Christmas is the time of year when many people get creative in the kitchen. Candies, cookies, cakes and other delightfully sweet concoctions are whipped up and presented as gifts or added to the tempting feast at holiday gatherings. Recently, one of my co-workers found out about my love for cake decorating and decided I should contribute to the company Christmas party.
On one of her shopping excursions, she found and purchased a “Cookie Tree Kit” produced by Wilton. It was a set of 10 plastic star-shaped cookie cutters in graduated sizes from small to large, along with two decorating tips, 2 plastic piping bags and a booklet of recipes and instructions for each of the trees pictured on the package. The cookies are to be mixed, rolled out, baked, iced and stacked to form a “tree”. I had never seen this kit before (which surprised me because I am a frequent visitor to the Wilton website) and was certainly up for the challenge.
The kit had several design ideas on the package and my co-worker had already picked out the design she wanted. I was told to make it blue, white and silver (or any combination of the three colors) so the tree would coordinate with the planned decorations.
I knew just by looking at the picture that I would need to make this tree in stages; baking, icing, stacking and icing again. This was fine because my regular workday began at 7:30 am and ended at 7 pm. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to play around in the kitchen.
The party was to be held on Saturday evening. The Monday before the party, I pulled out the Cookie Tree Kit and read over everything. When you are told to read over all the instructions carefully, it’s for a reason. I should have read over the instructions twice.
The booklet contained 2 recipes for the Cookie Tree. One recipe was for sugar cookies and the other was for gingerbread cookies. I needed sugar cookies for the tree I was to make. As it turns out, you need to make 2 batches of the sugar cookie recipe to make one tree (the same thing goes for the gingerbread cookie recipe if you plan to make that one). This would normally not be a problem, but, as I stated earlier, this was Monday. My husband had just come back from the grocery store, it was 9 o’clock at night and I realized I needed another 2 sticks of butter to even begin making the cookies!
The finished project was a hit. The sugar cookie recipe was delicious! The cokie tree cake was covered in a light blue royal icing – thinned down so it would easily flow over the cookies. White icing and silver balls were the only decoration.
The entire tree is rather large so I would recommend making this only if you don’t plan on transporting it (or make sure you have someone reliable to hold it steady as you drive to your destination. It is also very heavy. But it makes a spectacular centerpiece!
I didn’t get started on the cookie tree until Wednesday night and it took a combined total of 6 hours to complete (not including cooling and drying time). This is definitely not a last minute project. You could, however, try making a gelatin tree or crisped rice tree in less time. Instructions for these two items are also included in the kit.
The Wilton Cookie Tree Kit can be found at http://www.wilton.com