Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies

Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies from #recipe

Sprinkles are to cookies what sequins are to dresses. They mean the difference between ordinary and extraordinary. Subtle and sublime. “I attended the party” and “I am the party.” These buttery Christmas tree shortbread cookies are the party. And the after-party.

There’s just something about sprinkles that enables them to make any dessert the center of attention. Cookie pops. Mini doughnuts. Fortune cookies. Homemade lollipops. You name the confection, sprinkles have upped its star power.

It doesn’t take much to jazz up classic shortbread cookies. With a festive new shape, a chocolate drizzle and yes, a sprinkle shower, Christmas tree shortbread cookies just might give Christmas Tree Cupcakes some competition for Best Dressed dessert.

Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies from #recipe

Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies from #recipe

Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies from #recipe

Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies from #recipe

Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies from #recipe

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Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies

Yield: 16 cookies

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 35 min


1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at cool room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup green candy melts (See Kelly's Notes)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
Assorted sprinkles

Equipment: two round 9-inch cake pans; piping bag or sealable plastic bag


Preheat the oven to 300ºF and grease two round 9-inch cake pans with butter. (If the pans are not non-stick, line them with greased parchment paper).

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing just until combined.

Divide the dough evenly between the two greased pans and press it into an even layer. Using a fork, prick the dough all over. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the shortbread is pale golden in the center and slightly darker around the edges.

Remove the shortbread from the oven and immediately invert the pans onto a cutting board. (If the shortbread won't release from the pan, use a sharp knife to cut around the edges.) Using a sharp knife, immediately cut each shortbread round into 8 wedges. It is important to cut the shortbread while it's still warm, otherwise it will crumble if you try to cut it after it has cooled.

Transfer the shortbread wedges to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Melt the candy melts with the vegetable oil in a microwave or double-boiler, stirring until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag or plastic bag, snip off the tip of the bag and then drizzle it onto the cookies. Immediately top the cookies with sprinkles and serve.

Kelly's Notes:
If you can't find green candy melts, you can use any variety of chocolate. White chocolate would be a beautiful snowy addition to the buttery shortbread trees.

Cookie recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.


19 Responses to “Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies”

  1. #
    Katherine — December 18, 2013 at 8:41 am

    You are so talented! These are absolutely gorgeous! Hopefully once finals are done I can get some Christmas baking done. If I’m lucky, they’ll turn out half as pretty as these!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 18th, 2013 @ 9:39 am

      Thank you so much, Katherine! I’m sure yours will turn out fantastic :)

  2. #
    Christina @ The Beautiful Balance — December 18, 2013 at 11:31 am

    I love how easy this recipe is and no cookie cutters involved!

  3. #
    Gina Moore — December 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I love the looks of these Kelly!! Seriously so pretty and looks so yummy too!

  4. #
    Naomi — December 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I love this. The decoration is so simple in process, but wow, huge overall finish with such a visual impact!

  5. #
    Christine @ Cooking with Cakes — December 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    you’re decorating skills never cease to impress – get it girrrl! these look faboosh :)

  6. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — December 18, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    I love shortbread and these trees are so fun and festive!

  7. #
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — December 18, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    These cookies are stunning! I’m making Christmas cookies with my mama this weekend and I’m adding these to the list!

  8. #
    Tieghan — December 18, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Stunning as always!! These are so cute and fun!! I am think of making these friday!

  9. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — December 19, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I love how simple it is to “dress up” a plain shortbread with candy melts and sprinkles! These are fabulous, Kelly! If they were a party dress, they’d be covered in sequins. Love ‘em!

  10. #
    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry — December 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    I have a feeling my cookies wouldnt turn out nearly as good as yours but what’s the harm in trying? Tis the season.

  11. #
    Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner — December 19, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Yes, sprinkles = sequins! I totally agree. :) Your cookies are gorgeous. Love how you decorated them. When it comes to handing out cookies to my friends and family, it’s all about presentation and these have the wow factor!

  12. #
    Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes — December 20, 2013 at 1:10 am

    Love this idea!! Adorable! Pinning :)

  13. #
    Olga — December 20, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    It is so great! Thank you for idea. May I translate your recipe for Russian readers and post it on

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 22nd, 2013 @ 9:54 am

      Hi Olga – Thanks for your email but I’d prefer the recipe not be copied exactly and re-posted elsewhere. If you’d like to re-write the directions, then you can do so. Thanks so much.

  14. #
    Zainab @ Blahnik Baker — December 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I have never felt this great about sprinkles!! Just love how you convinced me I should have sprinkles on everything. These cookies ARE definitely the party and after party. Look so gorgeous.

  15. #
    Terri @ that's some good cookin' — December 21, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    I’m a bit on the shy side about commenting on “power” blogs like yours, but I got so excited about how you decorated these cookies that I couldn’t help scooting out of my shy shell. Seeing those lines across the cookies and then the sprinkles, woke my brain up with something akin to “helluuuuu, dumb head. You don’t have to completely frost a cookie and then add the sprinkles. You can make lines and then add the sprinkles!!!!!!”. And those lime-ish green colored sprinkles? Beautiful. I passed over that very color of sprinkles at the grocery store recently and instead chose the regular darker green sprinkles. I had even told myself that I would regret not buying the lighter ones. (Talk to myself a lot.) I’m leaving now to go back to the store and make a more correct sprinkle purchase. Bye. Thanks.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 22nd, 2013 @ 9:49 am

      Hi Terri! Thank you so much for your incredible comment. It made my week! So happy to have inspired you even in the slightest :)

  16. #
    Aleesha Banks — January 25, 2014 at 4:44 am

    These are so cute and party-perfect. I love all the sprinkles. :)

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