Well, the time has come. Christmas Cookie mayhem! Cookies are ev.ery.where.!
We had some pretty fun flash flood storming here in Northern California last week, and the rain has continued this week! It’s great, we need it!
I think that almost everyone has some variety of a holiday cookie tradition in their family. My sisters and I have always just done our typical sugar cookie decorated with icing and tons of different fun sprinkles. We’d leave them out on Christmas Eve with Diet Pepsi for Santa Mom (cough cough).
Anyways, back to theeese cookies. This month we’re making international cookies! I had a lot of cookie brainstorming goin on earlier in the month (so many recipes to try, so little time)…and if it weren’t like the busiest time of the year ever right now (my sister just came home from Spain for the holidays, and I have my culinary school finals this week) I totally would have done one of the other ideas I had.
I initially wanted to do Norwegian Krumkake. My mom’s side of the family is super Norwegian, and she always made Krumkake at the holidays. Buuut I didn’t get to buying the special iron you need early enough, so that was out.
I also thought about Rugelach! I am half Jewish, so I somewhat celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. I’m not religious at all, but I’ve always identified with my cultural background…and I’ve always found it fun to celebrate more than one holiday. Ran out of time for planning on that too.
Linzer cookies are actually a take on the Austrian Linzer Torte traditionally made with almonds and black currant preserves. I made them with Pecans for a more December-y vibe, and with the American-ized raspberry jam filling. Though I had wanted to experiment with other international cookies for this CCE event, I am so glad I went with these tasty guys. YUM.
Linzer Cookies: (Adapted from William Sonoma)
2 1/2 cups ap flour
2/3 cup pecans, toasted
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
12 oz unsalted butter, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Raspberry Jam for filling
Powdered sugar for dusting
In your food processor, grind together the flour, nuts and salt until the pecans are fine. Set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium high until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Next add half of the dry ingredients, and mix on low until it comes together. Add in the rest, and mix again until all the flour is incorporated. Divide into two, and wrap in plastic (flatten into a disk) and chill for at least 2 hours.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough at a time. With cookie cutters, cut out different shapes. Half of your cookies should have a window to display the jam after they’re baked and filled. Transfer to a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes until lightly golden. Allow to cool before filling and sandwiching. Fill each with about a teaspoon of jam. Serve dusted with powdered sugar.
There ya go. It’s such a simple but tasty little holiday treat. The pecans really helped to make me feel the December season in full gear.
You can totally use another nut and filling, which is why Linzers are so great. Very adaptable, and always delicious! This little Austrian cookie is perfect for this time of year full of family fun and holiday excitement.
The theme this month is International Winter Holiday Cookies! If it is a cookie traditionally made somewhere in the world for a holiday traditionally observed near the Winter Solstice you might find it on this list. If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.
You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes–be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:
- Almondy Delites from Indian Curries/stew
- Besitos de Coco – Coconut Kisses from Food Lust People Love
- Chocolate Chip and Mandarin Orange Cookie Bars from NinjaBaking
- Zimsterne – German Christmas Cookies from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Norwegian Almond Cookies from Magnolia Days
- Polish Vanilla Hazelnut Crescent Cookies (Ciasteczka Waniliowe) from The Spiced Life
- Rugelach from A Baker’s House
- Stained Glass Cookies from Spiceroots
- Swedish Rye Cookies from What Smells So Good?