Maple cookie wreath – this adorable vegan Autumn leaf biscuit wreath is perfect as an impressive centrepiece for any Autumnal celebration. Made with delicious maple flavoured cookies decorated with vegan royal icing.
Ideally you need to start the day before you want to assemble the wreath. To make the maple cookie dough, place the softened vegan butter and the maple or light brown soft sugar in a large bowl and whisk together with an electric mixer for several minutes until well combined.
Whisk in the maple syrup followed by the salt and baking powder. The mixture may look a bit curdled at this point, this is not a problem.
Add the flour and fold through until the mixture forms a soft dough. Divide the dough into two portions, shape into discs, wrap and place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours, until the dough is firm.
Once the dough is firm enough to roll out, dust a sheet of baking parchment with flour and place one of the discs of dough on top (leave the other one in the fridge). Dust with more flour and roll out to about 3mm/1/8 inch thick.
Use the base of an approx. 28cm/11in round cake tin or dinner plate to cut out a large circle then use an approx. 18cm/7in one to cut a smaller circle out of the centre, leaving you with a large ring.
Slide the sheet of baking parchment onto a baking sheet and pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Bake the ring for about 20 minutes until it is golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then carefully slide the baking parchment onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
While the ring is baking, roll out the other disc of dough as above and cut out leaf shapes using your cookie cutters. Place them spaced apart on a couple of baking sheets lined with baking parchment and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Bake the chilled cookies for about 10-12 minutes until they are golden around the edges. Leave to cool on the trays for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Bring together the scraps of dough and roll out again to cut out more leaf shapes (if the dough is too soft to roll out, wrap it and place it in the fridge for an hour first to firm up again). Chill and bake the cookies as above.
Once the cookies have cooled (I place them in an airtight container overnight) make the royal icing.
Place the aquafaba in a clean, dry bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until it is frothy. Sift in the icing sugar and whisk for about 5 minutes until very thick and glossy and the mixture forms soft peaks.
Whisk in the maple syrup then gradually stir in the lemon juice, ½ tsp at a time, until the icing becomes a thick but pourable consistency. If you drizzle some of the mixture back into the bowl the pattern should disappear after about 8 seconds. If it becomes too runny you can whisk in a little more icing sugar.
Divide the icing into 5 small bowls. Use gel food colouring to colour one red, one yellow, one orange (red plus yellow colouring), one green and one chestnut brown. Add a little chestnut brown colouring to each of the coloured ones to make them more of a realistic colour.
Heat the oven to its lowest setting (around 60°C/140°F).
Use a teaspoon to carefully spread some of the icing over the top of each biscuit, making each one a different colour. Use the edge of the spoon to gently nudge the icing towards the edge of the biscuit to get a clean line, making sure that you don’t push it over the edge.
If your icing is the correct consistency you should be able to spread the icing smoothly and neatly with the spoon and the top will smooth out after a few seconds, but it won’t run by itself.
Place the iced biscuits on a couple of baking sheets and place them in the oven for about 30 minutes until the icing is dry. Cover the leftover royal icing so that it doesn’t dry out.
Once the icing has dried, place about ½ tsp gel food colouring in a small bowl – one bowl of dark brown, one chestnut brown and one red. Stir about a teaspoon of water into each one. Use a fine paintbrush to paint veins onto each leaf using the dark brown; then use the chestnut and red to add detail and shading as you like. Set aside to dry.
Once the paint has dried, use blobs of the leftover royal icing to stick the leaves to the biscuit ring, placing them in a circle then adding some more on top. You will not need all of the leaves. Set aside for a couple of hours to dry before serving then store in an airtight container.
For the best results make sure that you follow the recipe closely. As always, I highly recommend using the gram measurements (with a digital scale), rather than the cup conversions. Cup measurements are simply not accurate enough for baking and I cannot guarantee the best results if you use them.
It is best to make this maple cookie wreath over the course of a couple of days. I make the dough and bake the cookies on the first day, then ice and paint the biscuits and assemble the wreath the following day.