Cookies around Christmas Time

Now, 12 days before Christmas, I start getting into the mood…it’s feeling a lot like Christmas!
Today, I tried to create a new, not-so-traditional cookies and since they turned out being really yummy and refreshing, I thought I share the recipes with you.

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Orange-Almond bits

for the dough:
400g white flour, me 00
125g icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Vanilla extract
1 egg
200g cold butter, cut in pieces

Filling:
Juice of 1 Orange, set 3 tablespoons apart
Orange zest of 1 orange
125g finely ground almonds
125g caster sugar

Glazing:
3 tablespoons orange juice
80g icing sugar

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, add the egg and butter, I used my Kenwood Food Processor to make a smooth dough. Takes only a few minutes, of course, if you want build muscles in your fingers and arms, feel free to knead manually.

For the filling:
Mix the orange juice, orange zest, almonds and sugar, stir until smooth.
Heat the oven to 180c.

Cut the dough in half and roll the dough on a baking paper into a rectangle of approx 30×40 cm, same with the other half. Now spread the filling evenly on one dough rectangle, leave 1cm on each side free. Cover with the other half, press the edges well with a fork and punch some holes into the top.

Bake for 25 minutes. Maybe 30 if the surface is still too soft.

Meanwhile stir the remaining orange juice and the icing sugar very well until you get a creamy glazing. Remove the giant cookie from the oven and immediately apply the glazing.
Let it dry well and then cut the dough into small cookie bits, depends on your taste, i cut it into 2×2 cm squares.

The bits remain fresh for 3 weeks if stored in a tin. But I doubt they will last that long…

Ginger-Brunsli

Ginger-what? Brunsli are very traditional Swiss Christmas cookies. I tried to make them with a twist. Actually, I altered not only the recipe, but also the shape.

You will need:

200g caster sugar
250g finely ground almonds
3 tablespoons white flour, me 00
2 egg whites, beaten until very stif
100g chocolate, bitter, me Lindt 65%, broken in bits
Boiling water
1 tablespoon freshly grind ginger or ginger powder
1 tablespoon candied ginger, finely chopped

Sugar, ginger powder to form cookies

And here’s how to do them:

Stir the sugar, almonds, flour in a bowl. Add the beaten egg white, blend together

In a separate bowl, pour boiling water over the chocolate bits and let melt for 2-3 minutes. Test with a toothpick if the chocolate has melted. Drain the water carefully, then stir the ginger, fresh or powder, into the chocolate. Blend the chocolate with the other mix until smooth. The mix remains quite fluffy and moist. Now comes the fun part: mix sugar and ginger and add some to the palms of your hands, take some of the moist mix (size of a walnut) and form a ball, place it on a baking sheet. Continue until the entire mix is used up.
If you have sugar/ginger mix left, spread it evenly on the balls, using a sieve.
Flatten the balls pulling them gently with the straight bottom side of a glas or cup.
Decorate each cookie with some of the chopped candied ginger.
Let dry over night. The next day, bake them for 4 minutes at 220c in the preheated oven.
Again, in a tin they remain fresh for two weeks, really? They won’t last neither:-)

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Amalf-isi Lemon & Almond Cake

One more, then I stop baking for a while. Next week will be busy and the week after I will finally be in Greece again…for work, but still looking very much forward to it, I will do a weekend “add-on”, stay tuned for my next travel report:-)
Ok, back to baking! Remember? I was at the Farmer’s Market and bought those fantastic lemons from Amalfi, so now they needed to be used, else ….
This is a recipe which could also be called: throw into the dough whatever you have left over from former baking/cooking
Me I used
120g sugar, white raw
3 eggs
100g butter
100g grind almonds
2 lemons, zest of 1, juice of 1 for the dough, juice of the 2nd for syrup
Vanilla sugar
125g blanc battu (nature yogurt, cream cheese works too)
1 teaspoon baking powder
170 g flour
2 tablespoons of sweet condensed milk (optional, I just had to finish that one too)
20g powder sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 180c.
Blend the sugar and eggs until creamy, add the soft butter in small pieces, stir until smooth, add lemon zest, juice of 1 lemon, condensed milk, blanc battu, stir again until smooth, add almonds, stir again, add flour, baking powder, vanilla sugar, stir again until smooth. The dough remains moist and fluffy, that’s okay, don’t worry!
Prepare a cake pan of aporox 28cm long, if you use those silicon-wonders, no need to butter it, if you are traditional like me, use baking paper to avoid the cake sticking to the pan.
Pour the dough into the cake pan, shake it softly so that the dough is evenly distributed. With a sharp knife, make a cut lengthwise in the middle of the dough, that will make it look very nice:-)

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Bake in oven for 55-60 minutes, use a toothpick to test if the cake is done..it will be, as soon as no more dough sticks to the toothpick.

Mix the lemon juice with the powder sugar and bring it to boil in a small pan, it should end up being a syrup. Then, remove the cake from the oven, let it cool a few minutes. With a toothpick or knife, make holes in the cake and drizzle the syrup into the holes and over the entire cake.
Let it dry in the pan for a few minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and let it cool.
Eat it today or tomorrow or in a few days, this cake remains fresh for quite a while.

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