Picking the perfect tree has got to be one the most fun activities leading up to Christmas. Well, at least for me =) See, being a total OCD kid, I would spend a fair chunk of time looking at every tree in the lot. No grab and go here. Proportions, fullness, height, I had a system. Looking back, my parents sure had a lot of patience with my quest for the perfect tree. Today’s cookie celebrates the joy of getting that perfect tree, strapping it onto the roof of your car and bringing it home. Here is how to make it:

Bringing Home the Tree
 

makes 24 cookies
Ingredients
  • for green cookie dough:
  • 2 sticks of butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • green food coloring
  • 3 cups flour
  • for gingerbread cookie dough:
  • For Gingerbread Cookie Dough:
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • For Royal Icing:
  • One 2lb pack of confectioner sugar
  • ⅓ cup meringue powder
  • ¾ cup water

Instructions
  1. To make green cookie dough, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light in color and fluffy in texture. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Add green food coloring and mix again until combined. Add all the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Roll out your dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. To make gingerbread dough, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix together butter, brown sugar and molasses. Add spices, flour and baking soda and start mixing again on low. With the mixer on, add 2 tbsp of water and continue mixing until the dough comes together. Roll between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Unwrap your dough and cut out your cookies. Assemble according to directions below. Bake for 12 minutes.
  4. To make royal icing, combine all 3 ingredients in the bowl of your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start on slow. When ingredients are combined, increase to high speed and mix for 7 minutes until light and fluffy.

I am using 2 kinds of cookie dough for this project: green vanilla for the trees and gingerbread for the cars.

To make green cookie dough, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light in color and fluffy in texture. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Add green food coloring and mix again until combined. Add all the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Roll out your dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes:

green dough

To make gingerbread dough, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix together butter, brown sugar and molasses. Add spices, flour and baking soda and start mixing again on low. With the mixer on, add 2 tbsp of water and continue mixing until the dough comes together. Roll between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F:

Gingerbread dough

Because of the holidays, I always have gingerbread dough around but if you don’t feel like making 2 batches of dough, you can simply split your vanilla dough before adding the green color. Add food coloring and 1/2 cups of flour to one half in order to make vanilla dough. For the other half, add 1 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4cup of cocoa powder and you’ll have chocolate dough!

Here is how I figure out how to assemble 2 shapes into one: cutters, paper, pencil=):

IMG_8807

Once I am happy with the shape on paper, I can make my cookies:

gb cars steps

Cut tree cookies out of your green dough and place on a baking sheet. Cut cars out of gingerbread dough. Chop off the top part or each car with the same tree cutter you used earlier. Assemble the 2 shapes onto your baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes.

To make royal icing, combine all 3 ingredients in the bowl of your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start on slow. When ingredients are combined, increase to high speed and mix for 7 minutes until light and fluffy.

To decorate the cookies, first tie up the tree to the car with thin lines and let those dry:

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To add snow, first highlight the tree branches and car features with some royal icing. To give it a frosty look, while the icing is still wet, pour white sprinkle sugar over the cookie. The wet icing will catch the sugar:

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Don’t worry about the excess sugar. Once the icing has set, you can easily brush it off.

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Enjoy!