A CookBook Recipes & Other Stuff or How to Keep the Kids from Developing Beriberi After They've Moved Away From Home

Friday, December 22, 2006


Stollen is another Christmas tradition - it is what I eat when half awake on Christmas morning with butter and lots of coffee - it keeps me awake while everyone opens presents at some ungodly hour ...

2 envelope yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water (105°F)

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup butter

1 cup milk, scalded

5 to 6 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup raisins or 2 cups raisins, apricots, whatever ..

1/2 cup walnuts

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water with sugar.

Let it proof for about 5 minutes

Stir butter into scalded milk; cool to lukewarm

Add milk mixture, 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and eggs to dissolved yeast

Stir until dough is smooth

Add flour to make a soft dough

Knead until dough is elastic

Place in a greased bowl and let rise until double

Divide dough in two and knead in raisins and nuts

Divide each half into three parts and braid

Cover and let rise again

Brush with beaten egg wash

Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes

Brush with melted butter and sift powdered sugar all over

12/19/07 I never make anything the same way twice ...

This time I added the fruits with the milk and eggs - and I used 2 cups of fruit instead of one


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Plain Old Christmas Cookies

These are what I like in those "generic" Christmas cookies - the ones rolled and cut out with cookie cutters and decorated with all kinds of gaudy stuff - I think they should be sandy ( what the French call "sable") in texture, with lots of buttery taste. I suppose some people like cookies that are pale and soft - soft is good for chocolate chip cookies, not these - but hard is not the aim either - they should be, well - sandy ...

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

1 cup (packed) brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 2/3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Various Decorations - Cinnamon and sugar, colored sugars, ground nuts ...

Beat butter and sugar together

Add egg and vanilla ( the vanilla can be left out if you want to save money and use some other spice) and mix well.

Add flour, salt ( if you are using salted butter, you need only a pinch of salt), baking powder, and nutmeg (you could substitute cinnamon or allspice - actually, I only used about 1/8 tsp nutmeg - I don't think here more is better - a little spice goes a long way) in two batches. It will be a bit crumbly - kinda like pie dough.

Divide dough into 2 and knead about 5 or 6 times - shaping into a flat disk - place in plastic bag and refrigerate for about 3 hours - repeat with second half. Actually, wax paper is what I usually use to wrap the dough, it's rather under rated these days - but it's good for lots of things, including being microwaveable and cheap.

Take the dough out while the oven heats to 350F. Roll about 1/8 inch thick - this is not Rocket Science - no rulers are necessary!

Cut with small cookie cutters - I don't think these are as good as big cookies - but if you do make various sizes, do them in separate batches so the cooking time will be the same for all the cookies on one sheet.

Place cookies on parchment lined sheet - theses don't spread, so they can be close together. With a pastry brush (or your fingers), glaze the cookies with beaten egg ( this is an extra egg - for glue and to make them shiny- I know it's not listed above in the ingredients, but I often forget to add this glazing egg to recipes ...). The decorate with whatever you like, and then place cookie sheet in the freezer for about 5 minutes.

Bake for about 10 minutes and then remove and let cool.

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Raspberry Filled Cookies That Suck (AKA Linzer Cookies)

They don't suck!

This are my favorite Christmas cookies - they were renamed too many years ago to count by Chris - who was more enamored of peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies than my latest triumph - but I persisted. Even after all these years, none of my children like them - but this fact deters me not in the least! Every Christmas I make them without fail ...
After all, the true meaning of Christmas is Hope.

8 ounces almonds

1/2 cup cornstarch

1.5 cups ( 3 sticks) butter

1.5 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

0.25 teaspoons salt

1 egg

2.75 cups flour

0.75 cups seedless raspberry jam

Extra powdered sugar for dusting cookies

Grind nuts in coffee grinder or food processor with the cornstarch

In another bowl beat butter and sugar until fluffy

Beat in vanilla, egg, and salt

Gradually mix in nuts and flour

Mix until just blended

Divide the sticky dough into four equal disks ( you can use a bit more flour as you shape these)

Wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours

Preheat oven to 325F

Let dough warm while the oven heats if it is too stiff

Roll out on flour covered counter and cut into rounds - use something small - like a deocorative sugar top - to cut out the centers of half the cookies.

Place on a parchment covered sheet and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Bake for about 15 minutes (always check a few minutes early) about one inch apart.

When cookies are cool, spread jam on bottom half of cookies and place a cutout top on each one. With a small strainer, sift powdered sugar over the cookies.

These can be frozen, but it's probably best to freeze them plain and defrost assemble them just before serving - because they might get soggy and you'll have to resift more sugar over the top ...

This year (2012) I used almond meal instead of grinding up the almonds myself - it saved time and they turned out just as good!

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