Edible Christmas decorations are a delicious and eye catching as table decoration and today we will show you how to make a gingerbread cookie Christmas wreath. Baking and decorating gingerbread cookies are among the most popular holiday activities and if you want to surprise your family and friends with interesting and tasty sweet gifts, the ideas in the gallery below will certainly be of help.
One of the best things about Christmas is the pleasant aroma of home baked cookies. This is the ideal festive activity for the whole family. We will give you an easy to follow step-by-step guide how to make a gingerbread Christmas cookie wreath. You can make a big one and use it as a decoration or several small wreaths, which will be the perfect gift for friends and relatives. We shall give you a gingerbread cookie recipe but you can use your favorite one instead. You will also need royal icing for decorating the cookies and fixing them to the wreath.
Ingredients for gingerbread cookie dough:
- ⅓ cup of brown sugar
- 100 g (3 ½ oz)molasses
- 100 g (3 ½ oz) of maple syrup
- 115 g (1 stick ) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 medium egg
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting and rolling
Ingredients for the royal icing:
- ⅓ cup of egg whites
- 2 cups of icing sugar
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- a little water to dilute the icing if necessary
- food coloring (optional)
Preheat the oven to 170C (340F) and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
Put the sugar, molasses, maple syrup, butter, all the spices and salt in a large bowl. Heat in the microwave in small increments of 30 seconds until the butter begins to melt. Afterwards, stir until the butter is completely melted and you have a smooth and thick liquid.
Whisk in the baking soda and egg.
Gradually add in the flour, mixing with a wooden spoon.
Use your hands to mix the last of the flour into the dough, adding as much as required to create a pliable, non sticky, dough.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured worktop and gather to form a ball.
Divide the dough in two and keep any unused dough covered so that it does not dry out.
Sprinkle a little flour on your work surface and roll the dough out with a rolling pin into a disc about 0.5 cm (¼ inch) thick.
Use a plate or cake tin to draw a 20cm (8in). Use another smaller plate and a knife to cut out the center. To prevent your knife from sticking to your dough, you can coat it with flour. This ring will form the base of your cookie wreath. Return the leftover dough to your second ball.
Roll out the second ball of dough in the same way and cut out cookies of various sizes using your cookie cutters. Carefully lift the cookies and arrange them on your prepared baking sheet, slightly spaced. Re-roll any leftover dough to cut out more shapes.
Bake the ring and cookies for 12 minutes at 170° C (340 F) until they begin to brown a bit around the edges, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
How to prepare royal icing?
Put the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl and beat on low speed until you get soft peaks. Increase the speed and start adding the icing sugar a little at a time until the icing forms stiff peaks. Once ready, separate it into two parts.
The icing must be very thick to be able to assemble the wreath and the small elements. But for decorating it should be thinner. Add a few drops of water to the second part, if needed, until it slowly falls from a spoon.
Transfer some of the icing to a pastry bag and pierce a very small hole in the tip. Decorate the cookies according to your preferences. Let dry completely at room temperature before use.
Assemble the gingerbread cookie Christmas wreath
Arrange all the cookies around the base in a nice configuration and have your pastry bag handy. Use the icing to stick the cookies to the wreath. Pour a small amount of the icing on the back of each cookie and arrange on the gingerbread ring. It is advisable to fix your larger snowflakes first and then, to fill in the empty spaces with the smaller ones.
Once you are happy with the arrangement, allow your wreath to dry for at least an hour. If you’ve made a mistake, know that you can move the cookies while the icing is still wet. Once it dries, it will be very hard.
Finally, add a colorful ribbon to hang your gingerbread cookie Christmas wreath or use it as a centerpiece.
You can substitute maple syrup with the golden syrup with light corn syrup or agave nectar.
You do not need to chill cookie dough. It can be used straight away. However, chilling the dough will make cutting out the cookies easier.
You can refrigerate gingerbread dough for up to three days wrapped in plastic wrap.
Gingerbread cookies can be stored in an airtight container separated with parchment paper for 2-3 weeks. Make sure all decorations/ icing have dried completely!