This recipe is inspired by the great American holiday tradition of the cookie swap.
Recipe courtesy of Steve Konopelski
Cookie Swap Wreath
Total:
5 hr
Active:
3 hr 15 min
Yield:
1 cookie wreath
Level:
Advanced
Total:
5 hr
Active:
3 hr 15 min
Yield:
1 cookie wreath
Level:
Advanced

Ingredients

Spiced Sugar Cookie:
Langues De Chats:
Coconut Lime Russian Tea Cakes:
Hippen Tuile:
Royal Icing:

Directions

Special equipment: a kitchen torch, optional; a stand mixer; piping bags fitted with a number 3 or 4 tip (large round) and a number 0 round tip; a 1-ounce cookie scoop; a Silpat or silicone baking mat

For the spiced sugar cookie: Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Paddle the butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at medium speed until soft and the consistency of mayonnaise, about 3 minutes. Use a kitchen torch to gently warm the bowl if necessary.

Add the granulated sugar and salt and continue to paddle at medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and paddle at medium speed until well incorporated, about 3 minutes (see Cook's Note).

Reduce the speed of the mixer to the lowest setting, add the flour, baking powder, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and allspice and mix until well combined.

Scoop the cookie dough into a rough ball on a piece of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top and roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Keep the dough between the 2 sheets of parchment, place on a baking sheet and chill until firm, about 10 minutes in the freezer.

Peel off the top piece of parchment and then place it back on top. Flip the dough over and peel the bottom parchment off. Cut the dough to the desired shape: For this wreath, cut an 8-inch circle and then a 5-inch circle in the interior to make a ring. Reserve, re-roll and bake off scraps for another use.

Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake the cookie ring until set, 7 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

For the langues de chats: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Paddle the butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at medium speed until soft and the consistency of mayonnaise, about 3 minutes. Use a kitchen torch to gently warm the bowl if necessary.

Add the granulated sugar and salt and continue to paddle at medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the egg whites and vanilla bean paste and paddle at medium speed until incorporated completely.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to the lowest setting, add the cake flour and orange zest and mix until well combined. Your batter should resemble a thick cake batter.

Fill a piping bag fitted with a number 3 or 4 tip (large round) with the cookie batter. Pipe cookies onto 3 parchment paper-lined baking sheets. The cookies should be 1 inch long and spaced about 1 inch apart; you should be able to fit 3 rows of 9 to 10 cookies on each baking sheet (see Cook's Note).

Bake 2 baking sheets at a time, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the cookies have just started to brown on the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool. Cookies will crisp as they cool. Repeat with the remaining baking sheet of cookies. (Makes 60 to 70 cookies)

For the coconut lime Russian tea cakes: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Paddle the butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at medium speed until soft and the consistency of mayonnaise, about 3 minutes. Use a kitchen torch to gently warm the bowl if necessary.

Add the granulated sugar and salt and continue to paddle at medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and lime juice and paddle at medium speed until well incorporated.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to the lowest setting and add the lime zest, flour and coconut and mix until well combined, scraping as often as necessary

Using a 1-ounce cookie scoop, scoop the dough about 1 1/2 inches apart onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until set, about 15 minutes. You should be able to pick up a cookie off the baking sheet. The cookies will be very lightly browned on the edges, and should feel soft, yet solid. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, and then dredge the warm cookies one by one in confectioners' sugar, ensuring complete coverage. Place back on the baking sheet to cool. (Makes 24 to 30 cookies)

For the hippen tuile: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Paddle the butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and paddle at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Slowly add the egg whites and continue to paddle at medium speed until completely combined.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to the lowest setting, add the flour and lemon zest and mix until combined. Your batter should resemble cake batter.

Scoop the tuile batter into a pastry bag fitted with number 0 tip. Chill the batter until firm, about 20 minutes.

Pipe the chilled batter into desired shapes (holly leaves for the wreath) on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or silicone baking mat. The batter will be stiff; loosen it slightly by kneading the pasty bag with your hands. Chill the piped tuile cookies until the batter is firm, about 10 minutes. This is a very important step so that the cookies maintain their shapes.

Bake the tuiles until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let cool completely before taking the cookies off the baking sheet. The tuiles will crisp as they cool.

For the royal icing: Whisk together the confectioners' sugar and meringue powder in the bowl of a stand mixer until combined. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, slowly add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and beat on low speed until the frosting is glossy and smooth.

Fill a pastry bag with about 1/2 cup of the royal icing and cut off the tip to pipe fine lines. Reserve the remaining royal icing in the bowl.

To assemble: Lay the spiced sugar cookie wreath on a flat surface. Dip one end of a langues des chats in the royal icing and lay it lengthwise on the wreath; repeat twice more so there are 3 across. Continue attaching the cookies, overlapping the ends to shingle all the way around the wreath; the royal icing should only touch the part of the cookies attached to the wreath base and should not be visible.

Pipe along the edges and down the center of the hippen tuile holly leaves to accent them. Allow to dry.

Attach the leaves and the Russian tea cookies to the wreath with the royal icing to make decorative holly and berry arrangements. Once complete, dust all over with confectioners' sugar to look like snow.

Cook's Note

Paddling at a higher speed will incorporate too much air and will cause your cookies to spread. There is a specific technique to piping langues de chats. Hold your pastry bag at a 45 degree angle from the surface. Squeeze the bag and draw down 1 inch to form a cookie. Stop squeezing and make a quick and sharp upward movement with the bag to "cut" off the batter. There should be a tiny tail of batter towards the top of the cookie.

Propane gas torches are highly flammable and should be kept away from heat, open flame and prolonged exposure to sunlight. They should be used only in well-ventilated areas. Follow torch manufacturer's instructions for use.

This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.

IDEAS YOU'LL LOVE

Cinnamon Cookies

Recipe courtesy of Trisha Yearwood

Venita's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe courtesy of Trisha Yearwood

Rolled Sugar Cookies

Recipe courtesy of Melody Larsen

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe courtesy of Trisha Yearwood

Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten

Sugar Cookies

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

Peanut Butter-Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Chocolate-Hazelnut Drop Cookies

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Craveworthy Eats 3 Videos

Crave-Worthy Egg Sandwich 03:24

Claire puts her own spin on a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich.

Browse Reviews By Keyword

          Get Cooking