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Sweet Easter Tree

 Sweet Easter Tree
ALTHOUGH this full-flavored tree buds bright in time for Easter, its roots reach back to another holiday—Christmas! Here’s how those two happy occasions came together in one fun project: In a recent letter, Sue shared several of her family’s holiday traditions, including how she and her children annually make a favorite cookie for Christmas decorating and eating. Once we’d read over her temptin
84-96 ServingsPrep: 1 hour Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling

Ingredients

  • Materials needed:
  • 15 yards of 18-gauge wire
  • Wire or side cutters
  • Flat wooden ovals—one 4-3/4- x 6-1/2-inch and one 7- x 9-inch
  • Tacky (white) glue
  • Drill and 1/2-inch bit
  • Newspapers
  • Epoxy enamel spray paint
  • 11- x 16-inch oval or similar-size platter
  • 1/2-inch ribbon—twenty-seven 10-inch pieces in a variety of colors
  • Easter grass
  • DECORATED EASTER COOKIES::
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • GLAZE::

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Sweet Easter Tree (continued)

Ingredients (continued)

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • Food coloring
  • Decorator's gel

Directions

  • Directions: Cut twenty-seven 20-in. pieces of 18-gauge wire. At one
  • end, bring all wires together so all ends are even. Use masking tape
  • to tape wires together at this end.
  • Divide wires into three groups of nine wires each and braid together
  • until 7-1/2 in. from taped end.
  • Divide again into four groups of six wires each and one group of
  • three wires each and braid for 2 inches.
  • Divide into groups of three wires each and braid for 1-1/2 to 2 in..
  • Fold ends back.
  • For base, holding the smaller wooden oval centered on top of the
  • larger wooden oval, use a 1/2-in. bit to drill a hole through the
  • center of the smaller oval and a 1/4 in. deep hole into the larger
  • oval. Use tacky (white) glue to glue plaques together with hole
  • centered. Remove tape from tree and tacky-glue into drilled hole in
  • base.
  • In a well-ventilated area, place the tree on a surface protected with
  • newspapers. Paint entire tree and wooden base, applying two
  • or more coats of epoxy enamel spray paint, following manufacturer’s
  • instructions. Let dry.
  • String ribbon through holes in cookies, tying bows 2 to 3 in. above
  • each cookie. Hang cookies on branches, bending wires to
  • hold cookies as desired. Place tree on platter and cover base with
  • Easter grass. Place additional cookies around
  • the base of the tree.
  • COOKIES: In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, water and
  • vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to
  • creamed mixture. Cover and chill for several hours. Roll out on a
  • lightly floured surface to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with an egg-shaped
  • cookie cutter (or cutters with other Easter themes such as
  • chicks and rabbits). Make a hole with a straw or toothpick in the top
  • of at least 27 cookies. Place on greased baking sheets. Bake at
  • 350° for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove to

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Sweet Easter Tree (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • wire racks; cool completely.
  • For glaze, combine sugar, water and corn syrup until smooth.
  • Depending on how many colors are desired, divide glaze into several
  • small bowls and tint with food coloring. Using a small brush and
  • stirring glaze often, brush glaze on cookies (or leave some plain if
  • desired). Allow glazed cookies to harden for at least 1 hour. Add
  • designs with tinted glaze or decorator’s gel, referring to photo for
  • ideas. Allow to dry. Yield: Yield: 7-8 dozen 2-1/2-inch cookies.
Crafterthought The cookie tree handily serves as a centerpiece for an Easter meal—and a dessert as well when dinner is done. For edible place markers, tie small stacks of the decorated egg cookies with ribbons and position near each plate. Of course, you’ll want to save the recipe for the cookie—and use it at the end of the year for Christ mas baking, just like Sue does! Finished size: Tree is 16 inches wide x 18-1/2 inches high.