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Shortbread Christmas Tree Cookies

A simple, easy-to-make shortbread cookie recipe shaped and iced to make super cute Christmas Tree cookies! Crispy, flaky, sweet cookies that hold their shape when baking!

christmas tree cookies made with scottish shortbread and topped with red and green icing

The holiday season is always my favorite. And while I’ve never made a giant cookie tray, I have done my fair share of decorating.

Today’s recipe is a good, simple shortbread cookie. It’s flaky and sweet and the cookies keep their shape when baking. It’s the ideal recipe for fun cookie cutters!

In the case of these Christmas Tree Cookies, I use a tart pan to help me shape the cookies. It’s actually quite ingenious. As someone that is sometimes creatively challenged – don’t expect me to do those intricate royal icing cookie videos anytime soon (such talent though) – this recipe is great in its simplicity.

christmas tree cookie dough pressed into a tart pan prior to baking

You just make the dough, refrigerate for a bit, then press it into a tart pan. Use a handy dandy dough scraper to slice the dough before baking. When it bakes, it will still bake together, but the lines will be there to guide you in making the cuts again when the cookies are ready to frost.

If you don’t have a tart pan, you can still make these – the pan just makes it a little easier. Just roll the portioned dough out into a large 10″ circle, pinch the edges as if it’s pie crust and cut the dough into slices.

I poke the tops with a fork to keep them from rising too much. It makes for a nice, even, crispy cookie. And while these are nice and sweet, they don’t have a particularly overbearing flavor. Some shortbread recipes call for juice – lemon, lime, sometimes orange (which is delicious, try it sometime), but I think those are best enjoyed plain or with a subtle glaze.

shortbread cookies cut into triangles and iced to look like christmas tree cookies

Also an important note: this dough is drier than your average sugar cookie dough, but it shouldn’t be crumbly. If it doesn’t spread easily in the pan and seems to turn into something resembling kinetic sand, you need more moisture. You can add up to 1TB of cream to this, but start slow. Add only a little at a time. You should be able to form it into a nice smooth disc to refrigerate.

The icing itself turns these plain wedge cookies into fun Christmas tree cookies – simple enough even those of us that are sometimes creatively challenged (again, me) can knock it out of the park!

Don’t forget to give us a shout if you make these, I love seeing your photos!

Until next time. X

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Shortbread Christmas Tree Cookies

christmas tree cookies on a plate with red and green icing

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shortbread cookies cut into triangles and iced to look like christmas tree cookies

Shortbread Christmas Tree Cookies

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A simple, easy-to-make shortbread cookie recipe shaped and iced to make super cute Christmas Tree cookies! Crispy, flaky, sweet cookies that hold their shape when baking!

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 16 large cookies 1x


  • 2 1/4 cups AP flour
  • 2/3 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp (18 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar or granulated sugar that has been pulsed a few times in a food processor (measure after pulsing)
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream (optional)
  • green icing
  • red icing


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F
  2. In a large bowl, sift the flours, then add the butter and sugar. Use your fingers to mix the dough together until it is soft and smooth. If it is crumbly, add up to 1 Tbsp heavy cream – slowly.
  3. Divide the dough in half, wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
  4. Press each half into a 10″ tart pan (I know 2 tart pans is excessive – either bake in batches or use the pan to shape your first half and transfer to a parchment lined sheet pan, or just roll into 2 10″ circles – no pan needed).
  5. Using a knife or dough scraper, slice the dough into 8 sections, like a pizza.
  6. Prick the dough all over with a fork.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until firm and golden.
  8. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  9. Slice the cookies again along the scored edges.
  10. Leave in the pan until completely cooled – at least an hour.
  11. Use green icing with a small round tip and pipe a zig zag line from the bottom all the way to the top of the cookie, like a tree. Use the large round tip with red icing to make the ornaments.
  12. Pro tip: pull straight up and away from the icing to get a perfect circle. It may leave a small tip. Wait a few minutes for the top layer to harden and gently press down to flatten the circle.
  13. Once hardened, store in an airtight container.



  • large bowl
  • sifter
  • cling wrap
  • 2 10″ tart pans (or 1 used twice)
  • parchment paper (optional)
  • dough scraper or knife
  • small round pastry tip
  • airtight container

I used store-bought red and green icing and tips for time’s sake, but if you’d like to make a homemade frosting, this one looks very good!

If you refrigerate the dough longer than 20 minutes (say, overnight), it will be hard as a rock. Allow at least a couple hours for the dough to return to a workable consistency.

You can easily stretch this into 24 smaller, skinnier cookies by slicing each round into 12 sections instead of 8.

  • Author: Sarah | AwayFromTheBox
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

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