Friday, December 23, 2011

Cookies at the Last Minute...

Finally...I closed my Etsyshop, and I am slowly getting caught up with family duties. I baked Christstollen three days ago, and yesterday we made some Christmas cookies. Despite the hurry and being totally stressed out at the countdown to Christmas, our baked goods turned out fabulous.
My favorite recipe of all is actually a Swiss Christmas cookie called "Baseler Leckerli" (Lecker means yummy. Little yummy cookies in translation). Sorry if this recipe comes too late for your Christmas preparations. Maybe you can use it next year. But frankly if I had not gotten to make them with the kids this week I would have done it after Christmas. They are too good to be skipped for a year. For me they are the next best thing to the Lebkuchen/ Gingerbread I miss from Germany...


wet ingredients:
1 cup  honey
3/4 cup  brown sugar
1/4 cup  butter
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 nutmeg, freshly grate is best
1 egg beaten

dry ingredients:

3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon  salt
1/4 teaspoon  soda

1/4 cup of finely chopped candied lemon peel
1/4 cup of finely chopped candied orange peel
2 tablespoons of Kirschwasser or orange juice

3/4 cups finely ground filberts or hazelnuts

Melt butter in a saucepan and add honey, brown sugar, and the spices to it. Heat this mix and stir it until the sugar has dissolved and all is well mixed together. Beat the egg. Add it to the ingredients in the pot. Be careful that the mixture is not too hot or your egg will get cooked! The mixture in the pot should has to be cooled down before the egg is added! Pour it in a medium sized bowl.

Sift the flower and add the salt and soda to it.

Chop the  candied orange and lemon peel and soak in the Kirschwasser or Orange juice for a few minutes.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in the bowl by the tablespoon stirring it until all is incorporated. It's going to be a heavy sticky dough. Next stir in the candied fruit. Last add the ground hazelnuts. Place cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour. I like to rest it overnight...

Roll out the cookie dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 of an inch of thickness. We like to use small cookie cutters. We usually get about 200-250 cookies from this recipe. You bake them on a greased cookie sheet for 6-7 minutes at 400 degree Fahrenheit. You know they are done when the edges turn lightly brown. It's best to work with 3 cookies sheets and have them ready and rolling.

I guess the biggest hassle for me each year is the hazelnuts. In Germany hazel- or filbert nuts are sold shelled in a package like you would buy any other nut. In the US I have to buy whole nuts in the shell each year. Good thing is I have my personal little Nutcrackers...The kids crack the nuts for me, and I grind them in the food processor. It's quite a mess and takes a bit of time. I dread the process each year. But once the cookies fill the house with their awesome smell, I know it was so worth it.

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