Carla Hall’s Holiday Wreaths and Candy Canes are so cute (and delicious!)
HOLIDAY WREATHS AND CANDY CANES
3/4 pound unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus additional for dusting)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound confectioners’ sugar (plus additional to thicken icing)
3 tablespoons meringue powder
3/4 cup water
1-2 teaspoons green food coloring
1-2 teaspoons red food coloring
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a wire baking rack inside of another baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, lemon zest, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until just combined. (Do not whip). Add the vanilla. Gradually add in the flour mixture on low just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten to a disk. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll the dough ¼-inch thick and cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters–wreaths and candy canes. Dredge your cookie cutter in flour to help with easily cutting the dough into shapes. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes.
Bake the cookies for 20 – 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown or the cookies are crisp. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes on the pan, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely. Allow to cool to room temperature. Decorate with royal icing, sanding sugar and sprinkles.
For the Royal Icing: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and meringue powder until combined. Add the water and beat at a medium speed until very glossy and stiff peaks form. Check for the consistency of the icing; dip a spoon into the icing, the icing should fall off the spoon, forming ribbons, and settle into a flat surface again after 15 seconds. If the icing is too thick add more water, too thin add more confectioners’ sugar. Once you have found the correct consistency divide the icing into three bowls.
Dye one bowl red, one bowl green and leave the last white. Remove to piping bags with a small round tip.
For the Pipe and Flood Method: Pipe an outline around the edge of the cookie, green for wreaths and white for candy canes. Allow to set for a few seconds. Then fill the center of the outline, allowing it to spread until smooth and flat, green for wreaths and white for candy canes. Use a toothpick to help fill in the gaps if necessary. Allow to set for a couple of minutes.
Use the red icing and white icing to pipe as decoration. If using sprinkles or decorations, place sprinkles on once the icing has begun to set but before it has completely dried. Repeat with remaining cookies.
Tip: Always check the consistency of your royal icing and test on a scrap cookie or piece of paper. If icing is too thick add more water, if the icing is too thin add more confectioners’ sugar.