Christmas is just a few days away. Don't throw together a dessert that you know everyone is going to bring to the Christmas party, make a cookie that's traditional on the other side of the world!
Speculaas is a type of Dutch shortcrust biscuit (also known as a windmill cookie) that is infused with many popular warming spices. This cookie is known for being consumed on St Nicholas’ Day in the Netherlands. It can come in a variety of different shapes and sizes.
- 2 1/4 cups flour, plus extra to dust the counter
- 1 1/2 sticks butter
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar, packed
- pinch salt
- 2-4 tablespoons ice-cold water or milk
Sift the flour in a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces. I put the butter in the freezer for 30 minutes and use the grove grater.
Mix cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and white pepper in a bowl.
Add butter, brown sugar and salt to the bowl. Add ice-cold water or milk and mix everything together until you have a dark brown dough that sticks together.
Shape the dough into a ball. You may need to add one to two more tablespoons of water or milk. I usually place everything on the counter because that makes it easier to work the dough.
Cover the dough ball in clear wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dust the counter with flour and roll the dough until it is 1/2-inch thick. Transfer onto a baking sheet covered with baking paper.
Press the almonds into the dough and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
Let the Speculaas cool down on a rack and break into pieces when all cooled down.
(Variation: Roll the dough into a roll and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Add almonds and bake.)
Kourambiethes (Greek Christmas Cookies)
Kourambiethes are traditionally served for Greek Christmas but are also known as the Greek Wedding cookie. This shortbread cookie is typically made with a whole almond in the middle and flavored with vanilla, brandy, and/or rose water. If you have the chance to visit Greece, you will see these cookies almost everywhere!
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 egg yolk
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon brandy (can sub with orange juice)
- 2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 350F.
Place butter in bowl and whip until light and fluffy, about 10-15 minutes.
Add egg yolk and blend with whipped butter.
Add in ¼ cup powdered sugar, vanilla, and brandy. Mix well.
Add flour and mix until soft dough is formed. Use more flour as needed.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Break off small pieces of dough, form into a small ball (or whatever size you like).
Pinch the center of the dough ball to flatten a bit and place on baking sheet.
Repeat until all dough it used.
Bake in the oven for 20-25mins, or until bottoms of cookies are golden brown
Remove Kourambiethes from oven and place on cooling rack for 10-15mins.
Sprinkle remaining powdered sugar over them - the more the better!
Kolaczki (Polish filled cookies)
For the pastry:
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 3/4 cup dried apricots (or other dried fruit)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Cream the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy
Stir in flour and salt
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Roll out the dough by first dusting the surface (mat or counter top) with sugar
Roll to 1/4 inch and cut into 2-inch squares
Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each square
Fold over opposite corners and seal well
Bake for 15 minute or until corners just begin to brown
Cool and dust with powdered sugar
For the filling:
Add apricots and water to a saucepan
Add 2 tablespoons sugar
Simmer until apricots are tender, about 15 minutes
Mash or puree with immersion blender
To get more recipes, visit jennywiththegoodeats.com.