Christmas Tree Butter Cookies

 Each year, I think I’m just going to make my favorite Christmas cookies as is.  But then I see something online or have an idea pop in my head and pretty soon, we’re altering a favorite (again).

Take butter cookies, for instance.  I had butter cookies the first time I spent Christmas with my in-laws.  Butter cookies were Hub’s grandma’s signature cookie.

She graciously shared her recipe, then I got excited and added lemon and rosemary to the mix (so good!)

Fast forward 9 years and I went back to the basics with the cookie recipe, but shook it up and rolled them in a cinnamon-chai mix instead of the traditional sprinkles.

And here we are another year later and I’ve gone back to the basics again, but added a design in the center.  

You know those slice and bake cookies you can buy at the grocery store?  I wanted to try and make those!  The store ones always look so cute, but taste so bad!

I wanted to make a cut slice and bake cookie, with a design, that tasted good!

It sorta worked - they definitely taste good and if you squint a little you can see a tree, right?  Anyway, the kids are happy with them, and there’s always next year to keep perfecting, right?

Christmas Tree Butter Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, beaten

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt

2 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour

Green gel food coloring

2-3 tablespoons red sanding sugar

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Mix in egg, and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low.  Add flour and salt.  Mix until combined.

Remove half the dough and set aside.  Add gel food coloring to the remaining dough.

Roll out the green dough.  Cut thick mini tree shapes from the dough.  Stack the tree shapes.

Roll out the white dough and any remaining green dough.  Wrap the stack of green trees carefully with the white dough, followed by the green. 

Sprinkle the sanding sugar onto a piece of waxed paper.  Slowly roll the dough log through the sugar, making sure a thick coat of sugar sticks to the entire outside of the dough. 

Wrap the dough log in cling wrap.  Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. 

Unwrap the dough log and use a large sharp knife to cut into ¼ inch thick rounds.  Space 1-inch apart on prepared baking sheets. 

Bake until edges are golden and cookies are firm on top, 16-18 minutes.  Let cool on wire racks.  Store in an airtight container.