Are you tired of sugar cookies yet? Does the idea of one more piece of shortbread make your stomach lurch? Do you get a headache at the thought of consuming yet another snickerdoodle? If so, you might just be suffering from Christmas cookie overload.
But don’t worry, help is here – when you’re tired of the same old, same old treats on the table, you need to try something different. And by different I mean from an entirely different country.
This week on Shelly’s Friday Favourites, we’re taking a look at Christmas cookies from around the world. Some use hard-boiled egg yolks, others have ricotta cheese. But the one thing they all have in common? They’re really delicious.
This German cookie is also known as ‘Fancy Butter’ cookies. They use hard-boiled egg yolks that you strain and then beat with butter and sugar.
To make a huge batch, be sure to have a few Wilton cookie sheets on hand.
1-1/8 cup butter, softened
1-1/8 cup sugar
2-1/2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
2-1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons condensed milk
1 egg yolk
Hard boil the 3 eggs in boiling water (about 10 minutes) and let cool. Peel the eggs and reserve the yolks. Discard egg whites. Pass the egg yolks through a chinoise or strainer. Beat the yolks with the butter , sugar, and vanilla sugar until creamy. Sift the flour and add to the butter mixture. Mix well. Wrap in plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Roll out dough on a floured board to 1/8″ thick. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters and place cookies on cookie sheet. Mix the raw egg yolk with the condensed milk and brush the top of each cookie with this mixture. Bake for about 18 minutes or until lightly golden. Yield depends on size of cookie cutters used.
This Italian treat looks like those beloved Tim Bits we’re all so familiar with, but it definitely doesn’t taste like one. Also known as an Italian donut, these have ricotta cheese to add that something special.
To make Zeppole you need a deep fryer that’s an immersion style like the Cuisinart Deep Fryer.
2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Heat oil in a deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
In a medium saucepan, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir in the eggs, ricotta cheese and vanilla. Mix gently over low heat until combined. Batter will be sticky.
Drop by tablespoons into the hot oil a few at a time. Zeppole will turn over by them selves. Fry until golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Drain in a paper sack and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm.
Danish Oatmeal Cookies
I love oatmeal cookies, but you don’t often see them around at Christmas time. These are a Danish must-have, and they remind me of an oatmeal/shortbread hybrid. They’re amazing with pecans or without.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, or as
Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate large bowl, mix the butter, 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in the flour mixture; gently stir in the oatmeal and pecans and lightly mix until combined.
With a spoon, drop about 1 scant tablespoon of dough per cookie onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely before sprinkling cookies with confectioners’ sugar.
It’s nice to mix things up once in awhile, so venture out of your comfort zone and tantalize your taste buds with some new Christmas cookies this year.