Spiced Lemon Cookie Wreath
Line 4 baking trays with baking parchment. Sift the flour, Bicarbonate of Soda and cinnamon into a bowl. Add the butter then gently rub the butter into the spiced flour using your fingertips, until well blended and the mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
Make a well in the centre and add the syrup, Lemon Extract and the egg. Mix the ingredients together until roughly blended then bring together using your hands to make a firm dough. Turn on to a lightly floured work surface and knead gently until smooth.
Divide the mixture in half, and roll out one half to a thickness of 1/2cm (1/4inch) to form a rough circle. Cut out a neat 22cm (9inch) (using a baking tray or plate as a template) round and transfer to one of the baking tins. Cut out an 18cm (7inch) inner circle from the middle to form a ring, prick the ring with a fork and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Gather up the trimmings and mix into the remaining half of the cookie mixture. Using 3 x 8cm (3inch) festive shaped cutters – we used a heart, Christmas tree and a 6 point star - stamp out 5 of each shape. Place spaced apart on the prepared baking trays.
For the top layer of the wreath, you'll need another 6 cookies – we used an 8cm (3inch) holly leaf cutter and a 6cm (2 ¾ inch) bell shaped cutter. Re-roll the trimmings to make more cookies – we made 6 x 8cm (3inch) birds and 6 x 8cm (3inch) candy canes. You should be able to make approx. 33 cookies of assorted shape and size. Prick the cookies with a fork and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan assisted oven, 375°F, gas mark 5). Bake the ring and a tray of cookies for about 10 minutes until firm to the touch and lightly golden round the edges. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cook the remaining 2 trays of cookies as above.
To decorate, sift the icing sugar into a small bowl and mix in approx. 20ml (4 tsp) warm water to make a smooth, spreadable glacé icing. Cover the surface with a layer of cling film and leave to one side.
Gently knead the Marzipan to soften it and make pliable. Lightly dust the work surface with icing sugar, roll out the Marzipan thinly and cut out sufficient shapes using the same set of cutters, to cover all the cookies you have made, re-rolling as necessary. Brush the cookie tops with a little honey and stick the Marzipan shapes on top.
Roll out and cut out the Regal Ice in the same way, but cut out the centre of 15 cookies using a smaller approx. 4cm (1 ¾ inch) cutter of the same shape – we cut out the centre from the hearts, trees and stars. Secure the Regal Ice shapes on to the cookies as above using a little water. If liked, score patterns using a small bladed knife on top of some of the cookies to add detail. Leave in a dry place for about an hour to allow the Regal Ice to dry a little before assembling the wreath.
To assemble, place the baked cookie ring on a flat plate or serving board and spread lightly with glacé icing. Gently press 9 cookies, alternating in design, on the ring, fitting them snugly together – we used 3 hearts, 3 trees and 3 stars.
For the next layer we used the remaining 2 hearts, 2 trees and 2 stars – spread the backs with a little more glacé icing and press on top of the first cookie layer.
For the top layer, we stuck 3 holly shaped cookies and 3 bell shaped cookies on top in the same way. Cover the top loosely with a sheet of baking parchment and leave for about an hour to dry completely.
Your cookie wreath and remaining cookies are now ready to serve and enjoy!