These Cookie Trees Are Too Pretty to Eat (and Too Delicious Not To)

They say presentation is everything -- and while it's not enough to keep our hands out of the cookie jar, it sure does make for a extra-special sugar rush. These sweet stacks are perfect to make with kids or serve at an elegant fete.

Gingerbread-Cookie Trees

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup dark unsulfured molasses
2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
Cream Cheese Frosting
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Related: 27 Easy Party Food Ideas You Can Make in a Pinch

1. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg, then molasses, spices, baking soda, and salt. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour. Divide dough into quarters; shape into disks. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours (up to 2 days).

2. Preheat oven to 375. Transfer one disk of dough at a time to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes using a set of 11 fluted round cookie cutters in graduated sizes ( 3/4 inch to 3 1/2 inches). You will use each cutter once for every tree. Using a 1 1/4-inch star cutter, cut out 10 stars. Arrange cookies by size on parchment-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes.

Related: These Pretty (and Delicious!) Holiday Cookie Recipes Are Perfect for Gifting

3. Bake until firm, about 6 minutes for small cookies and 10 minutes for large. Let cool 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks, and let cool completely.

4. Assemble trees: Put frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip (such as Ateco #12). Pipe a dime-size dot of frosting in center of second-largest cookie; sandwich with largest cookie. Repeat in descending pairs with larger cookies on top to make 5 sandwiches. Pipe a scalloped 1/4-inch-thick border of frosting on top of larger cookie of largest sandwich. Top with the second-largest sandwich, larger cookie up, and repeat to make a tree of 5 sandwiches. Top with frosting, then smallest cookie, then more frosting and a star (standing upright). Cookie trees can be refrigerated up to 6 hours (they will soften). Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.

More from Martha Stewart:

Quick, One-Pot Meal Ideas To Feed the Whole Family
20 Classic Comfort Food Recipes from Martha Stewart
36 Dinners You Can Make in Just 15 Minutes!
42 Slow-Cooker Recipes Worth the Wait

Keep your piping bags at the ready -- we're just getting started.