Gingerbread Christmas Tree Cookies

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These easy Gingerbread Christmas Tree Cookies are made with apple sauce to use a fraction of the butter – yet they still have the same great flavor and texture. Perfect for your Holiday baking!

These easy Gingerbread Christmas Tree Cookies are made with apple sauce to use a fraction of the butter – yet they still have the same great flavor and texture. Perfect for your Holiday baking!
Gingerbread Christmas Tree Cookies

Although I’m personally not a fan of gingerbread cookies, Madison LOVES baking them, decorating them and eating them so I bake them every year. I’ve been using this Low Fat Gingerbread Cookie recipe for years with perfect results every time. Some years we even make them into gingerbread tree ornaments.

This year I wanted to make them into Christmas trees. No cookie cutter required, all I used was a knife to cut them into triangles!

These easy Gingerbread cookies are made with apple sauce to use a fraction of the butter – yet they still have the same great flavor and texture. Perfect for your Holiday baking!

And speaking of cookies, the holidays are here again! And while it’s a wonderful season to spend with family and friends enjoying delicious (and seemingly endless) food and drink, it’s also the time of year when many of us pack on a few unwanted pounds. Since holiday weight gain is pretty universal, why not give the gift of Skinnytaste this year? It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Skinnytaste Cookbook
These easy Gingerbread cookies are made with apple sauce to use a fraction of the butter – yet they still have the same great flavor and texture. Perfect for your Holiday baking!
These easy Gingerbread cookies are made with apple sauce to use a fraction of the butter – yet they still have the same great flavor and texture. Perfect for your Holiday baking!
These easy Gingerbread cookies are made with apple sauce to use a fraction of the butter – yet they still have the same great flavor and texture. Perfect for your Holiday baking!
gingerbread cookie dough
rolling gingerbread cookie trees
Rolling gingerbread cookie dough
making easy gingerbread cookie trees
These easy Gingerbread cookies are made with apple sauce to use a fraction of the butter – yet they still have the same great flavor and texture. Perfect for your Holiday baking!
making gingerbread cookies
These easy Gingerbread cookies are made with apple sauce to use a fraction of the butter – yet they still have the same great flavor and texture. Perfect for your Holiday baking!
These easy Gingerbread cookies are made with apple sauce to use a fraction of the butter – yet they still have the same great flavor and texture. Perfect for your Holiday baking!

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These easy Gingerbread Christmas Tree Cookies are made with apple sauce to use a fraction of the butter – yet they still have the same great flavor and texture. Perfect for your Holiday baking!
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4 from 13 votes
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Gingerbread Christmas Tree Cookies

2
2
2
SP
106 Cals 1.5 Protein 24 Carbs 1 Fats
Prep Time: 2 hrs 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs 30 mins
Yield: 60 cookies
COURSE: Dessert
CUISINE: American
These Gingerbread cookies are made with a fraction of the butter – yet they still have the same great flavor and texture. This year I wanted to make them into Christmas trees. No cookie cutter required, all I used was a knife to cut them into triangles!

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup dark molasses
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

For the Icing:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 to 6 drops green food coloring
  • colored sprinkles

Instructions

For the cookies:

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar and applesauce until smooth. Add the egg and molasses, mix well.
  • In another large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and spices. Add to sugar and molasses mixture, stirring well with the mixer. Use your hands to form a large ball, the dough will be a little sticky.
  • Wash and dry your hands. Place flour on your hands so the dough doesn't stick to you, then divide the dough into two flat balls; cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  • After the dough has chilled 2 hours, preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously dust the surface of your working area with flour before rolling out the dough. Work with one ball of dough at a time, keep the other refrigerated while you do so.
  •  Depending on how thin you roll the dough out and the size of your trees, makes at least 60 tree cookies.
  • Roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness, sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough if it's a little sticky. Trim the uneven edges off to square the dough, then using a knife cut the dough into 3 1/2 inch
  • strips. Then cut the strips into triangles.
  • Place the cookies 1 or 2 inches apart on a silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.

For the icing:

  • Mix the egg whites with lemon juice. Combine with powdered sugar, mixing well then add a few drops of green food coloring until you get the color you desire.
  • If the icing is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar, if it's too thick add a drop of lemon juice or water. Transfer to a piping bag to decorate cookies when cookies are cooled.
  • To decorate, pipe the cookies with the frosting one at a time, quickly adding the sprinkles before it hardens.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cookies, Calories: 106kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 1.5g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Sodium: 50mg, Sugar: 13.5g
Blue Smart Points: 2
Green Smart Points: 2
Purple Smart Points: 2
Points +: 3
Keywords: christmas tree cookies, gingerbread cookie recipe, Gingerbread Cookies, gingerbread man cookies

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148 comments

  1. Hmm. Count me among those for whom this didn’t quite work. Granted, I’m gluten free, but I’m a baker, and I was using my favorite cup for cup flour that had never failed me before. This came out more like a pancake batter than a gingerbread dough. I ended up adding a *full cup* more flour, but then the flavor was bland, so I added another half teaspoon of ginger and of cinnamon, then another quarter teaspoon of cloves (risky, I know). Anyway, it’s sitting in the fridge now. I’ll likely have some pretty tough cookies tomorrow. Maybe cut the applesauce in half?

  2. Gina! These were amazing and the kids LOVED them so that’s a win! Thank you so much 💓

  3. These are great! I am not normally a fan of gingerbread, but I love these! I ended up refrigerating my dough over night, but it turned out great and was easy to roll out. I did prefer to only bake them for about 8 and a half minutes for a little softer cookie. I love a little bit healthier cookie for the holidays.

  4. I usually love Gina’s recipes, but this dough was way too sticky for me. They were decent and my kids ate them, but for me they weren’t worth the calories compared to all her other dessert recipes I’ve tried.

  5. Great recipe nice flavor and so easy to roll out!  I will be making these again!!  I not only made the trees, but made some into Santa hats & gnomes too!

  6. Can the cookies be frozen after they have been cooked?

  7. I refrigerated the dough overnight and it was perfect for rolling and cutting.  Will definitely add to my annual holiday baking list!

  8. Just made that recipe with my kids. I was a bit scared after reading the comments, but I ended up with a really nice dough. I often find gingerbread recipe not tasting enough, but this one is very tasty. Even the day after they stated soft and chewy.

  9. Very dry compared to a normal gingerbread cookie.

  10. I really wanted this to work, but this recipe was an epic fail for me. I’m pretty sure I measured everything correctly. The dough was beyond “a little sticky.” I invented a new type of adhesive. I wish I knew what went wrong. I will just use a traditional gingerbread recipe   instead. 

  11. Love this easy to do recipe! The dough came together quite nicely!
    Seeing as these are a ‘soft’ gingerbread cookie, what is their shelf time? I was hoping to make some and send to my grandmother. Thanks!

  12. I have found the easiest way to roll out sticky dough is to spray Pam on your hands. Butter Pam or baking pam. Keeps anything from sticking. Im baking  these tonight!

  13. Will gluten free flour work?

  14. Mine was also super sticky. I eventually just cut in half in the bowl, and slid them onto plastic wrap. Refrigerated well over 3 hours, was slightly sticky but added loads of flour as i played with it. Once I got it all figured out and cooked they were amazing.

  15. These look amazing….question, can they be made with a gluten-free flour?

  16. these came out so delicious and they were so fun to decorate! my family loved them!

    the directions were thorough and easy to follow
    thank you!

  17. Well, after about 8 hours in the fridge, dough was WAY too soft to roll out, and I didn’t want to add more flour. My “Plan B”?  I used a 1” scoop, sprayed a tiny bit of PAM on my hands, rolled each scoop into a ball, slightly flattened each cookie, added
    Christmas sprinkles and baked about 8 minutes. Yielded 5 1/2 dozen cookies – very soft and chewy – delicious!!

  18. Can you make the cookies ahead of time and decorate another day? Say 1 or 2 days after? If so, how should we store the cookies after they are baked?

  19. Is it safe to eat raw egg whites (used for the icing)?

  20. Hi Gina! We just made these and they’re delightful! Question- would it work to freeze half of the dough for later? Or how long would the dough last in the fridge? Thanks so much!
    Read more at https://www.skinnytaste.com/gingerbread-christmas-tree-cookies-and/#sHpso0r4Pvj4uzuM.99

    • 6 to 8 days in the refrigerator, freezer 2 months.

      • Followed the recipe exactly. Way to sticky to make into balls. Had to add flour to make it work. Are we sure those measurements are correct? Anyhow. I put mine in the freezer for 2 hours and then I will be adding a lot more flour for rolling. Wish me luck. I’m excited for them!!! Thanks for all the good recipes! 

  21. Can you use cookie cutters instead of cutting them out with a knife?

  22. Are these soft or hard?

  23. Love this recipe. What a great idea. I am going to make this cookie for sure. Ha ha somehow I will fit in baking sometime this busy Christmas weekend. Thank you!

  24. I’m not sure where I went wrong. I followed the recipe exactly as stated (the only deviance was my store didn’t have anything labeled “dark molasses” so I went with the one labeled “molasses”). However, the “dough” was the approximate consistency of a custard pie filling. I had to add in over two more cups of flour for it to even begin to form a dough, but even then, it wouldn’t come together to rest in the fridge. I ended up throwing the whole thing out because I figured by that point the ratios were so messed up who knows what would’ve come out of the oven. Bummed, because these look and sound so delicious!

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  31. Hi Gina! We just made these and they’re delightful! Question- would it work to freeze half of the dough for later? Or how long would the dough last in the fridge? Thanks so much!

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  34. I love gingerbread cookies I’m going to make your trees for Christmas.

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  45. Do you happen to have the SmartPoints value for these?

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  47. People will often do what you request, bbut you have to come out and ask for it first.
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  48. What kind of food coloring do you use? So hard to find all natural these days…

  49. If did not find molasses, can I substitute for something else

  50. Mine was super sticky, too, even after the fridge for 8 hours. I didn't use "dark molasses" as the only stuff in my store was just labeled as "molasses". Could that be the problem?

    • The dough is sticky, I floured my hands well before forming it into a ball. I also floured the surface well. The key is adding more flour.

  51. My dough was unbelievably sticky. I couldn't roll out or do anything with it after leaving it in the fridge for 3 hours. I had to throw it away and show up with no cookies:( I retraced my steps and my husband confirmed we did everything it told us to do. What could have happened?

  52. I made these for my daughter's gingerbread house party. It was a nice dough and cut into gingerbread men nicely. My daughter ate three at the party. They were a hit! I love your recipes! Thank you.

    • I have now made this recipe twice and doubled it the second time. I made snowflakes for my daughters kindergarten class party. I used my own royal icing but otherwise stuck to the recipe, except for half while whole wheat flour. After refrigerating the dough, flour your work surface and dough a little bit and knead the dough a few times. It rolls out wonderfully. To be fair I haven't actually been able to try this recipe myself as there is never any leftovers!

  53. Making these right now. Sticky dough here, too! Noticed, though, that when I left it sitting for a few minutes, it began to harden. Was able to separate to put in the fridge. Will see tomorrow, I guess :).

    • Yes, they are sticky. Put lots of flour on your hands to make the balls and flour your surface well before rolling.

  54. I'm glad to see I am not the only one with sticky dough! Even after 5 hours of refrigeration my balls of dough were like glue and I felt terrible about the amount of floor I was having to add. I ended up just making drop cookies out of it. Not as cute and they needed to cook longer but they still tasted good!

  55. I loved this idea, but I had so much trouble making these! The dough was so sticky I couldn't separate as directed before refrigerating, and after 2 hrs it was like stiff glue. I also had to use an absurd amount of flour to keep it from sticking to the silicone mat and rolling pin, so my cookies all have a whitish cast and flour-y taste. 🙁 My own fault for using all that flour, but I have no idea why I had so much trouble and no one else has! I'm used to rolling out pie crust and figured it'd be similar, but not so.

  56. These are delicious! They are soft and flavorful. I prefer the soft molasses type cookie over the crispy ones.

  57. These are awesome! I made them (first timer with GB) and they are so delicious. I used grated ginger and they are so yummy and SOFT~ Thanks!

  58. How long would the dough keep in the fridge before baking? Thanks for another great recipe! 🙂

  59. Should these be refrigerated or stored at room temp?

  60. I made these tonight and they are so good! I had to double the icing recipe though as one batch wasn't enough to decorate all the cookies

  61. Gonna bake them and take them to the office the day before 🙂 cute recipe! <3 it 🙂

  62. Can yiu substitue.light brown sugar for the dark? What's the difference?

  63. I still have not received my bonuses for pre-ordering and purchasing early… 🙁

  64. Sugar Cookie Icing

    1 cup powdered sugar
    2 teaspoons milk
    2 teaspoons light corn syrup
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
    food coloring
    Directions:

    1
    Stir the powdered sugar and the milk until smooth.
    2
    Beat in corn syrup and vanilla until icing is smooth and glossy.
    3
    If it's too thick, add more corn syrup.
    4
    Divide icing into separate bowls and stir in food coloring as desired.
    5
    You can dip the cookies, paint them with a paint brush or spread them using a knife or the back of a spoon.

  65. You don't have to use egg whites to make royal icing.

  66. I've been wanting to make gingerbread cookies – I'll have to try this recipes. Also love how you cut them into little Christmas trees – so cute! 🙂

    xo, Brittney

    The Storm Life

  67. In Gina's defense….I believe she gave out "unpublished" recipes to those of us that pre-ordered her cookbook. I believe I still have her email with ALL the wonderful recipes. As much as I would love the 3-Week Meal Plan, I know I already received a gift from her and would not expect her to give me more. This is an incentive to buying her cookbook. Just my 2-cents.

  68. i purchased it today on Barnes and Nobel, will I get a copy of the 3 week plan or did I have to fill something out

  69. those gingerbread cookies are so cute!!

  70. Previous orders can't get the meal plan? Well that stinks for those of us that loved your website and wanted to support you by buying your cookbook when it first came out. :/

  71. Hi Gina, I bought the book in november by Amazon Canada, is there a way that I can get the plan?

  72. I would also like the meal plan – I bought the cookbook back in August!

  73. Can I use canola oil instead of applesauce?

  74. This recipe looks pretty similar to your old gingerbread recipe. I love the new shapes! I just made your old gingerbread recipe this past weekend and it's as good as ever. It's becoming an annual tradition for me! 🙂

    Style by Joules

  75. I love gingerbread and can't wait to make these! Thanks, Gina.

  76. Hi Gina! I am also one of you loyal follower and have aready purchased your cook look and put it to good use. I would love the meal plan too! Is there any way us folks who already purchased can get the plan?

  77. Would love an update once the link is working again! Thanks! Cookies look awesome.

  78. I made these yesterday and I probably rolled them out closer to 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. I rolled them onto a silpat and then just put cuts in them without separating the cookies, and then baked, recut to cool. They turned out OK, soft not crunchy, they puffed up a lot in the oven. I thought they were just fine though, I would probably not make this recipe again.

  79. Same problem with the link. Please post a new link for the cookbook and the meal plan!

  80. I also tried using the link and it doesn't work 🙁

  81. I tried clicking the link above where it says "Follow the instructions on this page to get started." But the link takes me to a page that says "This preorder form is no longer available."

  82. Gina, I love your cookbook and all the recipes you blog. When I heard you were publishing a cookbook, I couldn't wait to purchase it! I was one of the first to pre-order it. Would it be possible to get the 3 week menu plan, even though I've already bought the cookbook?

  83. Did you use dark or light brown sugar for this recipe? …. very excited to make these!:)

  84. Gina, I get an error when I click the link to order. 'This pre-order form is no longer available.' I would love to order and get the meal plan. Can you look into this and post a message when the link is fixed?

  85. Is there a way to access the meal plan if I pre-ordered the cookbook before the release date??

  86. Looks tasty and really adorable!

    http://arnellavanilla.com

  87. Thank you for all your delicious recipes! I went to buy your cook book for a Christmas present for a friend of mine at Target in Opelika, AL and I was really sad to see that all of the covers of the book were torn or damaged. I will try a different Target, but just thought you may want to know that.

  88. I just received my book from Amazon.com (will be trying your chicken pasta caprese recipe tonight)….would love the meal plan if possible.
    Thanks for the gingerbread cookies recipe 🙂

  89. HI gina
    how long do the cookies last for after you bake them if you want to keep them for a gift for someone ??

  90. They just look too good to be eaten! Oh..well..!

  91. Gina, these cookies look awesome…so delicious as well! Cute idea for design…thanks for sharing!

  92. These look delicious, I am excited to try the low-fat version. I love how they are decorated too!

  93. so pretty! I will have to try this, never made gingerbread from scratch before.

  94. Are these crispy or cake like? They are darling!

  95. If I halved the recipe, how do I half the egg?

  96. The title of this post contains some ambiguity.

  97. Did you use liquid egg whites or whites from actual eggs? How many eggs would it take to equal 1 1/2 tbsp of whites, 2 or 3 maybe? I don't want to have to buy a carton of liquid whites for one recipe if I don't have to…

  98. Simple, delicious, wonderful recipe!!! My best, Mary

  99. Any way to get the meal plan if we already bought the book?

  100. Gingerbread biscuits are one of my favourite now around christmas time, and even in the summer time, when I'm in Ikea, I still end up sneaking some with me home, or I'll make gingerbread flavoured pancakes and the likes at home, so delicious! These look fantastic though, and I love the decôr 😀 Compromising with the fat isn't usually a bad thing, best of both worlds 😀 x

  101. These are so cute and look like they're easy to make too! Definitely need to try these this month.

    http://www.simplyhsquared.com

  102. I don't have allspice. Can I leave it out? Should I increase the other spices? Thanks.

    • You could leave it out although it will change the flavor a bit.

    • A suitable substitute for allspice is equal parts cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. For this recipe, I just combined 1/4 tsp of each, mixed together and then measured out the 1/2 tsp called for in the recipe. 

  103. I love gingerbread cookies! Will these turn out well if I use white whole wheat flour?

    • It might, I would probably swap half the white for white whole wheat flour.

    • I used white whole wheat flour and they turned out great! I also used coconut oil instead of butter to make it dairy free due to allergies in our family.

      Love love love the cookies!!! Thanks so very much for another epic recipe, Gina!!!

  104. Does the icing harden?

  105. I've never seen raw egg whites in an icing recipe before, maybe I just don't bake enough. Would you explain the thinking behind using them instead of something else?

  106. What a cute idea! Love the sprinkles too 🙂

  107. These look so cute and festive! (and tasty!)

  108. I love gingerbread and can't wait to make these! Thanks, Gina.

  109. what is a silpat mat? can I just parchment paper?