Oryana Natural Foods Market
Oryana Natural Foods Market
260 East Tenth Street | Traverse City, MI 49684 | (231) 947-0191

Monday - Saturday 7:30am-9:00pm | Sunday 9:00am-7:00pm
To place Café orders call (231) 346-2852 | Closed Christmas Day

Christmas Cookies European

Christmas Cookies - European Style

Christmas baking tradition in Europe features flavorful cookies full of nutty, spicy goodness. Unlike pretty American-style decorated but bland sugar cookies, German, Scandinavian, and other countries' holiday cookies are full of flavor from ingredients like hazelnuts, lemon, and anise. Try one of these easy recipes this holiday season...

 

Haselnussmakronen (Hazelnut Macaroons)

Makes about 2 dozen

2 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch sea salt
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
2 cups ground hazelnuts
whole hazelnuts for decoration

  1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whip the egg whites and salt until stiff. Add the sugar gradually, continuing to mix until shiny.
  3. Fold in the ground hazelnuts until incorporated.
  4. Scoop walnut-sized balls onto the prepared sheets and press a hazelnut into the middle of each.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, then turn off the oven and block open the door slightly. Leave cookies in the oven for 30 minutes. Separate the cookies from the paper with a metal spatula and allow to cool completely.

Linzer Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 ¼ cups natural cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 small eggs
4 cups unbleached flour
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
seedless jelly such as raspberry, lingonberry, strawberry
powdered sugar

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  2. Whisk together the flour and lemon rind in a bowl and then add to egg mixture. Mix until combined. Do not overmix.
  3. Form mixture into a ball and place on a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten into a 6-inch round disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator 2 hours.
  4. Heat oven to 325°F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Dust work surface with flour, cut disk in half and then evenly roll out each half to 1/8 thickness. Cut into heart or round shapes using a cookie cutter, then using a smaller heart  or round shape cookie cutter, cut smaller holes into the centers of half of the cookies. Carefully transfer to parchment paper lined baking sheets.
  5. Bake 10 - 12 minutes until edges are lightly golden. Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Spread jelly over whole cookies. Dust cookies with cut centers with powdered sugar, then place those cookies over the jellied cookies.

Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Stars)

Makes 45 cookies

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, plus more for dusting
4 cups almond meal
1  1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
3 large egg whites, room temperature
finely grated zest from 1 lemon

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  
  2. In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and lemon zest with a whisk.
  3. Whip egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Continue whipping and gradually add remaining confectioners’ sugar. Whites should be thick, creamy, and somewhat stiff. Set aside 2/3 cup of mixture for tops of cookies.
  4. Gently fold egg mixture into almond mixture.
  5. Lay a sheet of parchment paper or waxed paper on a flat work surface. Spoon dough onto paper. Flatten dough with your hands and lightly sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Cover dough with another sheet of paper.
  6. Roll dough between papers to a 1/4-inch thickness. Flip dough over. Gently peel off the top sheet of paper. Sprinkle on a little confectioner’s sugar, place the paper back onto the dough and flip again. Peel other sheet of paper so that the dough is not stuck to either sheet of paper.
  7. Using a 3-inch star-shaped cookie cutter,* cut out cookies and place on prepared baking sheets. Dip cutter in confectioner’s sugar to keep dough from sticking to cutter. Gather and reroll dough as needed.
  8. Use a small metal spatula or small spoon to spread remaining meringue mixture over the top of each cookie. Don’t allow the meringue to drip over the sides. Bake 15 minutes.

*You can get a special star cookie cutter just for making Zimtsterne HERE.

 

Pfeffernüsse (Pepper Nuts)

Makes 2 dozen

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground anise seed
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

  1. Combine the butter, brown sugar and molasses in a large mixing bowl and beat until combined. Add the egg and beat well. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat to combine.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Scoop heaping teaspoonsful of cookie dough and roll into balls. Place the dough balls on 2 greased baking sheets. Bake for 13 minutes, until firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheets for 3 minutes.
  3. Place the powdered sugar in a container with a lid. Drop a few cookies at a time into the powdered sugar, cover and shake gently to coat. Transfer coated cookies to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely. Repeat with all the cookies.

Mandel Halbmonde (Almond Crescents)

Makes about 30 cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup natural cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in extracts. Mix in flour and almonds.
  2. Using about 1 tablespoon of dough for each cookie, shape into logs and bend into crescent shapes. Place on greased or parchment covered cookie sheets and bake 15-18 minutes until light brown. Let cool. Drizzle with melted chocolate.

Danish Cardamom Cookie

1 ½ sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
2 teaspoons cardamom
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 cup powdered sugar
Whole almonds for garnish

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  2. Mix the flour, almonds, and cardamom together in a bowl and stir into the butter mixture.
  3. Roll the dough into balls, about 1 tablespoon per ball and place 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Dip a small drinking glass into powdered sugar and press to flatten the balls to about ½ inch thickness. (First press the glass into the dough to moisten it a little and make the sugar stick.) Press an almond into the top of each cookie. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Italian Anisette Cookies
Makes 30 cookies

1 cup cane sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon anise extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon anise seeds, ground fine*

  1. Heat oven to 350° and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream sugar and butter until combined and fluffy. Add vanilla, anise extract, and eggs and beat until smooth. Add flour and anise and incorporate until just combined. Do not overmix.
  3. Scoop out heaving teaspoons full of dough and roll each into a ball. Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets and press down slightly. Bake until light golden about 12–15 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes and drizzle with glaze. Sprinkle with natural decorative sprinkles if desired.

Glaze
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
4 to 5 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon  anise extract
    
For the glaze: Whisk 1 cup confectioners’ sugar with milk and anise extract in a small bowl until smooth.

*Use a coffee grinder, spice grinder, pepper mill, or mortar and pestle to grind the anise seeds.

Rugelach
Makes 32 cookies

2 sticks butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Eggwash:
1 egg
1 teaspoon cold water
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar     

  1. Beat the butter and cream cheese in a standing mixer using the paddle attachment until combined. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Add flour and mix on low speed, scraping down bowl once. Gather the dough into a ball and knead slightly until  smooth.
  2. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, shape each into a ball, then flatten each ball slightly into thick disks. Wrap discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or longer. To make eggwash, whisk the egg and water together in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into an 8-inch circle. (Work with one ball at a time and keep the other discs refrigerated.) Spread with fillings.
  4. Use a sharp knife or a pizza wheel to cut the circle into 8 equal wedges. Starting at the wide (outside) edge of each wedge, roll it toward its point. Place the rolled wedges, tip down, on the prepared baking sheets. Curve each cookie into a crescent shape. Repeat this process with the remaining dough. Brush eggwash over each rugelach and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Bake at 350 for about 22 minutes until they are puffed and golden. Transfer to racks to cool.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 while making the filling of your choice. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Fillings

Apricot Cinnamon
2/3 cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons natural cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Spread rounds with apricot jam and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Cherry Cinnamon
1 small jar cherry preserves
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Spread rounds with cherry preserves and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Chocolate
1/3 cup cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Combine the sugar and cinnamon. Melt butter and let cool slightly. Brush the butter over the rolled out dough, sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then sprinkle with chocolate chips. Press the chocolate down into the dough.

Honey Walnut
1 cup walnuts
4 tablespoons melted butter
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons natural cane sugar

Grind the walnuts in a food processor, leaving some chunks. Mix with sugar. Combine melted butter and honey in a small bowl. Spread honey-butter mixture over rounds and sprinkle with walnuts.

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