Welcome to GMA 25 Days of Cookies. For 25 days, we are featuring cookie recipes that are perfect to make for the holiday season. Our celeb BFFs are sharing their cookie recipes with us and we’ve gathered some seasonal standouts that are sure to dazzle on your Instagram feed and Pinterest board.

Head to our full guide here all month long for the most beautiful, fun, seasonal, delicious holiday cookies worthy of your new Christmas traditions.

Preppy Kitchen's holiday cookie tree recipe

PHOTO: Try Preppy Kitchen's festive holiday cookie tree recipe.
John Kanell of Preppy Kitchen
Try Preppy Kitchen's festive holiday cookie tree recipe.

John Kanell, founder of Preppy Kitchen, describes his holiday cookie tree creation as the "most Christmas sugar cookie arrangement ever." It is one that is sure to impress your friends and family.

This is the most Christmas sugar cookie arrangement ever! Super easy to assemble and decorate unlike gingerbread houses! I whipped up a batch of green buttercream for my tree the day before, chilled it and let it come to room temperature the next day. When you’re trying to get an especially vivid color with buttercream, make it ahead and you’ll see the color come through. I happened to find some candy-coated chocolate balls at my local cake decorating supply shop and they were perfect for ornaments!

I finished off the tree with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and a golden star! I love breaking out the edible gold leaf; yes it’s expensive but you end up using it in moderation and it makes such an impact. To make my golden star I painted on a thin layer of sugar glaze and the gold stuck right on! As you can see in the video I cut double the needed stars to give my tree some height. Pipe buttercream to attach each layer using a small closed star tip.

Check out the full recipe with step-by-step instructions below.


2 sticks unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the buttercream:

3 tsp vanilla

1 lb confectioner's sugar

1 cup unsalted butter room temperature

3 tbs heavy whipping cream

For the assembly:

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon whole milk

4 inch sheet edible of gold leaf

Paint brush medium

Makes 10 servings


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs.

On low, mix in flour, cornstarch and salt. Add vanilla.

Separate dough into two parts. Wrap in plastic and chill for about an hour.

Roll out between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll to a 1/2-inch thickness.

With a cookie cutter, cut out star shapes.

Place stars on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool.

For the buttercream:

Whip the butter for about 5 minutes using a paddle attachment (stand-up mixer).

Beat in the confectioner’s sugar slowly.

Add the cream and vanilla. Beat until you have an even, fluffy consistency.

Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a size 30 star tip.

For the assembly:

Use the buttercream as glue between each layer.

Start by piping buttercream to the bottom of a medium-sized star.

Place star in the middle of a cake stand and press.

Alternate sizes between small and large stars to create a layered look to ascends into a tree. Save a small star for the tree topper.

Once you’re finished stacking, pipe buttercream onto each branch.

Add ornament decorations. I used Christmas color chocolate balls to decorate with.

For the star:

Mix milk and powdered sugar together to create a glaze.

Paint the glaze onto the cookie using a paintbrush.

Place a sheet of gold leaf over the the cookie.

Flatten with brush and smooth out.

Pipe buttercream to the top star.

Place gold star as the tree topper.

This recipe is reprinted with permission from PreppyKitchen.com.

Head to our full guide here all month long for the most beautiful, fun and delicious holiday cookies that are sure to become a new tradition.

GMA 25 Days of Cookies
ABC News
GMA 25 Days of Cookies

Tell us which cookies you're baking! Tweet @GMA using #25daysofcookies with your #25daysofcookies pictures and we may feature you on our GMA Facebook page or in our morning GMA newsletter! Deck the halls with lots of cookies, fa la la la la, la la la la!

Editor's note: This was originally published on Dec. 14, 2018.