Cookie Swap Wreath

This recipe is inspired by the great American holiday tradition of the cookie swap.

Total Time:
5 hr
Prep:
3 hr 30 min
Inactive:
45 min
Cook:
45 min

Yield:
1 cookie wreath
Level:
Advanced

Ingredients
  • Spiced Sugar Cookie:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • A healthy pinch of ground allspice
  • Langues De Chats:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • Orange zest (from 1 medium size orange)
  • Coconut Lime Russian Tea Cakes:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 7 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dredging
  • Hippen Tuile:
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Royal Icing:
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • About 6 tablespoons room-temperature water
Directions
Spiced Sugar Cookie:
  • 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. Please note: paddling at a higher speed will incorporate too much air and will cause your cookies to spread.

  • 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.

Langues De Chats:
  • 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.

  • Note: 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.

  • 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)

Coconut Lime Russian Tea Cakes:
  • 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)

Hippen Tuile:
  • 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.

Royal Icing:
  • 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.

Propane Gas Torch Safety: Propane gas torches are highly flammable and should be kept away from heat, open flame, and prolonged exposure to sunlight. They should only be used in well-ventilated areas. When lighting a propane gas torch, place the torch on a flat, steady surface, facing away from you. Light the match or lighter and then open the gas valve. Light the gas jet, and blow out the match. Always turn off the burner valve to "finger tight" when finished using the torch. Children should never use a propane gas torch without adult supervision.

Contestant/Competition Recipe: This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. The Food Network Kitchen have not tested it for home use and therefore cannot make any representation as to the results.


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    This recipe is featured in:

    Holiday Baking Championship