The lifestyle expert and author of Martha Stewart’s Cookie Perfection says her treats will “make an elegant statement” at your holiday gathering
Martha Stewart’s Shortbread Wreaths with Candied Flowers
2 large egg whites, divided
1 cup fresh small edible flowers
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for work surface
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. brandy
1 tsp. grated orange zest (from 1 orange)
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 to 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon), as needed
Finely chopped crystallized ginger
Finely chopped pistachios
1. Whisk together 1 tablespoon water and 1 egg white in a small bowl. Working with 1 flower at a time, hold flowers using tweezers, and brush egg-white mixture onto flower surface to lightly coat both sides. Sprinkle flowers with superfine sugar. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet; let stand until dry.
2. Whisk together flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Beat granulated sugar, butter and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, brandy and orange zest; beat until well combined, about 30 seconds. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill until firm, at least 45 minutes or overnight.
3. Unwrap dough disk, and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured work surface. Cut out dough rounds using a 3 1/2-inch fluted round cutter; cut out centers from rounds using a 1-inch round cutter. Reroll scraps once. (You will have 16 wreaths.) Arrange wreaths 1 inch apart on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake cookies until set and golden around edges, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets top to bottom racks halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks; let cookies cool completely, about 20 minutes.
5. Whisk together powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and remaining 1 egg white in a bowl until smooth, adding up to remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice until desired consistency.
6. Working with 1 cookie at a time, dip cookies top sides down into lemon glaze to coat surfaces, letting excess glaze drip back into bowl. Transfer glazed cookies to a wire rack or baking sheet.
7. Working quickly, decorate cookies with candied flowers, ginger and pistachios. Let stand at room temperature until dry, at least 2 hours.
Makes: 16 cookies
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 13 hours (includes chilling and standing time)
For more on this recipe, go to MarthaStewart.com