The first two things that I made to kick off my holiday baking were these pastry cookies called Kringle Cutouts. This recipe won the 2010 Holiday Cookie Contest sponsored by our local newspaper. I practically grew up on the Danish pastry called Kringle in my hometown of Racine, Wisconsin. Quoting from Wikipedia, "Racine claims to be the largest North American settlement of Danes outside of Greenland. The city is particularly known for its Danish pastries, especially kringle. Several local bakeries have been featured on the Food Network."
I invite you to join him in singing a Danish version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!
Another Scandanavian-style recipe I found here. These beautiful star-shaped cookies can also be turned into tree ornaments by using a plastic drinking straw and cutting out a hole in one of the star tips. You can find the recipes for both holiday treats at the end of this post.
Since the holidays are all about friends and family, I'd like to share two adorable white decorations I have received from thoughtful cyber friends recently. The first came from my friend, Monique, at La Table de Nana. We've been cyber friends since 2002! Monique knows I have been a collector of Annalee Christmas decorations since my daughters were little girls. We both have two daughters, and now we both have grandsons. We became friends sharing our love of gardening and that has continued with our love of cooking...
For our Christmas table I did Christmas Tree napkins! You can find the tutorial here.
I used touches of gold and silver mixed into the predominantly white table. A crystal bowl filled with white and silver ornaments was the centerpiece. A couple of snow birds to cheer the table covered with a white damask table cloth. The gold chargers are from World Market.
As the sun sets, the table takes on a golden hue and we'll feel snug and warm inside as the night light changes the white snow to blue.
Adapted from the 2010 Christmas Cookie Contest Winner
(sponsored by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Newspaper)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut in chunks
1 cup sour cream
Icing (see recipe below)
In medium bowl, combine flour and salt.Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add sour cream, first stirring and then kneading with your hands. Dough will be slightly sticky. Shape dough into a ball, cover and refrigerate 1 hour. Remove dough from refrigerator and let sit for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough into 2 equal parts. Roll out on lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness, adding more flour, if needed if dough becomes too sticky. Cut out with 2-3 inch round (plain or scalloped-edge) cookie cutter. I used this great gadget from Pampered Chef to both cut them out and seal them.
Place about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, depending on the size of your circles, of raspberry jam on center of circle. Fold in half and gently pat edges together to form a seam. If a little filling oozes out during baking, that's alright, you'll be able to tell what filling is inside ;)
Bake in preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. (Mine took a little longer). Cool completely on racks.
Pipe icing over cooled cookies decoratively using a pastry bag or a zip-lock bag with a corner snipped off.
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla)
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
In bowl, combine all ingredients, stirring until smooth.
Scandanavian Snowflake Cookies
Adapted from food dot com
Makes about 30 Snowflake Cookies
2 cups plain flour
1 cup icing sugar
11 tablespoons/150g of chilled butter, cubed
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
Milk, to mix
4 ounces of your favorite white icing
Edible glitter or edible sparkling cake dusting powder
Place flour and the icing sugar in a food processor. Process for 30 seconds. Add butter. Process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg and vanilla. Process until dough comes together. If it is too dry, add some milk.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth. Press or roll into a 9"/20cm circle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
Preheat oven to 180C/360F, and line 2 flat baking/cookie trays with parchment paper or silicone liners. Roll out dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper until about 1/8-1/4"/5mm thick.
Using snowflake biscuit/cookie cutters, cut shapes out of dough. Place on them gently on to the trays. (It is important to work with very cold dough to get the shapes to release properly.) Press leftover dough together and repeat cutting out shapes, chilling dough again, if it gets too sticky to work with.
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, swapping trays after 5 minutes, or until just golden around the edges. Allow to cool on trays completely.
Decorate with white icing and then dust them with edible glitter/edible silver dusting powder while the icing is still wet.
Note: to make holes for hanging on the Christmas Tree: Just before baking, take a plastic drinking straw and press into the top of the snowflake shapes. If the holes have closed up while baking, use the drinking straw again while they are still hot to open the hole.