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Baking Holiday Goodies

by the Virtual Chef

After grilling my friends for family recipes, I have a mixed bag of goodies for you.
This first, springerle, is from my husband's Swiss heritage. It isn't Christmas around
here without these anise flavored goodies.



Springerle

5 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. whole anise seed, crushed
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
12 drops anise oil
1/2 tsp. grated orange zest

Beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in sugar, beating well. Add the anise oil and
orange zest. Toss the flour and baking powder together and add a bit at a time to egg
mixture, stirring in last bit with spoon if necessary. Roll out 1/2 inch thick. Lightly
grease cookie sheets  and sprinkle with anise seeds, crushed. Mark cakes with a
springerle board or rolling pin and cut into squares. Set on seed covered pans. Cover
with a linen cloth and let stand at room temperature overnight. Bake for 12-15 minutes
at 300 degrees Farhenheit or until bottoms are a light straw color.
Store in airtight container at least one week before eating. If they get to hard, add a slice
of apple to the tin.




This next recipe is a favorite in my neighbor's Italian family

Black Pepper Cookies

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg
2 Tbsp.milk
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup nuts.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the molasses and the egg. Sift together the
flour, the salt, baking powder, pepper, cinnamon, ginger. Add to creamed ingredients
along with 2 tbps. milk. Stir in nuts and fruit. Spoon onto greased sheet and bake for 15
minutes at 350.



From my mother's Scot's family comes this recipe for sour cream cookies.

Sour Cream Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup (about) pecan halves

Mix butter and sugar together until creamy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the
flour, sour cream, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg. Blend well. Drop by tsp. on a greased
baking sheet. Top each cookie with a pecan half. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes. Cool on
racks.



And from a German family tradition comes:

Leb Kuchen (Old Fashioned Ginger Cookies)

2 cups shortening, melted
3 cups sorghum molasses
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
8 cups flour ( + -)
2 tbsp. soda
1 tbsp. ginger
1 tbps. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 ts/ vanilla

Heat the molasses and sugar together. When the sugar has dissolved, add the
shortening and stir until it is melted. Cool to lukewarm. Sift flour, salt, soda and spices
together. Add sifted ingredients alternately with the buttermilk.  Add vanilla. Stir until
a soft dough forms. Work  dough with hands for 5 minutes and let rest in refrigerator
for several hours or overnight. Turn dough out on lightly floured board and roll to 1/4
inch thickness. Cut with a large round cooke cutter or a doughnut cutter with the inner
circle removed. Glaze with a beaten egg. Place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake
at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Makes 8 dozen large cookies.






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