Let's get things clear: I live in a multinational community. My friends are Catolics and I am an Orthodox. We all celebrate Christmas - twice. First time (you all know this one) we celebrate Christmas Eve on December 24th.. this one is coming quickly. Second time we celebrate Christmas Eve two weeks later, again - on January 7th.
In the following days, I'll be introducing you to the Other Christmas, since the Orthodox folks (we) have some different customs - for instance: you all know about Trick-or-treat on Halloween? We don't have it here.. but, our kids do Trick-or-treat on Christmas Eve (there's singing involved).
For now - let's make some cookies.
Couldn't help myself - this one reminded me of myself when I was a kid
(yes, I was a curly blond kid)
I'll be writting in grams, but for all of you who prefer using other measuring system, I'll convert measurement in cups (where possible) and ounces.
1. Vanilla jam cookies
These darling little gems are ever present in every household in the days of winter. We are using home made jam, that I have so cleverly already wrote about HERE. If you don't have it, no worries - you can buy it in every supermarket, just go for the more savory one.
200 grams (1 and 1/2 cups) of lard
500 grams (4 cups) of all purpose flour
1 hole egg and 1 egg yolk
4 table spoons sugar
One pack of vanilla powder (or one teaspoon of extract)
Grated zest of one lemon.
Let's first preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390F).
Mix the lard with the egg and the yolk until fluffy. Add sugar and the lemon zest. Slowly add flower and knead the dough until it's no longer sticking to your fingers. Roll the dough to 0.5 centimeter thickness (that's about 1/5 of an inch). Using the 2,5 centimeter cookie cutter (1 inch) cut out the cookies and transfer them to the baking tray. They will not stick, they have lard.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Don't let them go brown, or even golden.
Let cool. Then "sandwich" two cookies with apricot jam (or any other jam to your liking). We like to sprinkle them with some powdered sugar.
2. Honey cookies
This recipe is quite old. It does not ask for any pre-made "cookie mix". It's made by many generations of women before me; and it's so simple. Just remember: this cookies must be made one week before you want to serve them, since the honey needs to "let go" (it hardens when baked, don't worry - there's no mistake there - they will moisten up later)
4 eggs and 2 egg whites
6 tablespoon of honey
700 grams of flour (5 and 1/2 cups)
350 grams of sugar - we use white sugar (1 and 3/4 cups)
1 pack of cinnamon (that's 10 grams - 1 tablespoon)
1 tea spoon of baking soda
1 table spoon of lard
Preheat the oven on 220 degrees Celsius (that's 420F)
Mix all the ingredients together and knead until the dough is even. Pinch a walnut-sized piece of dough and roll it between your palms to make little balls. Lay them on the baking tray (use the sheet). Lay them few centimeters apart, since they do grow and they spread.
Bake for 12 minutes, until they just turn golden.
Now, we (at my home) like them as such, but I know a lot of folks who glaze them.
Mix together 150 grams of powdered sugar, 1 egg white, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and (if it's to thick) 1 table spoon of water.
(Translating this?! I guess they are "Floating Islands" or "Eggs in Snow")
This dish is made-perfect for the familly. It takes a number of people (at the same place, at the same time) to eat it; and it has to be eaten then & there.
1 liter of milk (4 cups)
1 pack of vanilla powder (1 tea spoon of vanilla extract)
Zest of one lemon
7 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of plain flour.
Out of the entire amount of milk, take one cup away, the rest put to boil, with 2 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla. While it's warming up (and boiling) use 5 egg whites and beat them till firm, adding 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar to it. Take a tablespoon, and spoon out one spoonful of egg-whites at a time and place them in a boiling milk. Cook them on one side, then turn them on the other (careful: they grow fluffy, so leave space for that). It takes just a 5 - 10 seconds on each side to be done. When done, take them out and place them in a serving bowl.
Next, the"gravy". 5 egg yolks whisk together with 5 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour (we use regular flour). Thin it out with a cup from the leftover milk (where you cooked the whites); and that mixture put back into the boiling milk. Cook the cream until thickens (flour is the thickening agent, but if you simply put it into milk, it'll turn to lumps, that's why we had to mix it with one cup of it first). Pour the thickened sauce over the egg-whites in the bowl and serve.
I hope you'll try these out.
Let me know if you do.
♥♥ Pinky Honey