Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Alsatian Christmas cookies

Alsatian Christmas cookies / Biscoitos de Natal da Alsácia

One of my favorite expressions in the English language is “a hidden gem” – I find if perfect to describe certain things. To me, “Killing Them Softly”, an excellent movie no one I know has watched, is a hidden gem, with its great script, powerful performances – especially Ben Mendelsohn’s, whom I’d already loved in the fantastic “Animal Kingdom” – and equally powerful directing. Another hidden gem is Tish Boyle’s amazing “The Good Cookie”, which I bought ages ago – it took me a long time to start using this book (and I don’t even have an explanation for that) but nowadays it’s the first cookbook I reach for when I want to bake cookies. These delicious cookies, heavy on the cinnamon flavor – which I love – were made into beautiful little stars in Boyle’s hands, but worked perfectly as slice and bake cookies, too – I am sure that even if you’re not battling the heat as I have been lately you’ll love this more practical and quick way of baking them.

Oh, and the lovely Christmas tags you see on the photo - and that now are decorating my tree - were found here.

Alsatian Christmas cookies
slightly adapted from an amazing book

2 ¼ cups (225g) almond meal
2 ¾ cups (330g) cake flour*
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup + 1 tablespoon (240g) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg, lightly beaten with a fork and a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Place the almond meal, cake flour, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
In an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the egg, then the vanilla. At low speed, add the dry ingredients 1/3 at a time and mix just until blended. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Place each on a piece of parchment paper; shape dough into logs. Fold parchment over dough; using a ruler, roll and press into a 3.5 cm (1.4in) log – like Martha does here. Wrap in parchment. Chill in freezer until very firm.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F; line two large baking sheets with baking paper.
Unwrap one log at a time (keep the other in the freezer). Cut into 6mm (¼in) thick rounds; space 2.5cm (1in) apart onto prepared sheets. Lightly brush each slice with the egg glaze and sprinkle with the granulated sugar.
Bake for 17-22 minutes or until they are set and their bottoms are evenly golden brown. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on wire racks for about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the racks and cool completely. Repeat the process with the other dough log.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

* homemade cake flour: 1 cup all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons corn starch

Makes about 60 cookies


anilou said...

Once again Patricia, I have all the ingredients on hand. Excellent, I will be making these lovelies.
Thank goodness for air conditioning, we are pretty hot here too (Adelaide, Sth. Aust.) at the moment.

julie said...

Better late than never ;) Alsace is the ultimate spot for Christmas cookie baking in France, no wonder these are so delicious!

Laura (Tutti Dolci) said...

What lovely cookies, Patricia! I must try them!

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