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cookie Christmas tree

Cookie Christmas Tree

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Course: christmas recipes, Dessert, Tea Time
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Author: Lorena Salinas from Cravings Journal

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 110 g unsalted butter soft, at room temperature
  • 150 g granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 250 g all-purpose flour + more to dust the surface for rolling

For the royal icing

  • 2 egg whites
  • 400 g icing sugar + about 200g more to adjust the consistency
  • liquid or gel food colouring

Instructions

For the cookies

  • Use a whisk to beat the butter, sugar and salt together until you have a creamy consistency.
  • Add the egg and mix it in until fully incorporated.
  • Add the vanilla and spices and mix once again.
  • Add the flour and baking powder and mix using a spatula. Once the spatula isn't helping anymore, knead slightly with your hands.
  • Cover the dough and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • If your dough has been in the fridge for more than 30 minutes, it's possible that you will have to wait a few minutes for it to come back to room temperature before rolling it out to prevent it from breaking. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it's 2-3mm thick.
  • Use cookie cutters to cut the cookies. I cut 3 cookies per size which measure from point to point: 13, 11, 9, 7, 5 and 4cm. You get to cut a bit more than this so I made a few extra small ones: one for the tip and the rest for eating ;).
  • Use a thin metal spatula to lift out the cookies from the surface.
  • Place the cookies on a non-stick baking tray. If your tray is not non-stick, line it with baking paper or silpat first.
  • Bake the cookies in a preheated oven at 180°C / 350°F for 8-12 minutes or until slightly golden.
  • Let them cool down completely before decorating or the royal icing will melt.

For the royal icing

  • Place the egg whites in a bowl and add the icing sugar through a sieve or colander.
  • Beat them until they come together, then adjust the texture. To see if it's at a good texture, make a line or dot on a dish or piece of paper. It shouldn't spread out but also, it should be easy to use. If you see that your icing is too hard, you can add a bit of water or lemon at a time. If it's too hard, you can add more icing sugar, always through a sieve or colander.
  • If you're not going to use the icing sugar immediately, place 2 layers of wet kitchen paper on top of it, touching the surface of the royal icing.
  • Once you're ready to use it, assess the thickness once again and adjust if needed. Remember that if you're using food colouring, these will thin out the icing.
  • Place your royal icing in a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle (it works a lot better than just cutting off the tip of a piping bag).
  • To decorate, squeeze on the piping bag slowly but at the same rate and let the string of icing drop onto the cookie. The tip of the nozzle should be around 3mm above the cookie so that you place the string of icing as it falls. I only make the nozzle come closer to the cookie whenever I'm done with a stroke or need it to stick to another line I made. You can correct and smooth out lines and textures using a toothpick. For my tree, I drew a line all around the cookies, leaving about 3mm of edge. Then, I added dots all around the outside of that line. For that, you need to let the line dry first for about 5 minutes so that the line and dots don't blend together. I don't recommend that you over decorate your cookies because you will only be able to see the tips.
  • Let the cookies dry for about 10 minutes before assembling the tree. Stick one to each other using a small dollop of royal icing. Before moving or handling the tree, let it dry for 30 minutes.
  • If you want a snowy effect, dust the tree with icing sugar.
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