I did it! It's still Friday, right? I wrangled with this recipe all day long, and I finally won. Day five of Holiday Donut Pan Idea Week is complete. Here we go! Sweet jebus.
These cookies are made of my FAVORITE cookie dough of all time, found in the best resource ever for Christmas cookie recipes, Oxmoor House's Christmas Cookies!
Wherein there is, on page 56, the best mouth-feely, most delicious cookie recipe. It is for ribbon cookies. Cookies that are frozen in ribbons of colors and textures in a loaf pan, then sliced and baked. I do four loaf pans full of them every, every year.
Except this year. This year I made Christmas wreath cookies! I adapted the above-mentioned delicious recipe, molded the dough in my beloved donut pans, un-molded the dough from my beloved donut pans and then proceeded to bake my wreaths. There may have been a little slicing involved, too.
I doubled the recipe and ended up with four donut pans full of tasty green dough and even more to save for another time. The doubled recipe yields far more than two dozen wreaths though, if you get to slicing and dicing, like I did.
Feel free to half this recipe, you will still get quite a few cookies. But because you can store them in the freezer and bake some now and some later, why not make it all? You will need 2 c. butter, 3 c. sugar, 2 eggs, 2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 tbsp. green food coloring, 5 c. flour, 1 tbsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, 1 c. chopped green candied cherries and two bottles of cinnamon candies. You will also need cooking spray, a chopstick and a 2" diameter circular cookie cutter (the sharper the better).
These take some time, by the way. At least six hours to freeze the dough, and then a little trick to get them out of the pans before you can actually bake them. Just thought you should know that going in.
The dough is really simple to make. Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs (beaten) and stir well. Stir in the vanilla and green food coloring. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture a little at a time (the doubled recipe is a big load for your mixer). Mix well, then mix in the chopped green cherries.
Spray your donut pan cavities with cooking spray, then shape 3 oz. portions of dough into balls. Press a hole through the center of the balls and stretch to fit continuously in the pans, much like I did while making my salt dough ornaments the other day. Press the dough firmly into the pans. The cooking spray makes it a little slippery, but you can do it. It is fine if things get oily, it actually keeps your fingers from getting too gummed up with dough.
When the pans are all filled, set in the freezer for six hours minimum. You want them to be as frozen as buttery dough can get before the next step.
So here's what took me all day to figure out. I thought I'd be able to just slam these babies on the counter to dislodge them, but I was totally wrong. I tried many, many different things, and almost gave up hope until I got the oven involved.
To remove the dough intact from the pans, heat your oven to 350º. Place one pan at a time into the oven for 45 seconds ONLY. Remove from oven. Press a chopstick into the donut and start a slow but strong twisting motion. As the dough loosens, you can spin it quicker and eventually it will come off the rails and onto your chopstick completely. The dough will still be primarily frozen, which is why the chopstick stays lodged in it while it spins. You will have some holes on that side, but you can cover them with candies later. Put as many wreaths as you can on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and stick back in the freezer for at least fifteen minutes. Repeat with the other donut pans.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, there are a few fun things you can do. You can cut two wreaths from one, with a sharp 2" diameter cookie cutter. Flip them curved side down to bake, so they will hold candy better.
You can slice them up and shape the pieces into pinwheels.
You can keep them whole, curved side up, and fill the centers with cinnamon candy.
You can keep them whole, curved side down, and decorate them with cinnamon candy.
You can put cinnamon candy on everything!
Bake at 400º for about 10 minutes, maybe more if they are very thick. Keep a watch on them. The backs will start to brown a bit but don't worry, they don't get too dark too fast. The important part is to get the cookies out of the oven before the fronts brown. The cookies will still be quite soft on top, but that is what gives them their great soft, slightly chewy texture when they've cooled.
Cool on racks and then eat 'em up! I only baked about fourteen donuts worth of cookies, so I'm keeping the rest in the freezer to bake when I need a quick gift for someone over the next few weeks. They are DELICIOUS!