Weigh or measure your sugar and set it aside. Then, weigh or measure the flour, baking powder, salt, and run a whisk through to blend.
In a stand or hand-held mixer, cream (baking term) the butter and the sugar together till light and fluffy looking. About 2-3 minutes. Next, add the vanilla extract and the egg. Now add 2 drops of coloring gel and mix till incorporated. Finally, add your dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Place the dough on a pastry sheet and divide it in half. Flatten each half and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Now, please take one of the chilled cookie disks out and place it onto a lightly floured pastry mat. I made my cookies about ⅛" thick. There are bands on the ends of my rolling pin so that you can roll out the dough evenly. If you roll out your dough thicker, you may need to add a minute or two to the time. Next, cut out 12 trees and place them on a parchment-lined sheet pan. They are ready for the oven.
Bake at 350° for 7-9 minutes. After baking leave the cookies on the pan for a minute before moving them to a cooling rack.
Decorating Your Cookies
Whether you are using wafer coating chocolate (sets fast), chocolate blocks, or even chocolate chips, they all need to be melted for the chocolate can go into the piping bag. I divided the wafers into two batches since this chocolate set fast. Add chocolate to a microwave-safe bowl and turn the microwave on for 30 seconds. Stir, then heat for another 10 seconds, stir again. If it needs it, do another 5 to 10 seconds. Don't overheat the chocolate; it will get hard, dull-looking, and lumpy.
Add the melted chocolate to a piping bag with a #3 tip and swing the chocolate from point to point so that it looks like a Christmas light string, and add the mini M&Ms along the chocolate lines, so it looks like light. I added the chocolate to 2 or 3 cookies, then stopped and put on the M&Ms. The kids will love adding the M&Ms while you do the chocolate. Enjoy!