Christmas Biscuit Wreath

A showstopping recipe for an absolutely beautiful Christmas Biscuit Wreath, from acclaimed London bakery, Biscuiteers.

From the book

Biscuiteers Book of Iced Gifts by
Biscuiteers Book of Iced Gifts
Decorative biscuits for every occasion
Inventive ideas for biscuits and cakes
Fun family projects and gifts to bake at home

Introduction

Inspired by the beautiful wreaths that decorate front doors at Christmas time, our biscuit version is sturdy enough to be hung. We’ve brushed metallic silver paint onto crisp snowflakes, but green holly and red berries would be just as festive. Lay flat in a gift box and tie with a red ribbon to gift to your favourite neighbour.

Makes 1 wreath

Ingredients

For the royal icing:
150ml cold water
900g royal icing mix
grey food colouring
For the snowflake biscuits:
170g caster sugar
170g salted butter
170g golden syrup
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
480g plain flour
130g self-raising flour
For the wreath:
170g caster sugar
170g salted butter
170g golden syrup
1 large egg
520g plain flour
80g self-raising flour
1½ tsp mixed spice
To decorate:
granulated sugar
edible silver metallic paint

Essential kit

You will need: an electric mixer, an electric whisk, snowflake-shaped biscuit cutters (a variety of sizes), a piping bag cut at an angle, a ring-shaped paper template, a squeezy icing bottle, and a thick ribbon for decoration.

Instructions

For the royal icing:

Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl, adding the liquids first – add 100ml water to the bowl to start with. Add the dry ingredients and whisk for 5 minutes with an electric whisk, or for longer with a wooden spoon. Whisk slowly initially, to avoid clouds of icing sugar!

Continue whisking, gradually adding more water, until you achieve the desired consistency – a smooth, bright white paste, which is the thickness of toothpaste (you may need to use less or more water than the recipe states – go slowly and judge when you’ve reached the correct point).

Use immediately, or cover with cling film and chill, for no longer than 24 hours.

For this recipe you will need to divide your recipe into half 'line' icing and half 'flood' icing. Line icing is the consistency of toothpaste and is used for outlining your biscuits and adding detail. Flood icing is the consistency of custard and used to fill larger areas or sections of the biscuit with a smooth, shiny surface. We use a piping bag cut at an angle at the tip to achieve the thin, crisp line in line icing and a squeezy bottle for flood icing.

To make line icing you don't need to change the consistency of the royal icing. Simply look at how many colour variations you need (detailed below) and divide up the icing into clean, dry bowls and add food colouring.

To make the flood icing, place the royal icing in a large bowl. Add water, a few drops at a time, stirring constantly, until you have a pourable mixture of the same consistency as custard. Check how many colour variations you need (detailed below) and divide up into clean, dry bowls and add food colouring.

Snowflake biscuits:

1. Preheat oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas mark 2. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

2. Put the sugar, butter, golden syrup, egg and vanilla into a large mixing bowl. Mix with an electric mixer on a low speed for 3 minutes, until there are only small lumps of butter visible, then turn the speed of the mixer up to medium for 1 minute to reduce the size of the butter lumps.

3. Sift both types of flour into the bowl and mix on a low speed for 1 minute, or until combined, then turn the mixer up to medium speed for 30 seconds, or until the dough clings together and the sides of the bowl are clean.

4. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide into two and squash into even, flat discs. Cover with cling film and chill, or use immediately.

5. Roll out the dough to an even thickness between two sheets of greaseproof paper and cut out your snowflake shapes.

6. Carefully pick up each biscuit with a palette knife and place onto the lined trays. Space the biscuits out evenly – they will spread a little when baking.

7. Place the trays into the preheated oven and bake for 20–30 minutes (check at 20 minutes).

8. When the biscuits are evenly cooked and just beginning to turn a golden colour, remove from the oven and transfer the whole sheet of greaseproof paper to a cooling rack. Do this very carefully, as the biscuits will be fragile and hot! Allow to cool completely before icing.

TOP TIP – If you want to experiment with flavours, the vanilla in this recipe can be replaced with lovely things such as grated lemon or orange zest, coffee or cinnamon. Just keep in mind that you need a dough that bakes evenly and is smooth in texture, so avoid chunky ingredients.

9. Divide your batch of Royal Icing into line and flood consistencies in the following colours:
Line: white / grey
Flood: white / grey

10. Once cooled, ice your biscuit snowflakes in a variety of sizes, shapes, designs and patterns.

Option 1: Use line icing to pipe a snowflake pattern directly onto a plain biscuit base. Allow to dry.

Option 2: Outline your snowflake with your chosen colour of line icing. Leave to dry for 10 minutes. When dry, flood the snowflake with your chosen colour of flood icing. Place the biscuit onto a baking tray and into an oven set to the lowest temperature (50°C/gas mark ¼) for 40 minutes, or until the icing has set hard. When dry, pipe a snowflake pattern on top in line icing. While the line icing is still wet, sprinkle with sugar and then gently tap of any excess. Allow to fully dry.

Option 3: Create your snowflake with line and flood as in option 2. Once it has dried in the oven, use a clean paintbrush to paint the biscuit with edible metallic paint. Leave to dry for 10 minutes, then pipe a snowflake pattern on top with line icing. Allow to fully dry.

For the wreath:

1. Preheat oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas mark 2. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

2. Put the sugar, butter, golden syrup and egg into a large mixing bowl. Mix with an electric mixer on a low speed for 3 minutes, until there are only small lumps of butter visible, then turn the speed of the mixer up to medium for 1 minute to reduce the size of the butter lumps.

3. Sift both types of flour and the mixed spice into the bowl and mix on a low speed for 1 minute, or until combined, then turn the mixer up to medium speed for 30 seconds, or until the dough clings together and the sides of the bowl are clean.

5. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide into two and squash into even, flat discs. Cover with cling film and chill, or use immediately.

6. When ready to make the wreath, place the biscuit dough between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper, then flatten the dough into a disc. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to an even thickness of about 1cm, then remove the top layer of greaseproof paper.

7. Using a ring-shaped paper template (our template is 30cm in diameter and 3cm wide), cut out a large circular shape, then cut out the middle to create a large ring of dough.

TOP TIP – To avoid your cutter or knife sticking to the dough, coat it in flour.

8. Lift the bottom layer of paper with the dough ring on it and transfer it to a baking tray. Bake in the hot oven for 20–30 minutes, or until the biscuit is golden brown.

9. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the sheet of greaseproof paper with the biscuit ring on it to a cooling rack. Allow the biscuit to completely cool.

10. Once your snowflake biscuits are decorated (see above) and the large ring has cooled, you can assemble your wreath.

11. Pipe a small amount of line icing onto the back of each snowflake biscuit and arrange them on your biscuit ring. We attached our larger snowflakes first and then filled in the gaps with the smaller ones.

12. Once all your biscuit snowflakes are attached to the base ring and you are happy with the arrangement, leave the wreath to dry for at least 1 hour.

13. As a finishing touch, take a piece of thick ribbon and loop it through the middle of your wreath, tying it in a bow at the top.

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