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.

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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.

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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.

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Baci di Dama

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups (140g) hazelnuts, toasted and skinned

  • 1 cup (140g) rice flour, or all-purpose flour

  • 3 1/2 ounces (100g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup sugar, 100g

  • pinch of salt

  • 2 ounces (55g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Directions:

  1. Put the hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse them until very fine; they should be the consistency of coarse polenta. (See photo, in post.)

  2. Transfer the ground nuts to a bowl and add the rice flour (if using all-purpose flour, sift it in). Cut the butter into pieces then add the butter, sugar, and salt to the dry ingredients. Use your hands to mix all the ingredients together until the butter is dispersed and completely incorporated. The dough should be very smooth and hold together. If not, knead it until it does.

  3. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and roll each piece until it’s 3/4-inch (2cm) round. Try to get them as smooth as possible, with no cracks. If the dough is too long to work with as you roll them out, you can cut the dough at the midway point and work with it in batches.

  4. Chill the dough logs until firm on a small baking sheet or dinner plate lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper. (Terresa recommends refrigerating them for 2-3 hours, but we put them in the freezer and they were cold within 15 minutes.)

  5. Preheat oven to 325ºF (160ºC) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

  6. Working with one length of dough at a time, keeping the others in the refrigerator or freezer, cut off equal-sized pieces using a knife or pastry cutter. The ideal is 5 grams each, if working with a scale. The fastest way to do it is to cut one to the right weight, then hold that one alongside the logs and use it as a template to cut the others. Once you’ve cut a length of dough, roll the pieces into nice little balls and place them on the baking sheet, slightly spaced apart (as shown.) If you don’t have a scale, simply roll the dough to the size of a marble, trying to keep them as similar in size as possible.

  7. Continue cutting the dough and rolling it into little balls. Bake the cookies for 10 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets in the oven midway during cooking, until the tops are lightly golden brown. Let the cookies cool completely.

  8. In a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate until smooth. Put a chocolate chip-sized dollop of chocolate on the bottom of one cookie and take another cookie, and sandwich the two halves together. (Terresa uses a spoon but I make a little parchment paper cone and pipe the chocolate. I also find it goes faster if you line the cookies up, side-by-side, bottom side up, and pipe spoon chocolate on one side of a number of them at a time, then sandwich them together, then doing another batch, until they’re all filled.)

  9. Once filled, set the Baci di Dama sideways on a wire cooling rack until the chocolate is firm.

Notes

Storage: The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

*Toast the hazelnuts in a 325ºF (160ºC) for 10 to 15 minutes, until they’re a deep golden brown color and the skins are peeling away. Remove from the oven and as soon as they’re cool enough to handle, rub the hazelnuts in a tea towel (or if they’re not too hot, with your hands), until as much of the loose skins come off as possible. Let them cool completely before grinding them up.  Almonds can also be used, which can be skinned by plunging them into boiling water for a minute, then draining them. And as soon as they’re cool enough to handle, pinching them to slide off the skins, then toasting them. 

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Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredient

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided

  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • ¼ teaspoon table salt

  • ⅓ cup orange marmalade

  • ⅓ cup plum preserves or seedless raspberry jam

  • 2 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
     

Directions

  1. Beat butter and ⅔ cup of the sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in lemon zest and vanilla. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed until well combined, about 2 minutes. Shape dough into a disk, and wrap with plastic wrap; chill 1 hour.

  2. Meanwhile, place marmalade and preserves into 2 separate small microwave-safe bowls; microwave both on HIGH until thick and bubbly, about 3 minutes, stirring at 1-minute intervals. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place remaining ⅓ cup sugar in a shallow dish. Shape dough into 36 balls, about 1 tablespoon each; roll dough balls in sugar, and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Press thumb into the center of each cookie, leaving an indentation. Fill half of the cookies with marmalade and the remaining half with plum preserves or jam. Bake until cookies are set but not browned, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool on pans about 3 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely, about 20 minutes.

  4. Place white chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave on HIGH, stirring every 15 seconds, until completely melted and smooth, about 45 seconds. Drizzle cookies with melted chocolate, and let stand until dry and set, about 20 minutes.

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Christmas Tree Cookies

These Christmas Tree Cookies are a fun and festive meringue cookie that are light as air
and melt in your mouth! A super cute Christmas cookie perfect for your holiday party!

 

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites at room temp

  • 1 Cup granulated sugar

  • pinch cream of tartar

  • 1/8 tsp almond extract

  • green gel food coloring

  • multi color sprinkles

  • star sprinkles

  • frosting of your choice
     

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 200 degrees. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a bowl of your stand mixer. Place bowl over boiling water on the stove. Whisk vigorously until sugar dissolved and there are no more sugar granules visible. Remove from heat and whisk in extract.

  2. Using the whisk attachment on stand mixer, mix on medium high until egg whites become bright white but still runny. Add in food coloring to the color you want and continue to beat to form stiff peaks.

  3. Place mixture into piping bag with large star tip. Pipe cookies onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Make cookies about 1 inch in width, 2 inches high and place 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Sprinkle with the multi color sprinkles.

  4. Cook for 2 hours. After 2 hours, turn off oven, open door slightly and let sit in oven an additional 2 hours.

  5. Place the star sprinkles on top with a tiny dab of frosting. Serve and enjoy!

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Amaretti Cookies

These traditional little cookies are amaretto or almond-flavored. When fresh out of the oven and eaten the day they're made, they're somewhat soft, with a slight crunch; they become crispier and crunchier the longer they sit. No matter when you choose to eat them, they're a delightful treat served alongside a morning or afternoon espresso, cup of frothy cappuccino, latte or tea.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (288g) Almond Flour

  • 2/3 cup (131g) granulated sugar

  • 6 tablespoons (43g) confectioners' sugar, plus extra (1 cup or so) for coating

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 large egg whites

  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
     

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, sugars, and salt.

  2. Add the egg whites and the almond extract, mixing until the dough becomes cohesive.

  3. Form the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  4. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.

  5. Scoop the dough into 1" balls; a teaspoon cookie scoop works well here.

  6. Put the extra confectioners' sugar into a shallow bowl. Drop the dough balls into the sugar as you go. Once about five or six are in the bowl, shake and toss the bowl to coat the balls with sugar.

  7. Place the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 1/2" apart. Gently press down on each ball to flatten just slightly.

  8. Bake the cookies for 25 to 30 minutes, until they've cracked slightly and are a deep golden brown beneath the sugar, but are still slightly soft when pressed.

  9. Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool for 5 minutes on the pan, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

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