The holidays can be a pretty indulgent time of year. That is what inspired me to create this healthy holiday cookie recipe. I wanted to make a festive cookie that was unique, kid friendly, easy to make and didn’t leave me overdrawn at the calorie bank. This Gingerbread Cookie Fruit & Nut Wreath also makes a great edible Christmas gift or holiday centrepiece for your table.
You can use my favourite gingerbread recipe (which I highly recommend) or your own. The chocolate cream cheese adds a lovely creamy texture and pairs perfectly with the gingerbread and fruit. Plus, chocolate just makes everything better, right?! If you need it to be nut free, leave out the nut pine cones (or you could make pine cone shaped cookies with the excess gingerbread!) Either way, you’ll want to give this is delicious, healthy and festive holiday gingerbread cookie recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed!
Gingerbread Cookie Fruit & Nut Wreath
- 1 batch of your favourite gingerbread recipe see mine below (or use a cookie mix if in a hurry)
- 1 250 g container Chocolate Cream cheese (I use Philadephia)
Fruit and nut decorations:
- 8 green grapes (sprayed with gold edible spray- optional)
- 12- 14 kiwis
- ¾ cup maraschino cherries
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
Pecan pine cones:
Gingerbread Recipe: from the cookbook "Gingerbread: Things to Make and Bake"
- icing /powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 12 inch round pizza pan with non- stick cooking spray.
Gingerbread: (you can make this homemade gingerbread, use your own or a package mix)
Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside.
Note: if using a package gingerbread cookie mix, prepare as per package instructions
Combine light corn syrup, light brown sugar and margarine in a 2 quart saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat on stove top until margarine is melted.
Stir the liquid into the flour mixture. Mix well with a spoon, then using hands as dough becomes stiff.
Chill the dough until it is easy to handle (10 – 15 minutes approximately)
Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness directly onto pizza pan (it is easier than trying to transfer the dough after it's rolled out).
Use the rim of a bowl (or anything round that is approximately 4-5 inches across) to cut out the centre of the gingerbread wreath. Then trim around the edges of the pizza pan. * you can use cut excess dough into shapes for cookies, as desired.
Bake for 12- 15 minutes or until golden brown. *Check for air bubbles during baking and poke them with a toothpick.
Remove and cool for 5 minutes. Transfer by sliding onto large cooling rack. If you don't have a large cooling rack that will accommodate this size of cookie, then leave it on the pan until completely cooled.
When completely cooled, transfer to large (14 inch) cardboard cake tray or a large flat platter.
Spread the entire container of chocolate cream cheese evenly over the gingerbread cookie wreath.
Slice kiwis and diagonally layer (as shown in the photo).
Make the pecan pine cones (you can also do this in advance):
Microwave tootsie roll on 1/2 power in microwave for about 20 seconds or until it is a little soft and therefore pliable.Lay tootsie roll on parchment paper
Melt chocolate melts in microwave on 1/2 power (5 power on my microwave) in 30 second intervals for up to 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, stirring each time, until melted. * do not get any water near utensils, bowls etc as the chocolate will seize.
Rub some chocolate candy melt on the tootsie roll and add a layer of pecans. Allow to harden for about 5 minutes. Rub a little chocolate melt on each pecan halves as you layer pecans to build the pine cone upwards and outwards.
You will likely need to stop and allow the 2nd layer to harden before putting on the final layer. You only have to worry about doing one side, as they are laying flat ( 2D.) When pine cones are completely hardened, transfer to wreath and place them equal distance from one another. (See main photo)
Add grapes (spray with edible gold spray ,( if desired) and then add maraschino cherries (be sure to pat dry with a paper towel before placing on wreath)
Make raspberry bow:
Place raspberries on 2 wooden skewers and lay on top of wreath at the bottom (see photo). Poke the top, sharp end of the skewer into the fruit at the top so it will stay in place. Then arrange remaining berries in a circle on each side to look like a bow. Again, refer to main photo.
Garnish: Sprinkle with icing sugar (to look like freshly fallen snow)
Slice into 12 pieces, serve and enjoy!