For day 3 of my “12 Days of Christmas Recipes” we are making wreath cookies! These are the PERFECT Christmas cookies — they’re so festive and cute! Plus they taste delicious, so everyone will love them.
The base of these cookies is shortbread. It’s buttery, crumbly, and tastes so good. Each shortbread cookie is topped in a simple vanilla glaze, then finished with candied cranberries and rosemary! These cookies are perfect for any Christmas party, or even for neighborhood gifts!
what ingredients do i need for these wreath cookies?
- egg yolks
- cold water
- powdered sugar
- fresh rosemary
These cookies look incredibly fancy, but they really are made with simple ingredients!
how to customize the glaze
The glaze for these cookies is really easy to make. It’s a combination of powdered sugar, a splash of vanilla extract, and a splash of milk. But, if you want to add a different flavor to this glaze, you totally can! As is, this glaze has a nice vanilla taste. Let’s say instead you want the glaze to have an orange flavor — instead of the vanilla extract, add orange juice or orange extract! Another great flavor option would be to add peppermint extract for a nice peppermint flavor. Feel free to get creative with it! Or you can just stick to the vanilla, which is really good.
cookie cutter for these wreath cookies
If you want these cookies to have the wreath shape, these are the cookie cutters I use! You could also just use a circle cookie cutter — it won’t have as much shape, but it will still look like a wreath! It’s also not necessary to make these cookies into wreaths. You could use any cookie cutter you want! These could be cute snowmen, Christmas trees — whatever you want!
how to make sugared cranberries and rosemary
The thing that really brings these cookies together is the sugared cranberries and rosemary! It looks so festive and really completes everything. And even though it looks really fancy, it’s actually super simple to make! To start we make a simple syrup by combining water and sugar over medium heat. We heat it just until the sugar dissolves, but don’t let it boil! Once the sugar has dissolved, take it off the heat. Add the fresh cranberries and rosemary to the syrup and toss until it’s all covered. Transfer the cranberries and rosemary to a drying rack or piece of parchment paper and let them dry for an hour.
After an hour, throw the cranberries and rosemary into a bowl of white sugar. They’ll still be pretty sticky from the syrup and the sugar will stick to them perfectly! Give them a good toss in the sugar and you’re good to go. This recipe makes extra sugared cranberries and rosemary, but I think they make a great decoration on their own!
other recipes from my 12 days of christmas recipes
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup butter cold and cubed
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- pinch of salt
- 3 tbsp cold water
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tsp milk any type works
sugared cranberries and rosemary
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup white sugar divided
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 5-6 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Add sugar and cold butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low until the butter starts to break down, then increase the speed and mix for 4-5 minutes until it is fluffier.
- Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the flour and salt and mix again. The dough will be very shaggy, but do no fear! With the mixer on low, slowly add the cold water until the dough comes together.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour. While the dough is chilling, begin the sugared cranberries and rosemary. Combine the water and 1/4 cup of sugar in a small pan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Don't let the mixture boil! Take off the heat once the sugar dissolves.
- Working in small batches, drop a handful of cranberries into the syrup. Toss them until they're fully covered, then remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a cooling rack or piece of parchment paper. Continue with the rest of the cranberries and then the rosemary. Let it all set out and dry for 1 hour.
- Once the dough has chilled, knead the dough by hand to soften it up a bit, then roll it out with a rolling pin. Roll the dough to 1/4” thick. Using a circle cutter about 3 inches wide, cut out the dough. Use a bottle cap or small circle cutter to cut out the center of each circle. Re-roll leftover dough and cut again. Repeat until all the dough is used.
- Transfer the cookies to a baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes. While it is chilling, finish the cranberries and rosemary. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar to a bowl. Drop the cranberries in the bowl of sugar and toss until combined (they should still be slightly sticky from the syrup). Remove and transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the rosemary, making sure all the small pieces are covered in sugar.
- After the dough has chilled, bake it at 350 for 8-12 minutes, just until the cookies set. They should barely be browning, or not brown at all.
- While they cool, make the glaze. Combine the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. Mix until combined. If the glaze isn't runny enough, add another splash of milk until you get the consistency you want.
- Dip each cooled cookie in the glaze. Before the glaze hardens, top each cookie with a sugared cranberry and some rosemary, arranging it to look like a wreath (see the picture). Enjoy!