Brown Sugar Shortbread Trees
These tree-shaped cookies look divine on a holiday buffet but are easy to make and decorate.
Yield: 10 trees (70 cookies) Prep 40 mins Bake 325°F 8 mins to 10 mins Start to Finish 2 hrs 40 mins
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Royal Icing (see recipe)
- 1/4 cup green sanding sugar
- 10 small gumdrops, for decoration
1. In a mixer bowl, beat together butter, confectioners' and brown sugars on medium speed until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in extract, then flour and salt until a dough forms. Wrap well in plastic wrap, flatten into a disk and chill until firm, about 1 hour or up to 1 week.
2. Heat oven to 325 degrees F and place rack in center. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a floured work surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick, occasionally running a spatula under dough to keep from sticking to work surface. Using 1-14-, 1-34-, 2-12- and 3-inch star cookie cutters, cut out ten 1-14-inch and 20 of each of the other sizes; transfer to prepared sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, until just golden around edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer sheets to a wire rack and let cool completely.
3. Transfer icing to a decorating bag fitted with a small plain. Secure end of bag with a rubber band, squeezing out air. (When not using, place, tip side down, in a tall glass with a damp paper towel in bottom so icing doesn't harden in tip.)
4. Working with one cookie at a time, pipe icing around rim of each star and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Let stand until set, about 30 minutes.
5. For each tree, using a dab of icing to adhere, stack 2 large, 2 medium, 2 small and 1 tiny star; top with a gumdrop. (Can be made ahead. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.)
- Fat, total(g)19,
- sat. fat(g)12,
- Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Yield: 2 cups
- 1 pound confectioners sugar (1 box)
- 4 tablespoons meringue powder
- 1/4 cup water, plus more if needed
1. In a large mixer bowl, combine sugar, meringue powder and water. Beat on low speed (adding more water, as needed), scraping down sides of bowl, to stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. (If not using immediately, store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days. Stir before using.)