Christmas Cookies Jars

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For me Christmas is a time of sharing. I want to share things I can do best and things that give me pleasure with people I care about. Every year I would send Christmas cards to family and friends. It’s really nice to receive them. This year I decided to make some cookie jars instead. Making cookies takes almost no time and it will be greatly appreciated by your friends and family.
I decided to go for some Leckerlis* – gingerbread cookies with candied citrus peel and Green Anise Cookies. Both of them are very easy to make with a stand mixer and are a pretty delicious substitute for a Christmas card. You still have time to make some tomorrow 🙂
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This will be my last post before Christmas, so Happy Holidays everyone. Hope you have a wonderful time!
* To make Leckerlis you can use the same recipe as for the Gingerbread Cookie and you add 100 g of mixed lemon and orange candied peel and cover with an icing while still warm.

Green Anise Cookies
adapted from Christophe Felder
  • 3 eggs,
  • 250 g of sugar,
  • 15 g green anise seeds,
  • 250 g flour.
  1. Combine the sugar and eggs in a bowl of your stand mixer.
  2. Whip for 10 minutes at a high speed and then for 10 minutes at a medium speed.
  3. Fold the flour and anise seeds into the beaten eggs.
  4. Pipe the batter on a buttered and floured baking sheet. Make them around 2.5 cm wide, leaving around 2 cm space in between.
  5. Let them dry out on the baking sheet for around 4 hours, until a dry crust forms.
  6. bake at 180 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes, until the tops are puffed, but still pale. Let them cool on the baking sheet.

Gingerbread cookies

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Every year we make some gingerbread cookies to put in the Christmas Tree. It’s always a lot of fun to cut out all the different shapes (and let’s be honest, we mostly use the cookie cutters around Christmas time anyway..).
This year I made a Gingerbread recipe from the Patisserie book. They are slightly different. You need to mix the basic dough a week in advance and let the cinnamon and honey develop an incredibly deep flavour. I think they taste great. They will be a bit tough for first few days, but give them some time and they will soften. If you decorate them with some nuts and icing you will have a wonderful Christmas decorations.

Gingerbread cookies
adapted from Christophe Felder
For tha basic dough:
  • 250 g strong dark honey,
  • 200 g flour,
  • 50 g whole wheat flour,
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
For the final dough:
  • 1 egg yolk,
  • 1 tsp. baking powder,
  • 1 pinch cinnamon,
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice,
  • 1 tbsp. sherry.
Prepare the basic dough 1 week before you plan to bake the cookies.
  1. Warm the honey in a small saucepan over a low heat.
  2. Sift both flours with cinnamon.
  3. Add the warm honey and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough is thick and smooth.
  4. Cover it and let stand at room temperature for a week.
After a week mix the final dough
  1. Place the egg yolk on a work surface. Spread the baking powder around it. Smear the baking powder with the flat part of a knife until smooth.
  2. Add the mixture to the basic dough mix with the cinnamon, allspice and sherry and knead the dough in a stand mixer at a low speed for about 5 minutes.
  3. Shape into a ball and flatten. Wrap in a plastic and chill in the fridge for an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170 C. Butter baking sheets and dust them with flour.
  5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 3 mm thick.
  6. Cut out the shapes you have.
  7. Bake fr 15 to 20 minutes, until barely firm and slightly browned. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet.
Decorate as you wish!

Gingerbread cake

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There are certain flavours and aromas that I will always associate with Christmas. Like cinnamon, oranges, anise, honey.. And a good gingerbread is a perfect combination of them all. This cake is quite extraordinary as it contains mainly rye flour. It makes it a bit denser, but it is a delicious cake. The combination of flavours will make everyone happy that Christmas is coming, even if it rains outside. It is an easy cake and it’s perfect to make when you are waiting for a recipe for an aged gingerbread (coming next week!) or to change into muffins and take for your work Christmas party.
This weekend I go fully on with baking gift cookies and will share the results very soon. It’s about time to start after all 🙂

Gingerbread cake
adapted from Christophe Felder
For the cake:
  • 100 ml milk,
  • 1 tbsp. star anise,
  • 240 g honey,
  • 25 g all-purpose flour,
  • 150 g rye flour,
  • 25 g potato starch,
  • 11 g baking powder,
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon,
  • 1 tsp. allspice,
  • 240 g orange marmalade,
  • 2 eggs,
  • 80 g butter, softened,
  • 1 tsp. salt.
For the glaze:
  • 200 g apricot preserve,
  • 3 tbsp. orange marmalade.
  1. Bring the milk to boil in a small pan. Add the star anise, remove from the heat and infuse for 10 minutes.
  2. Warm the honey over a small heat.
  3. Whisk both types of flour, potato starch, baking powder, cinnamon and allspice in a big bowl.
  4. Add warm honey and marmalade to the dry ingredients and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  5. Stir in the eggs, butter and salt.
  6. Strain the milk to the mixture and mix until fully incorporated.
  7. Pour the batter into a 24 cm rectangular baking shape.
  8. Bake for an hour at 170 degrees in the middle of an oven. Check if it’s ready with a wooden skewer.
  9. Let it cool for 5 minutes in a shape.
  10. When cooled, spread the apricot jam mixed with orange marmalade on top.

Pate a Choux


Last week I promised that as soon as the December starts I will prepare you all (or nobody) for Christmas with some nice holiday recipes. But, the oven I ordered a couple of weeks ago arrived (finally!) and I just had to test it. It’s an oven in which I can actually be sure that the temperature I’m setting is the temperature inside is what I set it to be. But the best of it all is that I can actually see the baking process (my previous oven didn’t have a light inside – it was an ancient model..). Being able to add all those new variables to my recipe I decided to go for something a tiny bit more complicated – a choux pastry. I really like choux, they are so light and by them self are quite plain it’s all about the filling in this case.

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The classic dutch way is to fill the with a whipped cream. I don’t really liked whipped cream tough, never did (and as a kid I would take it very seriously to remove all the whipped cream from any dessert I would be served, even if it meant that my ice cream will be almost completely melted by that time..). So I decided to go for a vanilla pastry cream (check the recipe here). It’s perfect. If you use cornstarch it will be quite light. I made tarlettes from the cinnamon short pastry (short pastry from here with a tsp. of cinnamon and a finely grated zest from 1 orange) and filled them with the pastry cream and topped with filled choux. It was delicious. I think another great filling would be the orange cream I made here. Anyway, you can stuff them with anything. I’m really tempted to try something more savoury now and stuff them with a blue cheese cream.. Will let you know how it goes 🙂

P.S. I made the small tarlettes and have a couple leftover afterwards. They worked as a pretty awesome dessert when filled with an orange cream and covered with a caramelised sugar on top. Yum!

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Choux pastry
adapted from Christophe Felder

For the pastry:

  • 125 ml water,
  • 125 ml full fat milk,
  • 115 g of butter,
  • 1 tbsp. sugar,
  • 1 tbsp. salt,
  • 140 g of flour,
  • 5 eggs.
  1. Mix water, milk, butter sugar and salt and bring to boil over medium heat.
  2. When the mixture is boiling take it off the heat and quickly beat in the flour with a wooden spoon. Return to the heat and dry it out over medium heat for about 30 seconds, mixing constantly.
  3. Transfer the dough to a bowl to stop cooking. Let it cool a couple of minutes.
  4. Add one egg at a time to the mixture, beating it with a wooden spoon. Make sure one is fully incorporated before you add the next one. The finale dough should be really shiny and just fall out from the spoon.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag and pipe 2.5 cm circles leaving around 2.5 cm space in between.
  6. Bake in the middle of the oven with bottom & top heat (don’t use the convective heat, they need to dry out) for 20 minutes at 180 degrees.
  7. When they are completely cooled use a piping bag to put the filling of your choice through the whole at the back.