Thursday, December 15, 2011

Orange & Cherry Wreath Cookies

When I was planning for the X'mas Cookies boxes in November, I wanted the X'mas wreath to be my theme. And I was really hoping to make mini wreath cookies complete with all the ivy, holly and bow and thought how pretty they will be. But of course doing is always harder than thinking or saying and after a very busy November and December so far, I ditched the idea and opted for a more simple design.

I kept the color green and used a plastic mold for shaping polymer clay borders that I got from my local craft store to trace the leaf pattern onto the cookie dough itself and colored some with green coloring. I love dragee balls and I was lucky to grab 2 packets while I was on vacation in Malaysia as they are not commonly sold in the stores here and needs to be ordered from online cake stores. As I have already used red non pareils on the X'mas candies, using them on these cookies will clash with the colors. Afterall, the red cherries baked into the cookie itself has already added subtle red to the baked cookies and by popping one silver or blue or pink dragee into each of the green leaf part makes each cookie so special.

The combination of orange and cherry is a very sweet and fruity flavor, reminding me of the summer ice cream that I always have at my local ice cream stand. Powdered sugar is magical and while most expert and crafty X'mas cookies makers prefer to use it in making up the icing on the cookies, I love to use it this way with a mini sieve. The effect is equally lovely.

Recipe (makes about 36 to 40 cookies)
85g butter, softened
225g sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp Orange Extract or 1 tbsp grated orange peel
100g red cherries for baking, cut into smaller pieces
450g all Purpose flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 tsp Baking Soda

1. Cream the butter and sugar till light. Beat in the eggs and orange extract/peel till well combined.
2. Sift flour together with the baking powder and baking soda. Fold this into the butter mixture and drop in the cherry pieces. Mix in to form a dough.
3. Shape into a disk and wrap up and let it rest in the fridge for 30 mins.
4. If making leaf shape, take 1/4 of the dough and color it green with coloring. Knead to blend the color. Cut out with a leaf cutter or any shapes of your choice.
 5. Roll out the remaining plain dough to less than 1/4 inch thick and cut with a 2 inch round cookie cutter. Use a smaller round to cut out the middle to resemble a donut. Complete this process and place all cut outs onto a non stick baking pan.
6. Attach the leaf to the cookie with a bit of water. Return to the fridge to rest for 20 mins while preheating the oven to 350F.
7. When the oven is ready, bake  for 10 to 15 mins till cookies have puffed up. When removed from the pan, the cookies feel soft but will harden up after cooling. Let them cool completely on the racks before storing.

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