I took a page from my aunt Cathryn's holiday survival manuscript and put aside a day to bake. It's a tradition for her to buckle down in the kitchen a day each December to bake all her holiday cookies. This is a woman who once made 36 Thanksgiving pies in a day so you really don't mess with her when it comes baking. She uses the cookies she yields from that one day for all her holiday gatherings as well as hostess gifts. It's a brilliant idea really. So I borrowed it. We decided it would be more fun to do it with our best friends the Coutts. Duncan and Susanne are not only our dearest friends but the feel like family. We spend most weekends with them and rarely miss seeing them during most holidays. Scarlett refers to their children, Sophie, Chloe and Simon, as her cousins. (No offence to her real cousins!) So we really couldn't imagine a day of baking (and eating) cookies without them. You'll also be reaping the rewards of our baking blowout all week as we'll be bringing you the three great cookie recipes we created that day. Unfortunately, our photographer Maya is likely still cleaning her studio of the flour from that day as well.
Photos by Maya Visnyei
You already saw the Cardamom Crescents yesterday so meet today's treat–the Glazed Donut or Wreath Cookie. They were originally called Minty Mini-Doughnuts due to the candy cane bit sprinkled on the frosting of the original recipe found on Epicurious. However, we made these so early in the season we couldn't even find candy canes yet? (How is that really possible since Christmas stuff is in stores in October?!) Instead we used the lemony glaze and gave them some fancy silver balls.
The kids liked to still refer to them at donuts. However, when we set out that day to make cookies I had wreaths in mind. You be the judge of what they look like but I'll tell you one thing. All that really matters their taste and they were yummy. "So good and not too sweet!" was how Maya described them. I hope that was enough satisfaction for her to justify the mess.
3/4 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unslated butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350.
Spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray.
Cut dough into four equal pieces; cut each into 16 equal pieces.
Roll each section between fingers to form a long log just like Sophie.
Don't do this.
Pinch together the ends to form a ring and place the doughnut wreaths 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet.
Bake 1 batch at a time until dough puffs and slightly browns, about 5 or 6 minutes.
Remove from oven and let them set a minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow cookies to cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare your icing. We got this one from Martha Stewart. You'll be seeing the lovely Christmas trees we made also using this light glaze later in the week.
2–2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (depending how runny you want it)
1 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
Dip or brush cooled cookies with glaze and sprinkle with desired ornamentation. Now eat and gift and eat and gift and eat and gift.