Christmas cookie tree
Serves 10-12 | prep 20 mins | total time
- 500g plain flour, sifted
- 300g cold salted butter, diced
- 100g light brown soft sugar
- 100g ground almonds
- 2 large egg yolks
- 4 tbsp cold milk
For the filling and decoration
- ½ x 340g jar strawberry jam
- 300g royal icing sugar
- 1 x pot of silver balls
- 1 x tube edible glitter spray
- 1 x pot pink glimmer sugar
Make the biscuits a couple of days ahead; store in an airtight container. The biscuits can also be frozen. Once assembled, the tree will last for a couple of days
- Put the flour and butter into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and ground almonds and pulse again to mix. Whisk the egg yolks and milk together in a bowl, then, with the motor running, drizzle in enough so that the mixture forms a dough. Tip it on to a work surface and knead lightly. Divide into four pieces, flatten them into rounds and wrap each in clingfilm. Chill for 30 minutes. Make the tree in batches depending on oven size and number of baking sheets you have.
- Roll out the dough, a piece at a time, on a lightly floured surface, to about 5mm thick. Stamp out two stars of each size – but only one of the tiniest star – using cutters from a cookie tree kit, re-rolling the dough as little as possible and using up each piece in turn. Place the stars on large baking trays lined with nonstick baking paper, prick with a fork and chill again for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4.
- Bake the smaller stars for 12-15 minutes and the larger ones for 15-20 minutes until golden and lightly coloured around the edges. Leave to cool on the baking trays for a minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Spread 1 star of each size, except the tiny one, with jam. Put 3 tablespoons of water into a large bowl. Sift over the royal icing sugar and stir until the icing is smooth and runny enough to spread (you may need to add a little more water). Spread over the remaining stars (except the tiny star), easing the icing to the edges with the back of a spoon. Decorate the tiny star with piped icing and a silver ball for both versions.
- Sandwich stars of the same size together – with the jam star on the bottom and the iced one on top, then stack the biscuits in height order on a serving plate, turning stars each time you add another layer so the points create the effect of branches. Using a little icing, secure the tiny decorated star upright on top. Drizzle icing over the sides and let the children decorate with silver balls, glitter and glimmer sugar. For the grown-up version, pipe icing on to a few biscuits to create 'icicles' and scatter with granulated sugar. Leave to set for 2-3 hours.
Tip You can replace the glimmer sugar with granulated sugar.