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Christmas Cookie Tree with Popcorn Garland

Christmas Cookie Tree with Popcorn Garland

You’ve probably seen people make Christmas cookie trees and maybe you’ve tried it on your own as a project with your kids. It’s definitely an activity at our house. But, being the popcorn enthusiasts that we are, we’re also always stringing popcorn for our actual tree. So why not combine the two? Our Christmas cookie tree with popcorn garland seemed like a logical recipe to create.

The key to making a cookie tree is layers of graduated size cookies and you can buy sets of cutters specifically to make a cookie tree. We got ours on Amazon. It can be any shape you like but we used a set of 10 star shaped cutters, each slightly smaller than the last. The other trick is to use a cookie dough that does not spread in the oven because it’s important for it to hold its shape exactly for a uniform tree. Shortbread doughs typically do not spread but we used a no-spread sugar cookie recipe. It contains more flour than a typical sugar cookie which tends to make it less sweet. However, we added cinnamon for a flavor kick and the cookies get decorated with frosting which adds plenty of extra sweetness.

Assembling the tree is easy. Just add a dollop of frosting to the center of each cookie and top it with one smaller, at a slight angle. Once assembled, pipe on some frosting, sprinkle with snowy powdered sugar and place the smallest star cookie vertically to mimic the star at the top of a Christmas tree. So simple and such a visual delight to display on a dessert table.

Stringing popcorn, whether to go on the actual Christmas tree or the cookie version of it, is a fun activity for kids as long as they’re old enough to handle a needle. We make a party of it. It’s an old 19th century custom but we enjoy the nostalgia.

If you’re making a garland that’s not intended as food, it’s easiest to use fishing line or waxy dental floss and a crochet needle. Day old popcorn is also sturdier to string. But, unlike the pine Christmas tree, our cookie tree is edible and we wanted the garland to be as well. We used regular sewing thread and needle along with freshly popped corn. It takes a little more finesse but we weren’t making long garlands. And if a few popcorn pieces broke along the way, we just snacked on them.

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