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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas cookies’

Christmas Cookies Like fog rolling in and stealing the sun, winter doldrums came and swept over me. Even though it’s not officially winter yet, I’ve been feeling kind of blue these last couple of weeks. Realizing this, I knew I desperately needed a special kind of therapy – cookie therapy. Luckily, a friend sensed my mood and we set up a “therapy session.” Baking and decorating cookies with reckless creativity and chatting and laughing made my case of wintertime blues disappear.

#1 – The Cookies
The cookies featured in the photo above are my holiday version of my Valentine’s Day Cookies. Click the link for the recipe and directions. These decorated shortbread cookies are cheerful to look at and delicious to devour!

#2 – Edible Gifts
60 Ideas For Homemade Edible Gifts If Chocolate-Covered Bacon, Earl Grey Kumquat Marmalade, or Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti sound delicious to you, just think how impressed your friends will be when you give them one of these edible gifts. PopSugar’s post Over 60 Ideas For Homemade Edible Gifts is filled with intriguing and interesting ideas. Some of them take advance planning such as making homemade limoncello or vanilla extract.

#3 – In The Mirrored Room
Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room - the Souls of Millions of Light Years Away Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama created an art installation called the “Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away” that is both breathtaking and surreal. Lucky New York City folk can visit this amazing installation until December 21st at the David Zwirner Gallery. How I wish I could step into that room!

#4 – Finding Courage
How to Find Courage In the Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion sought to find courage, not knowing it was already within him. Each day we face a variety of struggles, most of which we deal with and then we move on with our lives. To do this requires courage. Like the Cowardly Lion, many of us don’t realize that we already possess the courage we need to face issues. We just need to uncover it. While reading an online magazine this morning, I came across an article by Steve Keating called How to Find Courage. Although it was written by a business man for a target audience, its message is applicable for everyone.

#5 – Never Too Late
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Go Now and Spread Joy!

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Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without Christmas cookies. After all, how would Santa maintain his energy during his night-long trip, if no one left out a plate of cookies for him? When my daughter and her friends were looking for something to do the other day, I suggested they bake Christmas cookies. Narrowing down which Christmas cookie to bake was easy for my daughter. The recipe for Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies, a holiday family favorite of ours, is one of the first recipes I received from my mother-in-law after I first got married. No, her family did not originate from Yugoslavia and no, I don’t know the history behind this beloved recipe. I do know, however, that the combination of the buttery cake/cookie crust, slathered with red currant jelly, and topped with a delicate lemony-nutty-meringue is worth savoring. Some recipes were meant to be kept in the family, but others, like this one, beg to be shared! Happy Holidays!

Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies
Adapted from a family recipe

Bottom Layer Ingredients:
1/2 pound butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2½ cup flour, sifted

Middle Layer Ingredient:
1 cup blackberry or currant jelly, stirred

Top layer Ingredients:
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup ground walnuts
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream butter and 1/2 cup sugar thoroughly. Add egg yolk and salt.
3. Sift flour and stir into butter mixture. Pat dough into a 9-inch by 13-inch pan.
4. Beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually add 1 cup sugar. Continue beating until egg whites are a meringue consistency.
5. Fold in ground walnuts and lemon extract. Set aside.
6. Spread slightly whipped jelly on dough crust and swirl meringue over the jelly layer.
7. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
8. Bake for 40 minutes.

Makes 3 dozen squares.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Please note there are two ingredient entries each for sugar and for nuts. I have italicized the measurements in the recipe text to avoid any confusion.

2. After baking, these cookies must be allowed to completely cool in the pan. They are much easier to cut once cooled, since the jelly will not be as “oozy.”

3. When cutting these cookies, remember that the meringue layer is fragile. The meringue will crack, but that’s okay. It’s part of the charm of these cookies!

4. Since they are a little messy to serve and eat, I always serve these cookies in muffin/cupcake papers. See photo.

Enjoy!

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