Everyone enjoys a good Pinterest fail: adorably-shaped animal cakes that look rabid, DIY furniture that would be better off in flames, broken mason jars everywhere.
I like to think I am immune to these online craft hazards, not because I am a whiz with a glue gun or a spatula, but because I know my domestic limits. But for the sake of holiday cheer, I resurrected my Pinterest account and attempted to make one of the more popular holiday cookie recipes posted on Pinterest boards.
As a worshipper of the slow cooker and strong believer that with enough salt and/or butter anything can taste “decent,” the science of baking is not my strong suit. So I chose to attempt No Bake Christmas Trees. In our own holiday cookie roundup, PEOPLE called them “surprisingly easy,” and there was no oven involved – what could go wrong? Well, let’s find out. Follow along with the recipe from Recipe Rebel at the bottom.
(Remember: They are supposed to turn out like the photo above)
The first of eight ingredients is a 1⁄2 cup of butter. So we’re off to a good start! Look at the golden, melty goodness.
Mmm, do you think any one would notice if we just stopped here? I can’t imagine anyone objecting to a saucer of freshly melted butter.
Fine! Moving on! I added in some powered sugar and milk, and we’re still looking good. No small fires. No screaming children.
It looks like gruel, but it tastes like sweet, artery-clogging liquid gold. I am thinking of buying a chef’s hat, or at least an apron. This isn’t so bad.
Next up, adding three cups of coconut. This, I imagine, will give my confectionery trees that texture that brings them to life and inspires jealously in all my friends.
Green food coloring and vanilla extract go in along with the coconut. Since I am not shy about my Christmas spirit, and want to blind people with my new-found baking prowess, I added about three times the recommended amount of food coloring.
Now it’s time to form the tasty gloop into little trees – a sticky, messy awkward task that made me question my knowledge of shapes. Every time I tried to make a triangle, I made five saggy circles first. I recommend washing your hands between every tree to prevent accidentally giving yourself a set of green coconut gloves.
“No one would eat these if they saw what you were doing to them,” said my friend Claire. Thanks, Claire.
A photo of the exact moment I started to regret adding so much food coloring.
After shamelessly manhandling my concoction for several minutes, a forest starts to appear.
Vaguely tree-shaped treats! It’s happening!
Because even sugar evergreens crave the snow, and I need these cookies to hold their shape, the forest goes into the freezer.
After 45 minutes in the cold, I took out the tree cookies and whipped up the white chocolate snow (more butter included!) needed to take these treats from simple cookies to Pinterest-worthy holiday creations.
Once the trees were dipped, I attempted to carefully cover them in Mini M&Ms, but honestly ended up rolling them across a plate covered in Mini M&Ms instead. Life hack!
Behold! The final product! Certainly not a carbon copy of the above photo, but also not an outright fail. I am calling it a pass. I am proud! I put them back in the freezer, excited to take these trees into work and show them off to everyone.
But wait, there’s more! In my excited haste the next morning, I put the trees in a plastic bag instead of a container, expecting them to hold their shape. WRONG! Never trust baked goods, they are always looking for a way to hurt you.
By the time I get to work, my tree cookies had warmed up and changed shape, transforming from spirited evergreens to lumpy Grinch poops.
While they still tasted like all things butter and sugar, I could’t sell anyone on this bag of sadness. I have become a Pinterest fail.
Your Turn! Here’s the recipe from The Recipe Rebel
•½ cup butter or margarine
• 2 cups powdered icing sugar
• 2 tbsp. milk
• 3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
• ½ tsp. vanilla or mint extract
• green food coloring
• ¾ cup white chocolate chips
• 1 tsp. butter or margarine
• 1 tbsp milk
• mini M&Ms
In a large pot, melt butter. Remove from heat.
Stir in icing sugar and milk. Stir in coconut, vanilla/mint and enough food coloring to make the mixture green.
Shape into small balls, and using the tips of your fingers, gently squeeze one side of the ball until it takes on a cone shape. It might take a few tries to get them how you like them, but if the mixture gets too cool to work with you can always heat on low for a minute or two.
If you see any later you want to reshape, they are easily reshaped at room temperature.
Put uncovered on a baking sheet to set either in the fridge for 2-3 hours or the freezer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
In a small pot, melt chocolate, 1 tsp. butter and 1 tbsp. milk over low heat, stirring until smooth. Dip the tops of the cookies in the white chocolate to look like snow. Add mini M&M’s if desired.
Set in the fridge or freezer to set before storing in an air-tight container.