- Cooking Time: 12-14
- Servings: 6
- Preparation Time: 45
- 1 8-ounce jar green maraschino cherries (about 1 cup), well drained and finely chopped
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup butter
- Green paste food coloring
- 1 cup white baking pieces
- 2 teaspoons butter-flavor or regular shortening Small multicolored decorative candies
- Place chopped cherries in a fine sieve and squeeze out excess liquid; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl stir together flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs and starts to cling.
- Stir in cherries and a small amount of green paste food coloring. Form mixture into a ball and knead until well combined and nearly smooth.
- Divide dough in half. If necessary, cover and chill dough for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until easy to handle.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time to 1/4- to 3/8-inch thickness.
- For each tree, cut dough using a 1-inch star cookie cutter (for the treetop) and 4 star cookie cutters that gradually increase in size from 2-1/2 to 4 inches.
- Place cookies 1-inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 12 minutes for smaller stars and 14 minutes for larger stars or until bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.
- In a heavy small saucepan heat white baking pieces and shortening over low heat, stirring frequently, just until melted.
- To assemble each tree, stack 5 stars, one of each size, with the largest on the bottom and the smallest standing on edge on the top.
- Spread a little of the melted white baking pieces mixture between cookies as you stack them.
- Drizzle or pipe melted white baking pieces mixture over each tree. Sprinkle with decorative candies. Makes about 6 cookie trees (depending on cutter sizes).
- Make-Ahead Tip: Bake and cool cookies as directed. Freeze in airtight freezer container up to 3 months. Thaw 30 minutes at room temperature before assembling into trees.