer over liquid food color with basic colors to choose from.
Want more cookie inspiration, see this post on the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies?
Spiced Christmas Tree Cookies
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Making the dough
- In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and brown sugar until creamy. You can use either a stand mixer or a handheld mixer.
- Mix in the eggs one at a time at medium speed, then add the vanilla. Scrape the bowl and mix again to totally incorporated the ingredients.
- In a small bowl add flour, all the spices, and salt then mix together. Add this mixture to the bowl and mix on low speed until the flour is incorporated. If using a handheld mixer, beat at medium speed.
- Divide the dough and place it on plastic wrap and flatten. Wrap the dough and place it in the refrigerator for ½ hour.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. and prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat. I use three cookie sheets at a time for baking.
- Once the dough is chilled place it on a floured surface, roll out one batch of dough to ⅛" thickness, and cut with floured cookie cutters.
- Set the cookies on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let set for five minutes then move the cookies to a cooling rack.
- Repeat cutting out and baking the remaining dough. Rerolling the leftover dough. Make sure the cookie sheets are cooled before adding more cutouts to the pan.
Powdered Sugar Icing
- Mix the powdered sugar, corn syrup and milk in a small mixing bowl until smooth.
- Add more milk if the icing is too thick, but you want this icing thick enough to pipe and not spread on the cookie.
- Divide the icing into three bowls and tint one with red food coloring and one with green food coloring.
- Place the icing in a piping bag with a #4 tip and slowly pipe dots all around the cookie in different colors.Options – you can place the icing in plastic food bags and snip off a tip of the bag for piping.Or, you can ice the entire cookie.
- Allow the icing to dry for an hour.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container. Make sure the frosting is dry. Also this icing does not get totally hard, so be careful if stacking the cookies.
- When using a cookie-cutter try to get as close as possible to the cutouts so there is minimal dough leftover.
- With the leftover dough gather all the scraps and form into a ball then reroll the ball.
- One thing, the more you reroll the cookie dough the tougher the dough will get especially if you are adding more flour for rolling, so keep the cookie cutouts close together.
Christmas Cookies with Tea
Now every good plate of cookies has a perfect tea to go with it. With so many delicious teas in our collection, we had to have lots of cuppas and Christmas Tree Cookies to find the perfect match. But we did it – and had some cookies to spare.
Today I am enjoying these wonderful spice cookies withfrom their Warming Glow Collection.
These cookies and tea are the perfect pairings as the buttery plum flavor of the tea brings out the spices of the cookies and actually enhances the overall deliciousness of these cookies. Both the tea and the cookie have a subtle ginger flavor that is pure magic when enjoyed together. The beautiful plum color of the tea also adds so much joy to the experience that you just can’t help but be filled with the Christmas spirit when you eat the cookies.
If you are a tea drinker or looking for a gift for a tea lover, Tea Forte has a beautiful gift box of Warming Joy Tea that includes the Spiced Ginger Plum Tea. They also have one of the most unique teacup that goes with their tea pod. This porcelain cup has a steeping lid with a little hole to put your teabag string through so it doesn’t get wet. Everyone loves their little leaf logo coming out the top of the cup.
Wishing you many blessings and lots of joy for the holidays.
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From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place. I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing both sweet and savory recipes with all my baking friends.