Christmas Wreath Cookies

These Christmas Wreath Cookies wouuld be great to serve to any guests that pop round during the festive period or alternatively they'd make really lovely Chirstmas gifts.
You can serve your cookies to guests as they are or alternatively for a bit of fancy presentation you could also thread them with some Christmassy ribbon and then display them on a mini christmas tree or on a twig tree such as the one below designed by David Stark.
These cookies are simple to make. You can use any cookie recipe you like so you can easily vary the flavour to suit your tastes. My cookies are chocolate with a hint of cinnamon but an alternative could be to make vanilla cookies and then melt dark chocolate to contrast.
To cut out the cookies I used an 8.5cm fluted cuter and then cut out a 4cm ring in the centre with a round cutter.
Then to decorate it was simply a case of drizzling melted white chocolate on each cookie. I used a piping bag to put the chocolate on the cookie and then the back of a spoon to spread it around a little, it was quite difficult to get perfect edges. Then whilst the chocolate is still wet each cookie was sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts, dark chocolate and crystallised rose peteals. The rose petals give a lovely contrasting colour to the cookies and they are actually rather tasty! However, a Christmassy alternative to the rose petals could be chopped sour cherries.
The first challenge I'm entering my chocolate wreath cookies into is Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Kate at What Kate Baked. Their theme is chocolate as there is always an abundance of the sweet stuff about at Christmas.
I'm also entering my cookies into this month's We Should Cocoa challenge as I added a teaspoon of cinnamon to the chocolate cookie recipe to give it a bit of festive spice. The theme for WSC this month is cinnamon and chocolate so these modified cookies fit the theme perfectly. I usually a stickler for following recipes to the letter, so adding a little cinnamon in place of a small amount of flour was quite adventurous for me! WSC is hosted by Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog and Chele at Chocolate Teapot.

245g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
1tsp cinnamon
250g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
140g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
125g white chocolate, broken into pieces
75g dark chocolate
75g unblanched hazelnuts
Crystallised rose petals

The initial recipe suggested making the cookie dough by hand but I cheated and used a food you can choose either method! Before you start preheat your oven to 180c/160c fan/
gas 4.

Put the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and diced butter into a bowl and rub together until it ressembles fine breadcrumbs...or blitz it in your food processor. Add the egg yolks, icing sugar and the 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Mix this in well until you have a smooth dough and then wrap in clingfilm and pop in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll out the dough. This recipe makes about 16 cookies. To cut them out use an 8.5cm fluted cutter and then cut out a smaller round circle from the centre of each cookie using a 3 or 4cm cutter. Place the cookies on a greased baking tray or line your tray with greaseproof paper before putting them on. Make sure you leave sufficient space around each cookie.

Place the cookies in the preheated oven for around 15 minutes but make sure you keep an eye on them as they may catch a little before that. They should begin to darken around the edges when ready. Cool on a wire rack.

To decorate, melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whilst it is melting use a potato peeler to create dark chocolate curls. Once melted the white chocolate should be drizzled around each wreath cookie. I used a piping back to make it easier and neater and then spread the white chocolate with the back of a spoon. When you're happy with this sprinkle each cookie with a mixture of the hazelnuts, dark chocolate curls and rose petals. I would recommend completing one cookie at a time otherwise by the time you come to sprinkling on the top, the chocolate may have already set and then the nuts and so on won't stick.

* Adapted from Hamlyn's 200 Christmas Recipes