If you want to give someone the gift of food this Christmas, this star-shaped cookie shortbread tree is just the ticket
Makes: 2
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 12 mins
Total time: 32 mins
Skill level: Easy peasy
Costs: Mid-price


    • 500g (1lb) plain flour
    • 300g (10oz) unsalted butter
    • 150g (5oz) caster sugar
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 large egg
    • 2tbsp milk
    • Few drops of vanilla extract
    • Icing sugar, for dusting

For decoration:

    • 125g (4oz) royal icing sugar
    • 6 x star cookie cutters in various sizes, from 4.5cm to 13.5cm (1¾-5½in)

You’ll also need:

    • Baking sheets, lined with non-stick liners or baking parchment


    1. Set the oven to 180°C or gas mark 4.
    1. Tip the flour into the bowl of a food processor, add the butter, sugar and salt, and whizz until the mixture forms fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg, milk and vanilla extract, and whizz the mixture until the ingredients bind together into a dough. Or rub the butter into the flour, add the other ingredients and work them until they bind together.
    1. Roll the dough out to about 5mm (¼in) and, for each tree, cut out two of each size of cutter, re-rolling dough as necessary. So, for two trees, cut out four of each size. Place cookies on the lined baking sheets and bake the cookies in the centre of the oven for 12-15 mins, or until they’re a light golden colour.
    1. Remove cookies from oven and transfer to wire racks to cool. Dust cold cookies with icing sugar.
    1. To decorate the cookies, mix water into the royal icing sugar to give a spreadable consistency. To save making your own, ready-made royal icing can be used to stick the cookies together. Spread a little royal icing onto each cookie to stack them up. Stack two of each size, alternating the points, and sticking the top star on vertically. Leave a while for the royal icing to set before placing the cookie trees on plates and wrapping them in cellophane. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week (not suitable for freezing).

By: Sue McMahon. Photos: Simon Pask. Props stylist: Sue Radcliffe

Nutritional information per recipe

fat 131.0g calories 2,570(kcal)


This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.