Baking time has arrived again as I get ready for gift giving. Gone are the days of baking six cookie varieties as I used to do when my folks still lived nearby. I did the family baking and we split the cookies between us to give away. Since they moved south to San Diego and we don't see each other until the holiday, I keep the baking simpler. This year I am making three of the family traditional cookies, Hazelnut Meringues, Chocolate Drops, and Springerle (an anise sugar cookie).
So, listening to selections from Sting's "If on a Winter's Night", and "An American Christmas" by The Boston Camerata and Joel Cohen....Ready, set, bake! What do you bake by?
Egg whites ready for the addition of ground nuts. I remember the days of having to shell the filberts/hazelnuts (anyone know why are these nuts are known by two names?), and then grind them in a Mouli grinder (saying that probably dates me, and no, we did not walk six miles to school in the snow..) ...so much easier now with buying nuts at Trader Joe's ...and using food processors.
Nuts folded in, and batter ready for baking..
And finally the Springerle...since Mom has the traditional decorative rolling pin that creates patterns on the cookies as they are rolled out, I hand cut plain squares, along with some in festive shapes for a change.
With the house is sweetly scented from baking, I will leave you with the Springerle recipe below. The Hazelnut Meringues and Chocolate Drops recipes can be found on this post from last year. If you try out the recipes...may they bring as much enjoyment as they bring to our family and friends! (And if you would like all of the recipes, including suprises not on this blog, leave your email in the comments section and I will send them along!)
2 C sifted sugar
3 C flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 C additional flour, approximately
2 Tbl. anise seeds
Sift 3 C flour and baking powder together. Beat eggs until light, gradually adding sugar and beat until creamy. Add flour mix. Sprinkle ½ C flour on pastry board, knead into dough, add about ½ C more flour to stiffen dough. Roll out to a” thickness If using springerle mold, roll on to dough and cut out squares. If not, cut into about 2" squares. On lightly greased cookie sheets, sprinkle with anise seeds, placing cookies on the sheet. Let dry 12 hours uncovered, in a cool dry place. Bake 300º, 15 minutes until lower part is light golden. Makes 5 dozen.