I love December, the month of joy and happiness and as the final countdown has began only 8 days, 10 hours, 20 minutes, 19 seconds, 18 seconds, 17 as you will be reading my post. I always smile when I realize the approach of things that suffuse me with the warm, fuzzy holiday spirit: Buying presents for family and friends, lots of fancy Christmas cards everyday in the mail, children who can’t wait for the schools to close, running about playing happily; store windows competing who will have the best window show, all buildings have these beautiful decorations on their balconies with all the lights gleaming and sparkling, Christmas songs on the radio all day long, songs I’ve been singing ever since I was a child, and, of course, the prospect of baking batches of Christmas cookies and filling my kitchen with all these beautiful scents.
I am new at blogging and have seen other blogger friends participating in various events but I didn’t know how to enter into one. Yesterday, at last as I was browsing I came at foodblogga’s page and saw that there was an event for Christmas Cookies, hosted by Susan. I was so excited. The request was to submit our entries until the 17th of December. I was planning to make a new batch of kourapiedes and melomakarona this week for my family so I decided to enter the event with kourapiedes the classical, traditional type (slightly modified) and a colourful batch for the children, which I shall name “Kaleidoscope Cookies”. For the second batch, I had to improvise with the ingredients already at home. I had two packets of sprinkles one all chocolate and on in many colours and I had green and red food colour.
I prepared my kourabiedes as usual but in the dough for the “Kaleidoscope Cookies”, I added some extra sugar because the dough by itself isn’t really sweet. I kept the egg white which I made into a light meringue, added vanilla and icing sugar until I had a thick frosting. When the cookies were baked and had cooled down I spread them all with a layer of white frosting then I separated the remaining into two small cups and added a drop of food colour in each. I spread some coloured frosting as well and then with a spoon sprinkled some sprinkles on top trying to make different patterns.
This is a wonderful opportunity to get your children or grandchildren involved in the kitchen. Buy them Christmas moulds and let them play with the dough and cut the cookies and then to decorate them. They will be thrilled and will have such nice memories of baking with their mom when they grow up.
- 1 can spry shortening or ½ kilo butter
- 2 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 egg (divided)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
- 1/3 cup ouzo or brandy
- 1 cup of icing sugar
- 7 – 8 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 cups almonds, blanched and roasted, coarsely cut
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 egg white
- 1 vanilla
- Icing sugar
- Sprinkles (chocolate and colourful)
- 1 drop of food colour red and green
Directions for cookie frosting
Beat egg-white into meringue, add sugar and vanilla and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Beat the butter with sugar at high speed. Reduce speed and add egg yolk, until mixture is light and fluffy.
- Dissolve soda with ouzo or brandy and orange juice and add to mixture. Beat for 2 – 3 minutes.
- Mix flour with vanilla and baking powder. Change the mixer paddle to the one for dough or start kneading by hand and add flour gradually. When the dough is ready, it should be as if it needs more flour, add the almonds and mix.
- On your table spread a sheet of parchment paper and press the dough flat until ½ centimeter thick. Make designs with molds or cut round ones with a glass.
- Line a tin with parchment paper and bake in a preheated oven to 160 degrees centigrade and bake for about 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside until cold.
- Spread a layer of frosting on the cookies. (If you like you may make the frosting in different colours by adding a drop of food colour in each). Sprinkle chocolate or colourful sprinkles on top trying to make different patterns, using both colours of sprinkles.
- Place on flat trays until the frosting hardens and then you may place in platters.