Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I want snow! Snow to go with the presents, and the music, and the lights. And the cookies! Behold, Christmas cookie extravaganza, Swiss style. Too late, you say? It is never too late for cookies. I can assure you, they will be well-received at your place of employment long into January. I try to keep the holiday spirit up until Candlemas, most of the time. Alternatively, just consider yourself well-prepared for this year's Christmas.

The ingredients of the recipes are listed in the order of their appearance.


The most essential Christmas cookie. Both pretty and delicious. If you're not gonna make these, why bother?

250g butter
125g sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 egg white (white only)
350g flour (normal flour. None of that self-raising kind.)

For the filling: redcurrant gelée

The way you prepare the batter is always the same, for all the cookies. With a mixer, soften the butter, then mix with the sugar, the vanilla sugar, and the salt. Add the egg, mix everything until smooth. Add the flour bit by bit, always making sure that all of it is absorbed into the mass. The dough should be firm but malleable. If it still sticks to your fingers, carefully add more flour.
Put the dough in the fridge for half an hour. Prepare your working surface with flour (so the dough doesn't stick), then flatten the dough with a roller to about 3mm of thickness. Or thin-ness, rather. Use a round cookie cutter for the bottom and a round one with an added hole of some sort to make tops.

Bake at 200° C for about five minutes. They should become golden at best, but certainly not brown. See the brown one in the center of the picture? Too long.

Once they've cooled, fill them with no more than half a tea spoon of redcurrant jelly. Blackcurrant is also good. You can warm the jelly to a liquid state to smoothen it, but it has to cool again before it can be used to fill the cookies.


The typical Christmas cookie. In my family, most often eaten before baking occurs. They're the ones at the top, angel-shaped.

250g butter
250g sugar
1 pinch of salt
3 eggs
grated skin of one lemon
500g flour

1 additional egg yolk, beaten, for glazing.

Again, add the ingredients to the bowl in this order. The lemon should be organic, if ever possible. After its stunt in the fridge, flatten the dough to a thickness of about 5mm. Use cookie cutters of choice. Glaze the cookies with the beaten egg yolk before baking them for 10 minutes at 200°C. Those are allowed to brown a little. Just a little.

Sablés with Chili

One of my favourites, both for easy preparation and unexpected taste.

175g butter
75g sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 red chili, seeds removed, chopped into tiny bits
250g flour

Mix the ingredients as above. Note that, since it's all held together by the butter in the absence of an egg, it might feel a little less "solid" than the others. Once everything is assembled, roll the dough into a roll (the poetry of it!) of approximately 5cm in diameter. Place in the fridge for an hour.
Cut the dough into rounds of 1cm thickness, bake at 200°C for roughly 8 minutes.

It all looks so easy, doesn't it? It is. It's also ridiculously time consuming. I think I made about 400 units that day.

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