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Source: Cookbook

Festive Cookie Tree
Forget the blinking lights and tinsel: this tree surely will be the all-time favorite in your house!
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Serves: Makes one 9-inch cookie tree
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 to 10 minutes
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Icing (Vanilla and Chocolate), recipe follows
several drops green food coloring
"M&M's"® Chocolate Mini Baking Bits
Powdered sugar
Colorful Sugar Cookie Cutouts
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Vanilla Icing:, recipe follows
6 tablespoons butter
4 cups Powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons milk
"M&M’s"®, for decoration

To prepare cookies:
Make recipe for Colorful Sugar Cookie Cutouts as directed. Using star-shaped cookie cutters in 5 graduated sizes, cut 3 cookies from each of the four largest stars and 4 cookies from the smallest star, making a total of 16 star-shaped cookies. Bake and cool as directed.

Decorator's Icing:
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pound powdered sugar

To decorate cookies:
Using Decorator's Icing ice both sides of one of the smallest stars; set aside to dry. To remaining icing, add green food coloring until mixture is of desired color. Ice one side of remaining 15 star-shaped cookies; let dry.

To assemble tree:
Place one of the largest stars on serving platter. Begin stacking remaining stars from largest to smallest, using small dab of icing to secure in place; alternate position of points of each star as stacking continues to create tree. Top tree with solid white star. Decorate tree by placing "M&M's"? Chocolate Mini Baking Bits on all tree branches to create lights; secure with additional dabs of icing. Dust tree lightly with powdered sugar to create "snow." Makes one 9-inch (230mm) cookie tree.

Decorator's Icing:
In mixing bowl with electric beaters beat 3 egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add 1 pound (about 4 cups or 455g) powdered sugar, continuing to beat mixture at high speed 4 to 7 minutes or until of spreading consistency. (Note: if mixture is too thick, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture is of desired consistency.) Keep bowl covered with damp cloth as icing will dry quickly.

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