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Saints Feast Family
~Exploring Catholic Patron Saints of the Day & their Feasts (Catholic Cuisine)
(Find food, recipes, traditions, locations, relics, prayers, songs, book, movies, art, products, crafts & more!)

December 25


1st Day of the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord


The Nativity of the Lord or Christmas


"The first day of Christmas my true love gave to me...."

The partridge in the pear tree represents Christ

MORE COOKIES!!!

 

 

Christmas Cookies!!!

 

 

Italian Fig Cookies (Cucidati)

Italian Fig Cookies, Cucidati, Sicilian Fig Cookies, or Christmas Fig Cookies are a few of the
names you might find for this deliciously moist, tender and sweet, fruit filled cookie.

Servings: 36 cookies
 

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
     

For the fig filling:

  • 1 cup dried diced Calimyrna or Mission figs stems removed (6 or 7 ounce package)

  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates finely chopped (or substitute raisins if preferred)

  • 1/2 cup orange juice fresh squeezed (about 1 orange)

  • 1/3 cup diced candied orange peel

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/3 cup blanched almonds chopped fine

  • 2 tablespoons dark spiced rum or Grand Marnier orange liqueur
     

For the lemon glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

  • 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice, just enough to make a glaze you can slowly drizzle

  • Sprinkles for decoration if desired
     

Directions:

To prepare the dough:

  1. Place the butter to a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar and baking soda. Beat until combined. Add the egg, vanilla and salt and mix until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat again for a few seconds. Add the flour in three additions, mixing on low to incorporate.

  2. Divide the dough in half and form each into a small rectangle. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
     

To prepare the filling:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the figs, dates, orange juice, candied orange peel, sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes or until fruit is soft and the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat and add the chopped blanched almonds and 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, if using. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap once cooled until needed.

  2. To assemble and bake the cookies, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before rolling out.

  3. Place a piece of wax or parchment paper (at least 14x10 inches) on a clean work surface. Lightly dust with flour. Roll one portion of the dough into a 10x8-inch rectangle. Cut each rectangle into two 10x4-inch strips. Portion 1/4 of the filling down the center of each strip (in a rounded mound). Use the parchment paper as a guide and bring one long side of the dough up and over the filling. Repeat with the opposite side forming a tube and enclosing the filling. The dough should overlap slightly on top of the filling. Gently seal the edges.

  4. Carefully transfer the filled strips to the prepared baking sheet placing them seem side down on the pan. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

  5. Remove from the oven and immediately slice each strip (using a large thin knife) diagonally into 1-inch pieces. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
     

For the lemon glaze:

  1. Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Drizzle on each cookie then top with colored sprinkles if desired.
     

Recipe Notes

Chopped candied orange peel can be found in the section of your grocery store with fruit cake ingredients.

Prep time does not include the 3 hours to chill the dough.

We used Grand Marnier in this recipe.

 

 

Zimtsterne ~ Cinnamon Stars

A delicious blend of ground almonds and cinnamon topped with a sweet meringue glaze.

Ingredients

FOR THE DOUGH:

  • 300 g almonds, finely ground (approximately 2 cups)

  • 100 g super fine granulated sugar (approximately ½ cup)

  • 50 g unbleached all-purpose flour (approximately ⅓ cup)

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 2 large egg whites


FOR THE MERINGUE GLAZE:

  • 1 large egg white

  • 1 dash salt

  • 200g super fine granulated sugar (approximately 1 cup)

  • 1 - 2 teaspoons milk

Directions:

FOR THE DOUGH:

  1. In a large bowl whisk together the almonds, 100 g sugar, flour and cinnamon.

  2. Add 2 egg whites and mix using a rubber spatula until the dough holds together. It will be sticky.

  3. Press the dough into a large circle on a piece of plastic wrap. Cover with additional plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or more.

  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a silpat mat.

  5. Roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper to approximately 1 cm or ⅜" thick. Cut out star shapes and place on the prepared baking sheet.

  6. Re-roll the remaining dough cutting out more stairs until all dough is used.
     

FOR THE MERINGUE GLAZE:

  1. Beat the egg white with the salt until stiff. With the mixer on, slowly beat in the sugar until incorporated. The meringue should have a spreading consistency but not be runny. Add a little milk if needed, ½ to 1 teaspoon at a time until you get the right consistency.

  2. Place about ½ teaspoon of meringue in the middle of one unbaked cookie. Immediately use a small brush to drag the meringue out onto the tips of the stars. Continue until all cookies have a meringue glaze.

  3. Bake the cookies for about 8 minutes - watching carefully as you do not want the meringue to brown.

  4. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

I used a digital scale and measured all ingredients in grams. The conversions to cups are approximate. The traditional German star has 6-points, I only had a 5-point star cutter so that's what we used. My cookie cutter is 2½ inches tip to tip.

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Thick, puffy and soft with a deep, rich chocolaty flavor. Chocolate-cookie-perfection

Servings: 24 Cookies

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces unsweetened good quality chocolate, rough chopped

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

  • 3 teaspoons instant espresso powder

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (for rolling)

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar (for rolling)
     

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. In a small microwave safe mixing bowl, combine the chocolate and butter. Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat with 15 second intervals at 50% power until almost all the chocolate is melted with a few small chunks remaining. Set aside and stir occasionally until all chocolate is melted.

  3. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

  4. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, eggs, espresso powder and vanilla until smooth. Add the melted chocolate mixture and continue to whisk until combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour and cocoa mixture just until no dry ingredients remain visible. Set the cookie dough aside to rest for 10 minutes.

  5. While the dough is resting, place the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a shallow bowl and the powdered sugar in a separate shallow bowl.

  6. Using a small ice cream scoop, drop 2 tablespoons of cookie dough directly into the bowl with the granulated sugar. Gently roll the dough into a ball while coating with the sugar but don't use too much pressure or over-handle the dough. Transfer the dough ball to the powdered sugar and roll to coat. Place the cookies on the parchment lined baking sheets at least 2-inches apart. Work quickly to roll all the dough into balls. When the first sheet is filled, put it in the oven to bake. You should have approximately 24 cookies, 12 on each parchment.

  7. Bake for 12 minutes or until the cookies are puffy and cracks have formed. The cookies will still be soft and look a little raw in-between the cracks. Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  8. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.


Recipe Notes

If you're not a fan of coffee and/or espresso, I recommend reducing the espresso powder to 1 or 2 teaspoons instead of the 3 listed above. You really can't taste the espresso, so don't leave it out all together. It really enhances the chocolate flavor.

 

Add 1 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips if desired

 

 

 

 

 

The Very Best Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Makes 8 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cupunsalted butterroom temperature

  • 1/2 cupgranulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 teaspoonsvanilla extract

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoonbaking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoonbaking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoonkosher salt

  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder
     

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and both sugars. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, approximately 1 minute.

  3. Add the egg and vanilla beating for an additional 30 seconds until well combined.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixer while beating on low speed.

  5. Continue beating for 15 seconds or until the mixture is thoroughly combined.

  6. Fold in the chocolate and espresso powder.

  7. Place 1/4 cup mounds of cookie dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 3 inches apart and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cookies are browned around the edges. (You should be able to fit 3 cookies on a standard size sheet.)

  8. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

 

Wine Cookies / Ciambelle al Vino

Wine Cookies Ciambelle al Vino, a delicious crunchy not too sweet
Italian fall cookie, made with white wine. Fast and easy.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/3 cup oil (I used corn oil)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 2 1/4 cups flour

  • sugar for coating

  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon vanilla bean (if desired)
     

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° (180° celsius)

  2. In a medium mixing bowl add wine, oil, sugar, salt and baking powder
    (add vanilla bean if using) mix well, gradually add flour, a little at a time, until it all comes together.

  3. Transfer to a slightly floured flat surface and knead lightly approximately 10 times.
    Dough will be soft, so don’t work it too much.

  4. Cut off a little dough at a time, roll into a small chubby rope (about 5 inches (13 centimeters long)
    and bring ends together to form a circle.

  5. Dip in sugar and and place on parchment covered cookie sheets,
    bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, or golden in colour. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Apple Bishop's Hat
Makes 45 pieces

Dough: 

  • 200 g of butter, softened 

  • 120 g of sugar 

  • 2 eggs 

  • 100 ml of milk 

  • 2 tsp. baking powder 

  • pinch of salt 

  • 2 tsp. vanilla essence 

  • lemon peel 

  • 500 g flour 


Filling: 

  • 1 kg apples 

  • 5 tbsp. sugar or taste 

  • cinnamon to taste 

  • 2 tbsp. butter 

  • 1/2 lemon juice 

  • 30 ml water  

 

  • powdered sugar for sprinkle 

Directions:

  1. Whisk soft butter with sugar, add eggs, vanilla, zest and milk. Sift the flour with salt and baking powder and pour into the egg-and-oil mixture. Knead the dough, wrap it in a food film and put in the refrigerator for 1 hour. 
     

Preparation of the filling:

  1. Peel the apples from the peel, remove the core, grate on a large grater. Add the rest of the ingredients for the filling. Put the apples on the fire and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook the apples until the liquid evaporates. Ready the filling completely cool. 

  2. Put the cookies on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the cookies with sugar powder. Preheat the oven to 180C degrees. Sprinkle the work surface lightly with flour. Cut a piece of dough, roll it into a circle about 3 mm thick and cut into triangles. In each triangle make cutouts as shown in the photo. Put the filling and wrap first one side, then the other. 

 

 

 

 

Buttery Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened 

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

  • 2 eggs 

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 package (24 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (4 cups)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Mix butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs in large bowl using spoon. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips.

  2. Drop dough by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

  3. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light brown. Cool slightly. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack; cool.

 

 

 

 

Italian Cannoli Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk

  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

  • 1 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia extract

  • 3 tablespoons amaretto liquor

  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange or lemon zest

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt

  • 2 cups all purpose flour

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

  2. Mix in the eggs and ricotta cheese until combined then mix in the extract, amaretto and fresh citrus zest.

  3. Next, mix in the baking powder and salt until combined. Mix in the flour.

  4. Stir in chocolate chips and the pistachios. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.

  5. With the oven rack in the middle setting, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  6. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. NOTE: you should use a light colored cookie sheet, not dark colored which tends to brown the bottoms too quickly. The parchment paper helps with browning evenly on this delicate cookie.

 

 

 

 

Middle Eastern Date-Filled Cookies (Ma’amoul)

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE SPICE MIX:

  • ½ Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon

  • 1-¼ teaspoon Ground Allspice

  • ½ teaspoons Ground Mahlab (ground Seed Kernel From St Lucie Cherries)

  • ½ teaspoons Ground Nutmeg

  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Ginger

  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Anise

  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Fennel Seed

  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Cloves
     

FOR THE DATE FILLING:

  • ¾ pounds Pitted Dates, Coarsely Chopped (or Date Paste)

  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil

  • 1-½ teaspoon Cake Spice Mix (recipe Above)
     

FOR THE DOUGH:

  • 1 cup Sugar

  • ¾ cups Water

  • ¼ cups Canola Oil

  • ¾ cups Clarified Butter (Ghee)

  • 4 cups All-purpose flour, Plus Up To 4 Tablespoons More For Kneading

  • ½ teaspoons Instant Yeast

  • FOR DUSTING ON TOP (optional):

  • ¼ cups Powdered Sugar
     

Directions:

  1. Mix together the spices for the cake spice mix. You will only need 1 ½ teaspoons of the spice mix for recipe; store the remaining spice mix in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 months.

  2. To make the date filling, grind the dates and oil in a stand mixer fitted with a food grinding attachment (fine grind) or in a heavy-duty food processor. If using a stand mixer, alternate between adding the dates and oil. If you’re using a food processor, before you add any dates, rub oil on the blade and inside of the bowl. Once processed, oil your hands and knead the cake spice mix into the dates.

  3. To make the dough, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a full, rolling boil (occasionally giving the pan a swirl); boil 1 minute and then turn off the heat. Cool 5 to 10 minutes.

  4. Combine the oil and clarified butter in a separate small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the butter is just melted, about 2 minutes; cool slightly.

  5. Put the flour in a large bowl and whisk in the yeast. Use a wooden spoon to gradually incorporate the oil mixture, then gradually incorporate the sugar syrup. Knead the dough until it comes together nicely into a shaggy dough, adding up to 4 tablespoons more flour as needed (when done, the dough will be soft and should look smooth, shiny, and slightly oily). Cover the dough, put it in the freezer to stiffen slightly, about 5 to 10 minutes, and then knead it again for a couple minutes.

  6. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C); line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners.

  7. To shape the cookies with a ma’amoul mold (see note below), measure 1 slightly scant tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball; slightly flatten it with your hands, then press it into the bottom and up the sides of the mold. Measure 1 teaspoon of the date mixture and roll it into a ball; slightly flaten it and gently press it into the dough in the mold. Measure 1 slightly scant teaspoon of dough, roll it into a ball, slightly flatten it, then put it on top of the date mixture in the mold; use your fingers to press the dough on the top into the dough on the sides. To remove the cookie from the mold, hold the mold by the handle and tap the flat rim on a secure surface; the cookie will drop right out.

  8. Arrange the cookies on the baking sheets about ½ to 1 inch (1 ¼ to 2 ½ cm) apart (if you use 2 half-sheet pans, the cookies should all fit on 2 pans; if you use smaller pans you will need to cook them in 2 batches). Bake until light golden brown on the bottom, about 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the trays once.

  9. Cool completely, and then dust with the powdered sugar. To store the cookies, package them layered between parchment paper in an airtight container.
     

Notes:
Ma’amoul mold: In this recipe I give directions for how to shape these cookies with a ma’amoul mold, which can be purchased at Middle Eastern grocery stores or online. However, these cookies can also be shaped by hand. To do so, measure 1 slightly scant tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball; slightly flatten it with your hands, then hold it in the palm of 1 hand. Measure 1 teaspoon of the date mixture and roll it into a ball; slightly flatten it and gently press it into the dough in your hand. Measure 1 slightly scant teaspoon of dough, roll it into a ball, slightly flatten it, then put it on top of the date mixture; use your fingers to press the dough on the top into the dough on the sides. Use your hands to gently shape it into a circle, and then use a fork to make a decorative cross-hatch pattern on the top.

Mahlab: This spice is the seed kernel that comes from the center of St. Lucie Cherry pits; it has a lovely aroma and tastes like a cross between almonds and cherries. You can usually find mahlab at specialty spice stores or Middle Eastern grocery stores. If you can’t find it, although the flavor won’t be quite the same, for a similar flavor you could add a couple drops of pure almond extract.

Extra date filling: If you have extra date filling, wrap it well and freeze for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to use it, let it thaw in the fridge overnight, then knead a little bit of canola oil into it until smooth.

Clarified butter (ghee): I don’t recommend replacing the ghee in this recipe with regular butter because of the different water content. Clarified butter can commonly be found at regular grocery stores or easily made at home.

 

 

 

Mandelhörnchen (Chocolate-Dipped Marzipan Almond Horns)

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces marzipan

  • 1 cup blanched super finely ground almond meal

  • 1 cup powdered sugar sifted

  • 1 egg white

  • 1/2 teaspoon quality almond extract

  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 egg white for brushing

  • 1 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Place the marzipan, ground almonds, powdered sugar, almond extract, fresh lemon juice, and egg white in a mixing bowl or in the bowl of a food processor with the paddle attachment in place. Knead the mixture until it comes together in a thick and tacky, but overly sticky, dough. If it's too sticky add a little more ground almonds and/or sugar to it. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes (This can be made days in advance.)

  2. When you're ready to make the almond horns, break the dough off into pieces and roll them into 1-inch balls. Then roll each ball into a small log, tapering it off so each end is a little thinner.

  3. Use a pastry brush to brush egg white all over the cookie dough.

  4. Roll each cookie into the slivered almonds. They don't have to be completely coated and keep in mind also that the ends will be dipped in chocolate. Bend each cookie into the shape of a crescent and place them on a lined cookie sheet about an inch and a half apart.

  5. The oven should be preheated to 350 degrees. Bake the marzipan almond horns on the middle shelf for 10-15 minutes or until the tips are just starting to turn golden. Remove and let them cool completely.

  6. Microwave some chocolate chips or chunks of chocolate until melted and then dip each end of the almond horns into the chocolate. Place the almond horns back on the cookie sheet or other surface to let the chocolate harden.

  7. Store in an airtight container for up to a couple of weeks.

 

 

Easy Homemade Marzipan or Almond Paste

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups very finely ground blanched almond flour/meal  

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

  •  1 1/2 cups Confectioner Sweetener

  • 2 teaspoons quality pure almond extract

  • 1 teaspoon quality food grade rose water

  • 1 egg white (vegan: use egg substitute 3+ tablespoons corn syrup

Directions:

  1. Place the almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse until combined and any lumps are broken up. Add the almond extract and rose water and pulse to combine. Add the egg white and process until a thick dough is formed. If the mass is still too wet and sticky, add more powdered sugar and ground almonds. Keep in mind that it will become firmer after it's been refrigerated.

  2. Turn the almond marzipan out onto a work surface and knead it a few times. Form it into a log, wrap it up in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

  3. Will keep for at least a month in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer. Bring to room temperature before using in any recipe.

  4. Makes about 12 ounces of marzipan or almond paste


Recipe Notes

* Egg white is what is traditionally used. If you're concerned about raw egg you can use pasteurized egg whites in the carton instead. If you absolutely must (though I don't recommend it), you can use a few tablespoons of corn syrup instead.
* Marzipan vs. Almond Paste - the difference: Almond paste is softer and is used in baked goods. Marzipan is firmer and is used in making candies/chocolates or as fondant for cakes. Marzipan also uses rose water. To adjust this recipe according to what you're using it for, follow this recipe as instructed for almond paste (I still include the rose water because it tastes amazing), or add an extra 1/4 cup or more of ground almonds/almond meal until you reach a firmer consistency (one that you can roll out with a rolling pin without it sticking).

 

 

Linzer Cookies (Linzerkekse)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup whole almonds or hazelnuts (blanched or unblanched)

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • ¾ cup sugar, divided

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • Zest of one small lemon

  • ½ cup raspberry jam

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
     

Directions:

  1. To toast the almonds: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts out on a cookie sheet, place them on the middle rack and toast for about 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let the nuts cool completely and grind them in a food processor along with ¼ cup of the sugar until finely ground.

  2. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in the ground almonds.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until pale in color, add the sugar and beat until fluffy, and then add and beat the egg yolks, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Gradually beat the flour/nut mixture into the butter mixture. Divide the dough into quarters, wrap each piece with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 2 days.

  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  5. Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator at a time. Place the dough between two sheets of wax paper and roll it out to ¼ inch thickness. Use 3-inch cookie cutters (round, stars, heart-shaped are the most traditional) to cut out the cookies and place them on a lined or non-stick cookie sheet. Cut out a top for each cookie, using a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the center so the raspberry preserves will be exposed. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

  6. Gather up any scraps of dough, let them chill a few minutes, and cut out the remaining cookies. Note: It's important that the cookies remain firm so that they retain their shape. If the dough becomes soft, place the cookie sheet in the fridge for a few minutes to chill before baking.

  7. In an oven preheated to 350 degrees F, bake the cookies for about12 minutes or until just starting to turn golden around the edges. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes until transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

  8. Once cooled, spread the bottom half of each cookie with some raspberry preserves, leaving a thin border around each cookie. Place the top of each cookie on its corresponding bottom half. Use a spoon or piping bag to fill the cut out center with a little more of the preserves.

  9. Store in an airtight container for up to several days.

 

 

Raspberry-Hazelnut Macaroons (Haselnussmakronen)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole hazelnuts

  • 2 large egg whites

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° and line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Spread the hazelnuts in a pie plate and toast until the skins split and the nuts are fragrant,
    about 10 minutes. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and 
rub together to release the skins. Let 
the hazelnuts cool completely. 


  3. In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts until finely chopped. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt at medium speed until foamy, 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted, 
5 to 7 minutes. Fold in the hazelnuts. 


  4. Using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop 
or a soup spoon, scoop 1 1/2-inch rounds 
of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake the cookies for 8 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned; rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Remove the cookies from the oven and, while they’re still hot, carefully make an indentation in the center of each with 
the back of a teaspoon.
     


  5. In a small saucepan, boil the raspberry jam for 30 seconds, until slightly thickened. Carefully spoon about 1 teaspoon of the hot jam into the center 
of each cookie. Let the jam set and the cookies cool completely before serving. 


     

Make Ahead

The cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight 
container between wax paper for up to 
4 days.

 

Cream Cheese Kolacky
 

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened

  • 12 ounces (3 sticks) butter, softened

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 (14-ounce) cans fillings of choice (apricot, prune, raspberry, etc.)

  • Confectioners' sugar
     

Directions:

  1. Mix cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add flour 1 cup at a time and mix well. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  2. 2 Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough 1/4-inch on a surface that has been dusted with equal parts confectioners' and granulated sugars (not flour). Cut into 2-inch squares. Place 1/2 to 1 teaspoon filling on center of each square. Overlap opposite corners of dough to the center over filling.

  3. 3 Bake for 15 minutes or when corners start to brown. Cool and dust with confectioners' sugar. These tend to become soggy if held for several days, so store them tightly covered (or freeze) without the confectioners' sugar. Dust with confectioners' sugar just prior to service.

 

 

 

Tuile Cigar Cookies (Pirouettes)

Tuile Cigar Cookies, also known as pirouettes, are crisp, delicate little
cookies with a perfect vanilla flavor and buttery crunch.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

  • pinch of salt

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
     

For dipping the cookies:

  • 3 ounces milk chocolate, dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 3 ounces white chocolate chips

  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans

  • 1/4 cup crushed candy canes
     

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat and set aside.

  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.

  3. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, combine the butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the egg whites and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until blended. Add the flour mixture and blend on low until combined.

  4. To form the cookies, drop 2 teaspoons of batter (for each cookie) onto the baking mat. Space each at least 6 inches apart. I baked these cookies two at a time. Using a small off-set spatula, spread the batter into a 5-inch circle taking care to ensure the cookie is evenly thick all the way across.

  5. Bake the cookies for 5 to 7 minutes or until the edges are light golden brown. The center may not look completely set.

  6. Using a thin metal spatula, careful lift the edge of the cookie and roll tightly into a cigar shape. Place the tuile cigar, seem side down, on a wire rack to cool. This may take a little practice but you'll get it! The cookies are hot so work quickly and use your palms to help roll the cookies. If they cool too quickly to roll, place the cookie back in the oven for about 30 seconds then try again. Continue with the remaining batter until all cookies are baked.

  7. Cool completely before dipping if desired.

  8. Place chocolate chips in a small microwave safe bowl and heat on 50% power for 1 minute. Stir the chocolate chips and if needed, microwave again in 30-second intervals until smooth. Dip the end of the tuile into the chocolate and immediately sprinkle with chopped nuts or crushed peppermint. Cool on a parchment lined wire rack until set.

  9. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.


Recipe Notes

A silpat baking mat works best for this recipe. Parchment paper may slide around on the pan while spreading the batter.

An off-set spatula is helpful for spreading the batter into rounds.

 

 

 

Roczki (Kolacky)

Roczki (Kolacky) are made with a tender, yeasted dough rolled up in a cigar shape with a simple, lemony, ground nut filling. Typical of older recipes, these cookies are not terribly sweet but have a wonderful, unique and simple flavor.

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 2 packages active dry yeast, two 1/4 ounce packages or 4 1/2 teaspoons total

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 6 1/2 to 7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 pound unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces.

  • 1 large egg

  • 3 egg yolks
     

For the nut filling:

  • 1 pound pecans, ground fine

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • zest of 1 lemon

  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 3 egg whites
     

For rolling out the dough:

  • 2 +/- additional cups of granulated sugar to roll out the dough

  • 3 egg whites lightly beaten and mixed with 1 teaspoon water for brushing on top of the cookies before baking.


Directions:

  1. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment or wax paper. Make sure the paper hangs over the sides of the pan.


To make the dough:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the flour, salt, and chunks of butter. Mix until crumbly.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, cream and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add yeast, and the cream and eggs. Fit the dough hook on the stand mixer and blend until the dough comes together and is smooth.

  4. Press the dough into the prepared pan and cut it into 9 equal sized pieces. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 8 hours or overnight.


To make the filling:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground nuts, lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon zest. In a separate clean bowl with clean beaters, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Alternate adding the sugar and egg whites to the nut mixture until all is incorporated. Add more sugar or lemon juice if needed to taste. Do not over mix. Set aside.


To make the cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. Fill a small, flat bowl with 1/2 cup granulated sugar. This will be used for rolling the cookies.

  3. Remove one square of the chilled dough, leaving the rest in the refrigerator. Dust a clean work surface with granulated sugar. Roll out the dough to a 10x10 inch square. Using a rolling pastry cutter, cut the dough evenly into 2x2 inch squares.

  4. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the nut filling onto each square leaving one end clean (about 1/3 of the dough square). Roll into a cigar shape. Using your finger or a small brush, spread a little of the egg white wash mixture down the clean side of the dough, press to seal. Brush the outside of the cookie with additional egg white and then lightly roll in granulated sugar. Place seem side down on the prepared baking sheet. Continue rolling until you fill the pan.

  5. Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes or until light brown. Dust cooled cookies with powdered sugar just before serving. Store in an airtight container.


Recipe Notes

I recommend cutting the recipe in half unless you need 225 cookies.

Changes from the original recipe I received:

  1. Annie's original recipe calls for one package of yeast instead of the two that was typed on my copy. After trying my cookies, Annie preferred the puffier dough so much, they're going to make Roczki with two packages of yeast next time. Yeah! A happy accident.

  2. Vanilla has been added to the dough and filling not originally on my recipe copy.

  3. The original recipe called for half butter and half margarine. I tested with all butter.

  4. I tested making apricot bowties but due to the added yeast in my dough, they would not stay together and puffed up bigger than they should. I only tested one batch with the apricot filling (Solo brand) and didn't take photos.

  5. Annie brushes melted butter on top of her cookies before baking. I tested this method and also tried brushed on egg whites. In addition I tested baking the cookies without either. My preference is a lightly brushed on egg white wash. The cookie bakes up with a nice thin crust and soft puffy middle.

  6. The original recipe I received called for the (9) dough pieces to be rolled into 10x14-inch rectangles, then cut into 2x2-inch squares. I found the dough to be too thin, and at those calculations, the recipe will make 315 cookies. I rolled the dough into 10x10-inch squares and ended up with 225 cookies.

  7. The prepared unbaked dough may be frozen or stored in the refrigerator for up to a week before baking. Or you may bake a few batches at a time as needed or when time allows.

 

 

 

Vanilla Pretzel Cookies

Vanilla Pretzel Cookies ~ a crisp little butter cookie loaded with vanilla beans and topped with sparkly coarse sugar in a fun festive shape!

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (heaping)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoons vanilla bean paste

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water

  • 1/4 cup coarse white sugar such as turbinado. I used Organic White Sugar in the Raw
     

Directions:

  1. Place the egg in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat then remove from the heat, cover and rest for 10 minutes. Fill a small bowl with ice water and set aside. Remove the egg from the pan and place in the ice water bath. Allow the egg to cool for 5 minutes. Crack and remove the peel. Remove the yolk and discard the white. Press the yolk through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of a stand mixer.

  2. Fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the butter, granulated sugar, and salt to the cooked egg yolk. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another minute.

  3. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla bean paste and mix until blended. Add the flour and mix on low speed just until combined. With a rubber spatula, press the dough together in a cohesive mass.

  4. Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a log 6 inches long. The diameter should be about 1 3/4 inches. Wrap each log in parchment paper and twist the ends to seal. Chill the dough for 30 minutes. The dough will not be hard but firm enough to handle without being sticky.

  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

  6. Using a large thin knife (chef's knife), slice the dough into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Separate each of the rounds on the parchment paper. Roll each disc of dough into a ball, then roll into 6 inch long ropes. Form each rope into the pretzel shape and place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the egg white mixture over the tops of each cookie, then sprinkle with the coarse sugar.

  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the centers are pale golden brown and the edges slightly darker. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool (or if using a rimless baking sheet, slide the parchment with cookies onto the cooling rack) Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

 

 

 

Florentine Cookies

Florentine cookies are lace cookies made from  chopped almonds with orange & vanilla.
They are then sandwiched with chocolate and you get the most delicious cookies.

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces raw almonds click here for how to peel almonds, peeled

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons candied orange peel

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 20 ounces semi sweet dark chocolate chips or a bar cut into small chunks *see note

Directions:

  1. Position oven rack in the center of the oven.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

  4. Add the almonds to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped with a few larger pieces.

  5. In a mixing bowl, stir together the almonds, flour and orange peel.

  6. In a small saucepan add the sugar, cream corn syrup and butter.

  7. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture comes to a rolling boil and the sugar is completely dissolved.

  8. Continue to boil for 1 minute.

  9. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

  10. Add the mixture to the almond mixture. Stir until combined.

  11. Allow to cool until it is cool enough to handle, about 30-40 minutes.

  12. Using a teaspoon measuring spoon, portion out 1 teaspoon of dough and roll into a ball using your hands. Roll the balls as round as you can, this will ensure nice round cookies.

  13. Place the dough balls 3 inches apart on to the prepared baking sheet (they will spread during baking). You'll be working in batches.

  14. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. If they join together, use a sharp knife to separate while they are hot and soft on the baking sheet as they will harden very quickly.

  15. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

  16. Repeat with the remaining dough.

  17. In a microwave safe bowl, add the dark chocolate and microwave in 10 second increments, stirring in between until melted. Be careful not to burn.

  18. Take a cooled cookie, spread the chocolate on one side, take another cookie and make a sandwich. Repeat with all cookies.

  19. If you would like to drizzle chocolate on the top, put the melted chocolate into a small ziploc bag. Snip of a very tiny piece of the corner and this will allow you to get the perfect drizzle.

  20. Allow to cool and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe Notes

* I prefer dark chocolate, but any that you like can be used.

 

 

 

Tubules with cream

Makes 45 

Dough: 

  • 500 g of flour 

  • 250 g of butter 

  • 250 g of sour cream 

  • pinch of salt 


Cream: 

  • 6 egg yolks 

  • 1 glass of sugar 

  • 2 cups of milk 

  • 4 tbsp. corn starch 

  • 250 g soft butter

  • 1 TBSP vanilla 
     

Separately: 
metal tubules 
powdered sugar for sprinkling

 

Directions:

  1. Combine the flour with salt and oil, rub with your hands until crumbs are formed, then add the sour cream and knead the dough. 

  2. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 

  3. Spray the table lightly with flour, roll thin dough approximately 1-2 mm thick. 

  4. Cut the dough into long strips with a width of 1.5 cm. Then, each strip is wound on the tube from the narrow side. 

  5. Bake the tubes at 200C / 400F degrees for 10-12 minutes. 

  6. Cool down. 

  7. Fill the tubes with cream and sprinkle with powdered sugar. 


For the preparation of cream:

  1. Whisk egg yolks with sugar, vanilla and starch. 

  2. Pour in the milk, mix. 

  3. Put on medium heat, stirring constantly bring the cream to thick. 

  4. Remove the custard from the fire and cool completely. (I put the dishes with the cream in the cold water and stop until completely cool). 

  5. Whisk the soft butter to the mixture, whisk until smooth. 


 

 

 

 

Honey gazelle horns

Cornes de Gazelle

 

Ingredients:

  • For the dough

  • 2-¼ cups flour

  • 4 tablespoons butter , melted

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil

  • 2 teaspoons liquid honey

  • 1 egg

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 2 teaspoons orange blossom water

  • For the almond paste

  • 4 cups whole almonds , blanched and peeled

  • 1-½ cups sugar

  • ½ cup orange blossom water

  • 6 tablespoons butter

  • ½ teaspoon mastic (Arabic gum), ground

  • ¼ cup sunflower oil
     

Directions:

Dough

  1. In a large dish, pour the flour, salt, melted butter, oil, honey and egg. Mix all ingredients and slowly add enough water to make a smooth dough.

  2. Knead vigorously for 10 minutes until it becomes elastic and not sticky. Cover with a clean cloth and let stand while preparing the marzipan.

  3. Almond paste

  4. Mix the blanched and peeled almonds with the sugar and grind them ideally with a meat grinder (or food processor if you don't have one) to make marzipan.

  5. Stir in the orange blossom water, butter and mastic. Knead the marzipan and make 2-inch long and 1-inch thick strands (about ¾ oz).


Assembly

  1. Divide the dough into 6 small balls.

  2. Place a ball on an oiled work surface and, using a very smooth and oiled pastry roll (without imperfection), roll the dough thinly.

  3. Place a strand of marzipan in the center of the pastry dough and fold it. Shape the dough in the shape of a crescent by firmly pressing with your fingers to make the dough adhere to almond paste.

  4. Seal the edges by pressing strongly and cut the crescent with a serrated wheel leaving about a ⅛ inch edge.

  5. Repeat this process until you run out of dough and marzipan.

  6. Place the cornes de gazelle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let them rest uncovered at room temperature for 15 hours, until they dry.

  7. Using a thin needle, poke each corne de gazelle 3 times on top, spacing the holes equally.

  8. Preheat oven to 340 F.

  9. Lightly brush oil on each corne de gazelle.

  10. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes until obtaining a light beige color, making sure that they do not turn brown.

  11. It is very important to closely monitor the baking so that the cornes de gazelle are very light.

  12. Let them cool completely on a wire rack before placing them in a sealed metal box to keep them in a cool place.


Topping:

  • honey + orange blossom water: Brush on top when the cookies come out of the oven or top with pwder suagr

Directions:

  1. Put the sifted flour in a terrine, make a fountain, add sugar, yeast, vanilla, egg and margarine. 

  2. Rub the dough well between the hands, sprinkle with orange blossom water while kneading at the same time until soft dough. 

  3. Form balls, cover a plastic film and let stand. 

  4. Meanwhile prepare the stuffing with the given ingredients, form small rolls of 1/2 cm by 4 cm, place on a dish sprinkle with icing sugar. 

  5. On a floured work surface, lower the dough to a thickness of about 1 mm. Cut 8 cm squares in each square. Cut several strips with a roulette, put a bunch of stuffing on one of the 4 corners, roll and give the shape of

  6. Arrange the cakes on a plate and bake at 180 °C/ 350F minutes. The cakes should take a golden color. Remove from the heat and let warm and then deceive them into warm honey flavored with orange blossom water and then sprinkle with food flakes or your free imagination.

  • Have fun with shaping your cookies....here are two ways for them to look like