During the Christmas period, I indulge into using more butter than I use throughout the whole year. But then what would Christmas be without making cookies and other desserts? After six months of diet I have learned to restrain myself and until today I have only tried a small piece from each to see how they taste.
As Socrates said «Everything in moderation». So let’s all keep this in mind and enjoy the holidays!
A cake I have been making since I was single is Christmas Fruit Cake. I cannot imagine Christmas without it. However, each year I find myself doing something different. This year I made it with citrus flavour. I used bergamot, orange, lemon, bitter orange and kumkuat fruit preserves. I also added my four citrus marmalade before the almond paste and orange liqueur.
This year I experimented by making a batch of some «unconventional» kourabiedes. It’s not the icing sugar and cocoa powder you see outside but it’s what is inside which makes them unconventional. My children who tried them said that although unusual, they were awesome.
Making a bigger dose of Kourabiedes from my Cookbook.
This year Melomakarona were made the classic way but flavoured with orange liqueur. Here is an older recipe.
I also made some traditional Amygdalota, which is a no bake Almond Cookie, wrapped in icing sugar but also some bathed in dark chocolate.
Both cookie recipes, which follow, are so easy to make.
I usually make them round but as it is Christmas I made some star shaped cookies as well and added some of my Spoon Sweets (fruit preserves) to add a Christmas touch.
Chocolate Fruit Preserve Cookies, recipe by Ivy
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 12 minutes
Makes : about 48
75 grams (1/3 cup) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence
1 ½ cups (220 grams) flour
½ cup (50 grams) cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
Spoon sweets or fruit preserves, cut into small pieces (if you don’t have any you may use other candied fruit or maraschino cherries)
50 grams couverture chocolate, melted in a double boiler
Preheat oven to 180o C /350o F.
Cream together butter and sugar on low speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix well till completely incorporated.
Stir together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powderand baking soda; add mixture to butter and sugar mixture and stir until combined.
Shape dough on parchment paper into a roll and cut into thin slices, about ¾ of a centimetre. Shape them into balls and flatten using your fingers. Use a cookie cutter if your want to shape them or just press them with your fingers about ½ cm thick.
Drain the spoon sweets and half the cherries and cut the remaining into small pieces.
Make a dent in the middle of each cookie with the back of your knife and put a piece in the middle of each cookie.
Bake for 10 minutes. Cook for a few minutes in the baking tin before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Decorate with melted chocolate.
These melt in your mouth cookies were adapted from my Lemon Cookies recipe, which I made two and a half years ago. My children have been begging me since then to make them again but as I avoid using butter often I gave up and made them this year:) The buttercream was more than I needed, so I used the leftover over the almond paste and before the Royal Icing, on my Christmas Cake.
Choco Orange cookies, recipe by Ivy
Makes: 16 double cookies
125 grams butter, softened
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
90 grams icing sugar
150 grams all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
25 grams cocoa powder
½ tsp vanilla essence
For the filling:
100 75 grams butter, softened
3 2 heaped tablespoons mixed citrus marmalade
2 tbsp sifted icing sugar
A few tbsp orange juice
In the bowl of your mixer cream the butter until smooth. Add the lemon zest and icing sugar and beat on high speed until smooth and creamy (about five minutes).
Sieve flour with cocoa and baking powder.
Reduce speed and gently fold in the flour, salt and vanilla until fully incorporated.
Remove to your working surface and knead until smooth. Wrap in cling film and chill for about 30 minutes until firm.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
Roll out the dough between sheets of cling film and using a star-shaped cutter or cutter of your choice, cut out the cookies. Add any scraps of dough to the remaining dough and roll out as before and continue until all the dough is used. To make the hole, use a round small cutter. (I used the back of my vegetable peeler).
Line the baking tin with parchment paper and place the cookies, leaving a gap between each cookie so as not to stick together when baked.
Bake for about 8 -10 minutes, depending on your oven.
Remove to a wire rack to cool and continue baking the remaining.
Put all the filling ingredients into a food processor and mix until smooth and creamy.
Spread the filling on one of the cookies and sandwich with the top.
Decorate with icing.
Wishing you all Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!