Gingerbread Tree Cookies | Gingerbread Cookie Recipe | Eat the Love (2024)

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These adorable Gingerbread Tree Cookies are super easy to make, kid-friendly and fun to bake! Perfect for Christmas and Santa! (Jump directly to the recipe.)

Gingerbread Tree Cookies | Gingerbread Cookie Recipe | Eat the Love (1)

True confession time. I was once approached by a television production company to compete in a holiday cookie competition show. I’m kind of glad it didn’t work out for a number of reason. But the main one is that I’m not the best at decorating cookies. I was pretty up front about that with them, and perhaps that’s why they didn’t pick me for the show. Or maybe there was another reason. I don’t know. It’s always a mystery as to why you do or don’t get picked. I’ve been down the TV road before and it always ends with “we’ve gone another direction” which is just as well.

Gingerbread Tree Cookies | Gingerbread Cookie Recipe | Eat the Love (2)

But here’s the thing. I have friends who make beautiful cakes, gorgeous cookies and stunning pies. They do amazing things with dough that looks like works of art. And I have incredible respect for those folks. But I am both lazy AND impatient, which is not a good combination when it comes to decorating baked goods.

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So when I stumbled across the idea of a gingerbread Christmas tree decorated with M&M chocolate buttons as ornaments, I was all “I can do that!” immediately. The cookies come out super cute and aren’t labor intensive. They do require a bit of waiting because the dough has to chill. But the dough is not only easy to make but also fairly forgivable. I can re-roll the scraps as many times as I want. And I can use my more fancy pants Christmas tree cookie cutter on the dough, a cutter that might be more problematic with a more delicate dough.

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And, just to prove how easy these cookies are to make, I also made a little how-to video demonstrating the video (with music courtesy of the San Francisco band Wooden Shjips). Because why not? Happy Holidays folks! I hope your December is going well.



Gingerbread Tree Cookies | Gingerbread Cookie Recipe | Eat the Love (5)

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3.64 from 19 votes

Gingerbread Christmas Tree Cookies

These gingerbread cookies are packed with ginger spice but aren’t too spicy or overwhelming in flavor. The cute ornaments are just M&M candies pressed into the cookie before they are baked, making them the perfect cookie to make with your kids or for those folks who are decorating challenged. Feel free to re-roll the scraps as much as you want as this dough is pretty forgiving. If you use a more intricate cookie cutter, to dip the cutter in flour every time you use it, to help keep the dough from sticking. And remember that the dough needs at least 2 hours (or overnight) in the refrigerator to firm up before rolling out.

Course Dessert

Cuisine American

Prep Time 15 minutes minutes

Cook Time 10 minutes minutes

Total Time 25 minutes minutes

Servings 32 cookies

Calories 138kcal

Author Irvin

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter 170 g or 1 1/2 sticks
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar 220 g
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap) 230 g
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour 560 g
  • 10 ounces M&M candies 1 small bag

Instructions

  • Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream together until the sugar clings to the side of the bowl about 2 minutes.

    Gingerbread Tree Cookies | Gingerbread Cookie Recipe | Eat the Love (6)

  • Add the egg and molasses and mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the spices, salt and baking soda. Mix to incorporate and scraped down the side of the bowl again.

    Gingerbread Tree Cookies | Gingerbread Cookie Recipe | Eat the Love (7)

  • Add the flour and slowly mix until the dry ingredients are absorbed, then increase the speed until the dough forms and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 2 minutes. Lay out a piece of plastic wrap and dump the dough onto the middle of the plastic wrap. Flatten the dough until it is 1-inch thick and then tightly wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

  • Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking sheet or parchment paper. Dust a clean surface with flour then roll out about half the dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Dip a cookie cutter in flour, then cut out cookie from the dough. Move cookie to the prepared baking sheet then repeat until the baking sheet is full of cookies, making sure the cookies are 1 inch apart.

    Gingerbread Tree Cookies | Gingerbread Cookie Recipe | Eat the Love (8)

  • Remove any flour on the edges of the cookie with a soft pastry brush. Press M&M candies into the Christmas cookie. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges and top of the cookie look dry and the edges are stiff. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minute before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.

    Gingerbread Tree Cookies | Gingerbread Cookie Recipe | Eat the Love (9)

  • Gather any scraps and massage together, then re-roll on a clean surface, dusting above and below the cookie dough with flour if it starts to stick. Once you’ve finished with the first half of the dough, repeat with the remaining dough.

Nutrition

Calories: 138kcal

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Claudia says

    Love this! And that chilling the dough thing? It’s supposed to make almost any cookie dough better – a tip that goes back at least as far as the original toll house cookies. Happy holidays to you and AJ!

    Reply

  2. Nio says

    Awesome idea and good tips on dough – soon I will make for my kinds.
    – Mary Christmas

    Reply

  3. Heather says

    Where did you get the cute cookie cutter? Love it!

    Reply

  4. mimi says

    I wish I wasn’t too lazy to bake cookies! These are just stunning and fun at the same time!

    Reply

  5. judy says

    These cookies are beautiful. Love the cutter. Where did you purchase it?

    Reply

    • Irvin says

      Sorry this took so long but I had to do some deep Google searching! It’s by a company called Old River Road. You can reach out to them and see if they still have any.

      or you can order it from this place Country Kitchen Sweetart. I’ve never ordered from them before, so I can’t vouch for them. I just found them after searching awhile.

      Reply

    • Irvin says

      Yes! They can totally be frozen but, depending on how intricate the cookie cutter is, they may break. So you might want to store them in a plasticware tub instead of in a ziplock bag which bends and might lead to breakage.

      Reply

  6. Kelli says

    These are awesome!! So fun! Would love to know where you got the cookie cutter!

    Reply

    • Irvin says

      Sorry this took so long but I had to do some deep Google searching! It’s by a company called Old River Road. You can reach out to them and see if they still have any.

      or you can order it from this place Country Kitchen Sweetart. I’ve never ordered from them before, so I can’t vouch for them. I just found them after searching awhile.

      Reply

    • Trish says

      Are they soft or hard crispy cookies?

      Reply

  7. Joyce Mack says

    Where did you get that awesome cookie cutter?

    Reply

    • Irvin says

      Sorry this took so long but I had to do some deep Google searching! It’s by a company called Old River Road. You can reach out to them and see if they still have any.

      or you can order it from this place Country Kitchen Sweetart. I’ve never ordered from them before, so I can’t vouch for them. I just found them after searching awhile.

      Reply

  8. Mary says

    The dough was very wet so I needed more flour to get it to form a ball and pull away from the bowl. I let it rest overnight and then made the cookies the next day. The first batch spread so I refrigerated each successive cookie sheet. The M&Ms cracked so the appearance isn’t as pretty as what is pictured but they are still very cute and the flavor is very good. I would make again.

    Reply

    • Mary says

      Forgot to add – using the same cookie cutter as pictured the recipe made 2 dozen cookies

      Reply

  9. alan slimm says

    Really beautiful decoration,I would love to have the skills to decorate things like that nice trees.

    Reply

  10. Brendon says

    Hi! My name is Brenda and I like your site eatthelove.com, I read it, all the time. But now I decided to create my personal small blog about coffee and I want to post an interesting article on your’s site with do follow link on my blog, to tell your readers about my small blog – is it possible? If it’s possible please write me, how I can do it? Thanks a lot!

    Reply

  11. Mary says

    The regular M&Ms are Not
    Gluten free …. It’s in the dextrin.
    When I called the company … the customer
    Service person was real snotty when I asked what the dextrin was scourged from
    … then she said …”it doesn’t say gf on the bag
    For a reason!!”

    Reply

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Hey there! Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm Irvin Lin, a critically acclaimed cookbook author, IACP-Award winning photographer, IACP-nominated blogger, award winning baker, award winning former graphic designer, storyteller, recipe developer, writer and average joe bon vivant. I currently reside in San Francisco a block from Dolores Park and right near Tartine Bakery, Bi Rite Market & Creamery, and Delfina.

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