Lemon Shortbread Trees

Total Time

Prep: 45 min. Bake: 10 min./batch + standing


3-1/2 dozen

Updated: Sep. 30, 2022
Here's a fun holiday recipe children can help with. And no cookie cutters are needed! I just shape the dough into a triangular log, refrigerate it and cut it into tree-shaped slices to bake and decorate. Broken pretzel sticks form the tree trunks. —Phyllis Schmalz, Kansas City, Kansas
Lemon Shortbread Trees Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 22 pretzel sticks
  • 2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 10 teaspoons water
  • 4 teaspoons meringue powder
  • Red and green paste food coloring
  • Assorted sprinkles


  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter, confectioners' sugar and cornstarch until light and fluffy. Beat in lemon zest and juice. Gradually add flour and mix well.
  2. Divide dough into two portions; shape each into two 6-in. logs. Flatten top and push in sides at an angle to form a 2x2x1-1/2-in.-triangle. Wrap and chill until firm, for 4 hours.
  3. Unwrap and cut into 1/4-in. slices. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Break pretzel sticks in half; press into short side of each cookie for tree trunk. Bake at 350° 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, water and meringue powder; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Remove 1 cup and tint red. Tint remaining icing green. (Keep unused icing covered at all times with a damp cloth.)
  5. Frost and decorate cookies as desired. Let dry at room temperature for several hours or until firm. Store in an airtight container.

Nutrition Facts

1 cookie: 97 calories, 4g fat (3g saturated fat), 11mg cholesterol, 37mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.