Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Alsacian-like lemon and speculaas spices scented Christmas cookies

Christmas is by far my favorite holiday of the year. I just love everything that is remotely related to Christmas, the presents, mistletoe, holly, fragrant trees and decorations!

Inspired by an Austrian friend of mine, Bianca, I decided to bake Christmas cookies. Being french, I opted for an Alsacian recipe (lemon scented cookies); but because I have lived in the Netherlands for over five years now, I tweaked the recipe by adding Speculaas spices in the mix! Enjoy!

05 December 2009

Ingredients (makes about 15 cookies)

For the cookies:

  • 250g flour
  • 1/2 pack of baking powder
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of Speculaas spices
  • zest of 1 lemon, finely ground
  • 1 egg yolk (use the white for the icing, see below)
  • 2 tbsp of creme fraiche (thick cream)
  • 100g butter, cubed 
For the icing:

  • 125 g icing sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice 
Pre-warm the oven at 180°C.
Mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add the sugar, spices, vanilla extract, salt, lemon zest, egg yolk and creme fraiche. Stir thoroughly, and incorporate the butter. Knead well; you should have a nice smooth dough (albeit a little crumbly).
Roll the dough on a flat surface, to a thickness of ~1/2 cm. With cookie-cutters (I used heart-, star-, flower-, tree- and angel-shaped ones), cut out the dough in as many cookies as you can. If there is leftover dough, make a ball out of it, and roll it down again until all the dough hass been cut out.
Place the cut-out dough on a baking paper sheet, and bake for ~15 minutes. Once cooked, let the cookies cool down completely before icing them.

When the cookies are cool, mix all the ingredients of the icing, until you obtain a thick white smooth paste. Ice your cookies with a spoon, using the back of the spoon to smooth the icing. Apply as many coats of sugar icing as you please (I used three coats). Let the icing dry completely before manipulating the cookies.

Happy Christmas!!!