Category Archives: cooking

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 10

#10 Las Lunas de Sevilla

My sweet friend Tamara and I created this cookie while she was taking a Spanish class a few years ago.  Her instructor was from Spain and she was given the task of bringing treats one night.  Wanting to make something that actually was Spanish, the two of us set about researching.  Tamara makes wickedly delicious flan, but she really wanted to make some kind of cookie.  What we discovered were very few cookie recipes in our research, so we decided to create something with Spanish ingredients.  We had 2 ideas: Seville orange marmalade–made from bitter oranges in the city of Seville and dark Spanish chocolate (we used Blanxart).  We then concluded that the best way to combine them was with a shortbread cookie.

The prototype was a circular cookie painted down the middle with chocolate and the marmalade on the other side.  They were delicious, but the marmalade was tacky to the touch and the flavors were seperate, not combined like we were looking for.  The solution was two very thin half-moon shaped cookies, sandwiched with the marmalade and striped with the chocolate.  A stunning cookie with delicious results.  It might seem weird to have two bitter flavors–the jam and the chocolate in the same cookie, but these actually balance each other quite well.  I’ve since added sweet orange rind in the shortbread dough to add a bigger and different orange flavor in the final cookie.

las-lunas

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 9

It just occurred to me that this is a lot of cookies.

#9 Double Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

These taste a great deal like Oreos, but they have a finer texture and aren’t so cardboardy.  Dutch process cocoa seems to give things a very sandy delicate texture I’ve noticed.  Regardless, these cookies certainly make you want to grab a stack with a tall glass of milk (a delight I bitterly mourn as I write–I shall drown my sorrows in a cup of very overpriced Mariage Frere Casablanca green tea with bergamot and mint that I bought in NY in April…it takes away the sting of my milk loss).

You can still add pictures of your own Christmas cookies here.

oreos

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 8

#8 Sour Cherry Hamantaschen

Okay, so really technically, this is a Purim cookie, but they’re really good and sour cherries are pretty Christmasish, right?  The filling is sour cherry jam and dried sour cherries and a little vanilla.  The recipe always makes more than it does cookies which is good for me because it’s awesome on toast.  This morning I had it on some spelt bread that I made yesterday from this recipe.

hamant

You can still take lovely pictures of your own Christmas cookies and post them here.

I’m working on another Secret Santa gift for a friend in my women’s group.  I only have until tomorrow to finish it (ack!), so I better get back to work…

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 7

I can dig 7 swans, but anyway…

#7:  Florentines

My favorite Italian confection.  We had these cookies at our wedding baked by our favorite Italian place in town.  These had to be about the most fun “cookie” to make (it’s more like an almond nougat that you then bake)–you make the almond mixture and then put about a tablespoon of it on the baking sheet and 10 minutes later they pop become these enormous cookies.  I made them beforehand and we decorated them with chocolate on one side.  The surprise in them is this delicious candied orange peel I got from my favorite spice store.  This particular recipe is from one of my favorite cookbook authors, Nick Malgieri from his Chocolate book.  You can still add pictures of your own Christmas cookie creations here.

florentine

Some of my cousins and I are participating in a Secret Santa swap.  Here is my contribution for my person who shall remain nameless lest she or others read this and spill the beans.  I got the pattern here.  It was a pretty simple bag to sew except her directions were different for lining the bag than I’ve tried before, which wouldn’t have been a big deal except that I used a pretty heavy interfacing plus I interfaced the lining with a layer of canvas. 

jspurse

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 6

I’m curious if you’ve ever seen a goose egg?

#6 Linzers

My Mom started making Linzers at work a few years back in an effort to make cutout cookies slightly more interesting and jam cookies classier.  I always make a couple jam cookies, but this is the first year to make more traditional linzers.  These have hazelnuts in the dough per this recipe and I filled them with lingonberry jam which I couldn’t pass up because it was so pretty in the jar.

linzers

Remember you can post pics of your own Christmas cookies at The 12 Days of Christmas Cookies on Flickr.

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 5

What kind of golden rings are they really?  Plain?  With jewels?  White gold, yellow gold?  For such a high point in the song there is a curious lack of helpful description.

#5 Meringues

There are two cakes that I LOVE more than anything to bake: Baumkuchen, which is a major project and Buche de Noel which looks like a major project but is actually pretty quick and dirty.  If you put me in a room and my only task was to make a ton of meringue mushrooms, I could be very happy for a long time. 

With not being able to eat Buche this year because of the dairy, I made these little meringues instead and we dipped them in chocolate.  I flavored some with cocoa and some with coffee per this recipe which did make them delicious.  I will enjoy the extreme lack of humidity that we have here in CO that allows these gems to be the crispy delights that they are.  I love how they look on the charmeuse.

meringues

Seriously consider adding your own cookie pictures to The 12 Days of Christmas (Cookies) group on Flickr.

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 4

What on earth is a calling bird?

#4  Gingerbread Snowflakes (#2 in the cutout series)

Since I started this whole shin dig, I’ve made some kind of gingerbread, usually in the shape of snowflakes.  I cannot make them in little people shapes because I always think of Hansel and Gretel.

This year I tried the Moravian Spice cookie recipe for the snowflakes instead of my standard.  Big disappointment were the spice cookies.  The dough was tough and hard and I got a cardio workout trying to roll the suckers.  I usually fall on the side of if you can make your cutouts thinner, please do, they taste better, but after a while, I plum gave up with these.  Thankfully royal icing covers a lot of frustration and they turned out pretty, again decorated by the crew.

snowflakes

Check out The 12 Days of Christmas Cookies on Flickr and add your own pictures of your Christmas cookies!

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 3

No French hens (but I have always wondered what a French hen looks like),

#3: Lemon tartlets

I always make some kind of tartlet cookie.  The past couple of years, I have made chocolate caramel tartlets which are super tasty but they really need to be cold or the caramel goes all over the rest of the cookies which isn’t very helpful.

For 2 summers in college my Mom and Aunt (the same one we made cookies with) and I baked our fingers off for the Farmer’s Market.  I made literally hundreds of pounds of my pita bread while my Aunt made cakes and pies and Mom made pretty cookies.  The lemon tartlets were one that developed a following…which was perhaps unfortunate for the baker.  They are time consuming and often frustrating to make because the crusts can and do stick in the tartlet pans, even if they are “nonstick” pans.  Thankfully a couple of years ago, I bought Sweet Miniatures by the Queen of all wee desserts, Flo Braker (this book was out of print for a while until some GENIUS at the publishing house decided that that was kind of silly).  In this book, she has a recipe for tartlet shells that absolutely do NOT stick in the pans–and you don’t even have to grease the things.  This saves so much time and frustration that it’s almost unbelievable.

These ones are like your typical lemon bar, just in miniature format.

ltartlets

Dude, I’m on SewMamaSew.  I feel so honored.  Go check it out!

Also check out The 12 Days of Christmas (Cookies) group on Flickr and feel free to add your own fantastical cookie pictures.

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 2

No turtledoves, just

#2–Cutout cookies (one in a series)

This is probably the only other mandatory cookie besides spritz.    These are from my Mom’s recipe which are ultra thin, crisp, tender, and nutmeggy (I’m not sure if that’s a word, but I like it), not thick like a lot of people roll their cutouts.  I’ve eaten these in every shape imaginable.  Gram used to have this plastic Santa cutter that embossed the dough when you cut them.  This year I couldn’t find what I thought were all of my cookie cutters (I borrowed them from Mom)–I apparently just have miniature ones and plain and scalloped graduated circles.  Undeterred, I set about a different plan which was to make plain circles, ice them in plain powdered sugar frosting and have people decorate them with royal icing.  I think they all did a nice job.

cutouts1

Keep uploading your pictures to the Flickr group The 12 Days of Christmas (Cookies)

12 Days of Christmas Cookies, Day 1

If you’re looking for a partridge in a pear tree, I regret to inform you that you’re in the wrong place.

If, however you are looking for writings about Christmas cookies, I got the stuff.

Cookie #1:  Spritz

spritz1

These have never not been on my cookie list.  It’s probably the simplest and it’s been my hands down favorite cookie my whole life.  I think they just fit into your hand when you’re a kid really well.  The fact that they’re mostly butter and that the gun gives them an awesome texture helps too.  Nathan, not knowing all this bought me a new spritz gun for my birthday 8 months before we started dating.  I didn’t think that my affection could be bought so easily, but if I was being honest, that’s when I REALLY started being interested in him.  I was struck by how good of a gift it was (kitchen gadgets speak to a deep place in my heart) and how generous of a gift it was for him to give to someone who was just a casual friend in a big circle of friends.  But he’s a generous guy.  So you could say that this is the cookie that brought us together.

Don’t forget to check out The 12 Days of Christmas (Cookies) on Flickr that I created.  Feel free to add pictures of your own Christmas cookies.  The more the merrier.