Christmas Cookies

Apart from gingerbread and Stollen we made 6 different kinds of Christmas cookies this year: speculoos, poppy-seed dots (with apricot jam), ginger biscuits, aniseed biscuits, Linzeraugen (typical Austrian jam filled butter biscuits) and coconut macaroons (not in the image). Find the recipes below.

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Aniseed biscuits:

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 flour
  • 4 tbsp aniseed (whole)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
Beat the eggs and the sugar until foamy. Add the flour, 2 tsp of aniseed (grind them in a mortar before), the baking powder and the vanilla extract.

Preheat your oven to 150 ° C (fan). Using a pastry bag pipe small circles onto a lined baking tray – note that the piped circles will flatten and increase in diameter, so leave enough space between them. Sprinkle each circle with a little bit of the remaining (whole) aniseed. Leave the raw biscuits to rest for 15 minutes. Befor putting them in the oven and baking them for 10 minutes. They should only brown very lightly. Let them cool completely before storing them in cookie jars.

Poppy seed dots:

  • 160g butter (unsalted)
  • 200g flour
  • 100g (ground) poppy seeds
  • 1 egg
  • 80g icing sugar
  • 10g vanilla sugar
  • jam for the filling (apricot or cherry fit best)

Mix all ingredients except for the jam in a bowl and knead the dough until smooth. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap it with cling film and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180 °C (fan). Form the dough into little balls (this works well on a floured surface). Place the balls on a lined baking tray and flatten them slightly. Using the handle of a wooden cooking spoon press a small dent in the middle of each cookie. Bake them for 10 minutes.

In the meantime heat up the jam. Fill the cookies with the jam while still warm and let them cool completely before storing them in cookie jars.

Speculoos:

  • 150g butter (unsalted)
  • 125g demerara sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 300g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • flaked almonds (optional)

Beat the eggs, the butter and the sugar until foamy (about 10 minutes). Stir in the spices, the flour and the baking powder. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap with cling film, refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan). On a floured surface roll out the dough (about 3mm thick) and cut it into rectangles.

Optional: Coat the bottom side of the cookies with the flaked almonds and press or cut decorative patterns into the top side of the cookies.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let them cool completely before storing them in cookie jars.

Ginger biscuits:

  • 50g crystallised ginger
  • 220g flour
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 150g butter (unsalted)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp rose water
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Dice the ginger very finely. Combine all ingredients except for the butter in a bowl. Grate the butter (it should be cold) into the bowl and knead the ingredients into a smooth dough. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap with cling film, refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan). On a floured surface roll out the dough (about 3mm thick)  and cut out cookies. Bake for 10 minutes – the cookies should only brown lightly. Let them cool completely before storing them in cookie jars.

Linzeraugen:

  • 250g butter (unsalted)
  • 125g sugar
  • 10g vanilla sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 350 g flour
  • jam (red current is the traditional option)

Separate the egg and lightly beat the egg white using a fork (it will not stiffen). Combine all ingredients (including egg white and yolk) and knead into a smooth dough. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap with cling film, refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan). On a floured surface roll out the dough (about 3mm thick)  and cut out cookies. You will need to cut every shape at list twice: for each cookie you need a bottom half and a top half that has one or more holes (you can use straws to do add the holes).

Bake for 10 minutes – the cookies should only brown lightly. Let them cool completely before putting the two halves together with a layer of jam in between. You should see the jam through the hole in the top half. Let the jam dry slightly before storing the cookies in cookie jars.

Coconut macaroon:

  • 4 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 200g desiccated coconut

Preheat the oven to 150°C (fan). Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are stiff. Fold in the sugar and the coconut.

Place little heaps onto a lined backing tray using a teaspoon and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the edges start to get brown. The cookies should only brown lightly. Let them cool before storing in a cookie jar.

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