Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas cookies

This post marks the end of the most wonderful time of the year.  At least for now.  Next Christmas you can expect to be overflown and overwhelmed by new holiday recipes, as it just happens to be so that I'm a huge fan of that season.  But first - a last glimpse of this year's cookies.

Of course you can bake these cookies at any time of the year - just use different shapes of cookie cutters (you can also use a glass with a thin edge, and make round ones).  
They are simply sooo delicious -- light and crumbly, but very rich in flavor -- and easy to make.  Once you try them, you'll want to bake them all the time!

These cookies were my favorite when I was a kid (not only because they are so good).  Cutting out the various shapes, punching tiny wholes, threading the baked cookies with a golden ribbon, and hanging them on the Christmas tree - it was all part of the holiday experience!  Definitely a fun way to spend in the kitchen if you have kids (or are a big kid yourself).

The cookies are made out of the very best shortcrust pastry -- the same one I use for the poppy seed almond cake, and many other cakes.  This time I added some lemon zest to the dough, which gave extra freshness and flavor to the cookies.  I sprinkled the cookies with coarse sugar and used egg whites as glue.  You can also add orange or grapefruit zest to the dough, or decorate with almonds, walnuts or icing (the latter - once the cookies are baked).  The sky is the limit!  They are bound to turn out great no matter what :-)

Before & after

  • 300 g of flour
  • 200 g of good quality butter
  • 100 g of sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 package of vanilla sugar (or vanilla essence or scraped out vanilla seeds from 1 bean)
  • Zest of 1 lemon (optional)
  • A few tbsp of coarse sugar (optional)
  • 1 egg white (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 170ºC.
  • Roughly chop the butter (makes it easier to kneed the dough) and put in a bowl with the rest of the  ingredients, except for the coarse sugar and egg whites.  Kneed the dough until it forms a uniform ball (I did it by hand, but you can of course use a food processor).
  • Put the dough in the fridge for an hour or two, or in the freezer for around 30 minutes.
  • Take out of the fridge/freezer.  Using a roller, roll out the dough until it's around 2 mm thick.  Cut out shapes.  Take the left-over dough, form a ball, and repeat the process.  Do so until there is no more dough left.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper.  Put the cookies on the tray.  Punch small wholes with two toothpicks (if you want to hang the cookies later).  Sprinkle with the coarse sugar, top off with a bit of egg white (the latter is not necessary as the sugar will hold anyway).
  • Bake for around 10-15 minutes until golden.  Monitor the baking closely, especially towards the end, as they cookies can burn very fast.

Bon appetit!


  1. Gabi, I did not know that you are so good in the kitchen and that you find it sooooo fascinating!!!!!!!!! Congrats!!!!!! There are many more sides of you than one could think of!