Stacking these cookies in the shape of a Christmas tree creates a novel and delightful dessert that is less filling than traditional Christmas desserts. Let each guest break off one or more stars for themselves.
3 cups (340 g) plain flour
1 3?4 cups (225 g) icing sugar
1?2 cup (125 g) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon water
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons water
Sift together the flour and 1 cup (125 g) icing sugar into a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the water and egg, then mix to form a stiff dough. Wrap it in plastic food wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease two or three large baking trays. Remove the dough from the fridge and knead lightly until soft enough to roll out.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough 5 mm thick. Using six star-shaped cookie cutters in graduated sizes, the smallest cutter should be about 3 3/4 cm and the biggest about 10 cm. You’ll need sizes in between these measurements, too. Cut out two shapes of each size. Lift the shapes onto the prepared baking trays and bake for 10–12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack until cold.
Make icing by sifting the remaining icing sugar into a bowl. Gradually add 2 tablespoons of water. The icing should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon thickly.
To ice the cookies, first pipe icing around the edge of each one using a pastry bag with a fine nozzle. Allow the icing to set, then fill the center with icing that has been thinned with a few drops of water.
When the icing has almost set, assemble the cookies into a tower in order of size, pressing down slightly so the icing holds them together.
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