To my left, I see cookie recipe notes, magazine rip-outs and baking books piling up in huge bulks, all furnished with the obligatory Post-It stickers to single out potential Christmas cookie candidates. On my right, a huge stainless-steel tin, which was a Christmas gift itself, some years ago, filled to the brim with already baked cookies. And I’m not making any progress on this post, at all. My attempt of typing gets continuously interrupted by grabbing yet another Pepparkakor or Wespennest or getting a top-up on my cup of Yasmin tea.
But I doubt that I will try more than one, maybe two new Christmas cookie recipes this season, just like I did over the last years. The reason is simple – too many tried and tested recipes are waiting for their single annual red carpet appearance. Because we live by the most important Christmas cookie rule of all: December it has to be. You don’t bake these in March or September, thus ensuring that your appetite for Vanillekipferl or Basler Brunsli is alive and kicking as soon as the final month of the year approaches.
These spritz cookies have occupied a safe spot on our cookie plate for ages, the recipe is an old Word print-out with significant stains and handwritten updates & notes, that doesn’t reveal its origin at all. Once you’ve managed to pipe the rather tough dough onto the trays (I love to use these, but this year one “exploded” and left me with a mess), the aroma arising from the oven already gives away these cookies’ potential. And I didn’t use “melt in your mouth” for no reason.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°Fahrenheit). Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Cream the butter with a handheld mixer or KA until smooth, then gradually add the sifted confectioners sugar and the cinnamon and keep beating for at least three minutes. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and keep beating for two more minutes.
In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, cocoa and ground hazelnuts, before adding this mix as well. Beat just until evenly combined, then fill the dough into a pastry bag with a star-shaped tip and pipe short stripes (about 6 cm/2,5 inches long) onto the parchment paper lined baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let rest a couple of minutes before carefully moving the cookies (they are fragile!) and placing them on a wired rack until cooled off completely. Meanwhile slowly melt the chocolate couverture over a bain-marie while continuously stirring and dip the cocoa sticks’ ends in the chocolate. Let drip off excessive chocolate (sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired) and let dry on parchment paper (or on a silpat mat). Store in an airtight container, they keep for a couple of weeks.
Cocoa hazelnut spritz cookies
Recipe source: own creation
Prep time: ~15 minutes, Baking time: 8-10 minutes
Ingredients (yields 2-3 baking trays):
225 g butter (at room-temperature)
100 g confectioners sugar
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 egg yolks (large)
200 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
40-50 g unsweetened cocoa powder
75 g ground hazelnuts
150 g chocolate couverture
optional: finely chopped pistachios (or other nuts)