Christmas Cookies: Hazelnut Marzipan Macaroons, Jam Drops with Morello Cherry Preserve and German Sptizbuben

Christmas Cookies 2010 (0013) by Meeta K. Wolff  

A cookie - and the world seems in perfect balance. Watch the tears of a young child dry up and a smile light up his face when he is offered a cookie. See the remorse disappear from an elderly persons eyes replaced by blithe, as they are presented a bag full of cookies. Feel your friends’ warm smile across borders and oceans as you imagine them opening the box filled with delicate cookies. Cookies and their healing powers - there is no exaggeration here. 

Last week it was all about cookies here in Weimar. I spent a larger part of the week and weekend baking old and loved recipes and experimenting with new ideas. Soeren, as he always is, was my little assistant chef in the kitchen, measuring and weighing out the ingredients and giving me a few ideas to play around with.

Soeren’s class was also the scene for our annual cookie baking event. Under the wings of Lydia’s wonderful cause Drop In & Decorate, Soeren and I have been organizing a cookie baking event at his school each year since pre-school. Last year we baked, decorated and sold the cookies to help raise money for Haiti. This year the children chose to donate the cookies to a senior home here in Weimar. 

Christmas Cookies 2010 (0013) by Meeta K. Wolff

For three days, the third grade class cut out, baked and decorated several cookies with an eagerness found only in young 8 years olds. They lovingly packed the cookies in bags tied with colored ribbon as they practiced Christmas carols. On Friday, armed with boxes of cookies they brought joy and smiles to the elderly at the Sophienheim in Weimar.

DI&D Soeren01 by Meeta K- Wolff DI&D 0040 by Meeta K- Wolff

I hope my own cookies will also bring joy and smiles to my friends, as little boxes filled with fresh baked treats make their way across the doorsteps, the borders and the seas around the world. Something from my kitchen to brighten their day.

Like I said: cookies and their healing powers - there is no exaggeration here.

Christmas Cookies 2010 (0012) by Meeta K. Wolff

In this post I am sharing the recipes of three of my favorite Christmas cookies - hazelnut and marzipan macaroons, jam drops and the famous German Spitzbuben. The hazelnut and marzipan macaroons are an experiment I am playing around and would love your feedback on them if you should give them a go. I loved the soft, chewy and very nutty flavor and actually preferred them to the usually coconut macaroons I make each year. Jam drops are tradition: this year, for some of the jam drops, I used a decadent Morello cherry and cognac preserve from Fortnum and Mason’s to fill the little cookie holes and give it a slightly grown up flavor. The Spitzbuben recipe is a flawless and simple one from my mother-in-law that works every time and will never let you down.

Let the cookie galore begin!

Hazelnut Marzipan Macaroons

Printable version of recipe here

Ingredients

2 egg whites
200g marzipan, coarsely grated
150g fine granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
150g hazelnuts, ground with skins on

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

  2. Using electric beaters whisk the egg whites with the lemon juice in a clean bowl until thick and foamy, then begin to add sugar and ground hazelnuts, beating all the while. Beat until egg whites form stiff peaks. Whisk in the grated marzipan.

  3. Spoon the macaroon batter into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe out the macaroons, about 4 cm in diameter, onto the baking trays.

  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the macaroons are golden. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Store in airtight container

Yields: 25 cookies

 

Jam Drops with Morello Cherry and Cognac Preserve

Printable version of recipe here

Ingredients

130g butter, softened
110g sugar
1 vanilla bean, inner seeds scraped out
1 large egg
25g cornflour
185g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Approx. 100g jam or preserve of choice (I used two: Morello cherry and cognac preserve from Fortnum and Mason’s and a raspberry jam)
Icing sugar, for dusting

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.


  2. Using an electric mixer or electric hand-beaters, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until pale, thick and creamy. Add the egg and continue beating until incorporated into the cookie batter.


  3. Sift in flour, cornflour and baking powder and with a wooden spoon stir the batter until combined. The consistency of the dough will be very soft. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.


  4. Using a teaspoon portion heaped teaspoons of the mixture and roll into balls. Arrange on a lined baking tray. Make a deep hole in the centre of each ball. Use the end of the wooden spoon handle. Dip it in flour before making each indentation to keep the dough from sticking on the end.


  5. Fill each hole with about 1/2 teaspoon of jam/preserve. Make sure not to overfill the indentations or the jam will overflow during baking.


  6. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cookies are pale golden. Swap the trays around about halfway through the baking time so that the cookies bake evenly. Allow to cool on trays or a wire rack. Be careful as the jam/preserve will be extremely hot.


  7. Allow cookies to cool completely, dust with icing sugar then store in an airtight container.

Yields 25 cookies

 

German Spitzbuben

Printable version of recipe here

Ingredients

375g all purpose flour 
200g sugar
1 level teaspoon baking powder
20g vanilla sugar
Pinch of salt
125g hazelnuts, ground
250g butter, very cold and diced
1 egg yolk
250g jam or preserve of choice
Icing sugar, for dusting

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Line baking trays with baking paper.

  2. Knead (I do this with my hands, but you can use the kneading hooks of your electric whisk or stand mixer) all the ingredients except for the jam and the icing sugar to a dough ball. The dough should be smooth. Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll out to approx. 2mm thickness.

  3. Transfer the rolled out dough on a baking tray and place in refrigerator for approx. 1 hour.

  4. Remove from refrigerator and using a round cookie cutter, cut out your cookies. Leave half of them as is. these are the cookie bases, and cut out decorative holes in the other half (you can cut one big hole or like I have done cut our 3 smaller holes), which are the cookie tops.

  5. Place on baking trays lined with baking paper and bake for 10-12 minutes until they are lightly colored.

  6. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

  7. With a teaspoon, place small dollops of jam/reserve onto the cookie bases and gently spread with the back of the spoon. Place the cookie tops to sandwich the jam filling. Dust with icing sugar.

  8. Store in airtight containers lined with baking paper.

Yields 90 cookies

 

 



Verdict

Christmas Cookies 2010 (0019) by Meeta K. Wolff

Yes cookies have a positively magical effect on people. The time of year adds another wisp of magic to the air. The dusting of icing sugar to coat the peaks of the cookies depict themselves in the snow topped hills outside my window. A coy grin, hands in the cookie jar and a bundle of giggles – cookies do that to you. Our cookie jars are full now and so are the gift boxes to our friends. Have you been baking cookies too?

As I promised December will be a sweet month. Next week I’ll share a simply irresistible and sticky pudding for a decadent Christmas dessert.

Have a grand and relaxing weekend!

If you are wondering where I got the lovely bamboo prop displaying the pralines in the photos above let me direct you over to Restaurantware.com. It's a treasure chest for props. I especially love their Bamboo items.

More Christmas cookie cravings on WFLH:

Almond and Pink Praline Spekulatius German Zimtsterne - Cinnamon Stars Crumbly Ginger Shortbread

 


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2010 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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50 comments:

  1. First!!! Yay! I love the event at Soeren's school and love the fact that not only do these kid's get a kick out of decorating cookies (I mean, look at Soeren's face,the concentration is palpable) but they are doing it for a good cause. I think it is wonderful they donated this year's money to a local senior center so they can actually see how the money is used and share the joy with the residents. Beautiful. And cookies, yes, healing and filled with joy. Beautiful, Meeta, just scrumptious and festive....

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  2. Hi! I am a first time visitor to your blog - I'm blown away by these cookies!! Fabulous. Your friends will have smiles on their faces for weeks, I'm sure!
    Heidi xo

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  3. Dear Meeta!

    Its so delightful to watch children do their bit to the society. As a mother kudos to you for instilling such fine values in Soeren. These cookies are gorgeous!!!!lucky friends who get to eat them!!!! I bet they smell and taste divine. Merry christmas to you and your wonderful family!


    Warm hugs from India

    Veda

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  4. I love those old-fashioned cookies! Marvelous and so festive. Great event at Soeren's school.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. What a lovely array of crispy treats out there! Am going to try all your creations soon. Wish I could sneak in and bite a few :)

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  6. It is so nice that the kids from his class is doing thhis and bringing a smile to the old ppl. 3 cheeers for the 3 rd graders.

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  7. Woww cute looking cookies..marvellous soooo festive..

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  8. I totally agree about cookies and their healing powers - for adults as well as kids! Your cookies look gorgeous and I imagine the kids had an amazing time decorating them. I cook with the kids at my kids' school sometimes and it's really good fun. I love the look of your hazelnut marzipan macaroons - we might just have to try making those next week when life slows down a bit. Thanks for the inspiration, and hope you have a great Christmas! xx Michele

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  9. i am a cookie girl, looooove cookies ! so exciting to see all the different ones at the christmas markets here in zurich, i can only imagine at the markets in weimar ! forget the market though, how about a visit to your kitchen ?! all those different types above, so gorgeous. your friends across those borders are very lucky people !! ;)

    love seeing your little elf working so hard above. and what a great project for his class. fantastic !

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  10. Your cookies look magical! Would love to find a box of those under my Christmas tree.

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  11. Unbelievably pretty... I can't imagine making so many types at the same time but it looks well worth it. Soeren looks like he's enjoying himself!

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  12. Christmas is cookie time, absolutely!
    Loved this post, full of ideas and delicious treats! Actually I was searching for a recipe to use marzipan, since I found a pack of it in my pantry.. this one with hazelnuts sounds perfect! I'll let you know how long they will last... 5 minutes, I don't think more!! ;)

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  13. I just posted two cookie recipes as well and yes, I can certainly attest to their healing powers. They just reach into your body, grab your soul and make everything feel better. That's my story and i'm sticking to it! How sweet of you to organize such a wonderful event at your son's school! Amazing.

    Oh and these macaroons - totally making my cookie tray. The hazelnut is compelling me.

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  14. I don't think there's anything more beautiful than a cookie decorated by a child, especially when it's given as a gift to seniors right in your own community. Special thanks to you and Soeren and all the kids in his class for making Drop In & Decorate part of your holiday tradition.

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  15. Meeta, you've outdone yourself with these. That's a whole lot of baking. The handsome boy in the picture seems to have helped quite a bit.

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  16. You have been baking up a cookie storm, Meeta and they're all looking gorgeous!

    Wishing you, Tom and Soeren a wonderful Christmas and a very happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.

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  17. Oh Meeta they look utterly beautiful...Love the look on Soeren's face..I think Im gonna give the Jam drops a try ;-)

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  18. Delicious! What a lovely post & beautiful blog, I will look forward to more! :) x

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  19. We are going to a cookie party on Christmas eve and our girls are planning to bake up a storm! Thank you for the beautiful post and great ideas. Happy Holidays and delicious New Year to you and your family.

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  20. Love that concentration in Soeren :-) What a splendid job you have done Meeta.. all for a good cause. everything looks gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.

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  21. Meeta, you are so right cookies have heeling powers! Such a wonderful event where kids can help out and Soeren is such a cute helper! Also I think your cookies are the most elegant looking I have seen so far! such wonderful flavors, I especially love the hazelnut marzipan ones! Lovely pictures as usual! :)
    Happy Holidays!

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  22. I love the drop in and decorate time of the year on your blog Meeta...it's festive, it's beautiful, and it makes me hungry like a cookie monster! How sweet the lad is...so much concentration and interest! Hugs my lovely...many of them!!

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  23. Hi Meeta, I just found your blog the other day and have spent way too much time reading through all your old posts since. I love Christmas cookies, and as a German living in Australia, they are one of the things I miss most about Christmas at home (well, that and mulled wine...). The class project sounds like such a good idea and I can believe immediately that the residents of Sophienheim were thrilled when they received them. Love your blog and photos and I look forward to your new food adventures.

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  24. All the cookies look wonoderful. I love the sound of the marzipan macaroons, especially as they are GF.

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  25. Oh Meeta - gorgeous! I can't decide which cookies I love more... but edging towards the one with the morello cherry preserve. Fabulous that you do this event every year for such a good cause. and love the pic of S - like I said, I see where he gets his looks from ;o)

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  26. Children making cookies. Is there anything sweeter? I guess making these cookies for a good cause is.
    I haven't started sending my cookie boxes to friends and I think one of these recipes must be included. I think the jam drops won me over.
    Magda

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  27. Oh! I totally agree with you about the power of the cookie Meeta...and what super powers you must have with all these on hand. Great to see the young ones getting into the spirit of things too! Soeren is concentrating so hard in the pic!

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  28. This just makes me so happy. All of these cookies would go wonderfully with a cup of tea... and good company of course.

    Happy Holidays!

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  29. OH my! Thanks so much for all your comments and feedback! We love Lydia's Drop In & Decorate concept and enjoy being a part of it. I also love the fact that so many agree that cookies are healing! Hugs!

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  30. Aaaah cookies...can there be anything to beat them? Love that the little ones did the cookies for the aged. They are so forgotten at this time of year and just need a little bit of a fuss made to make their day! Little Soeren looks as though he is so into his cookie decorating. A good looking little lad. Love these recipes. and the photos are stunning. Well done Meeta. Hugs xx

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  31. What a fantastic array! I almost fell into a sugar coma just reading it. I think it is so much better to make your own cookies at this time of year. If you're visiting friends or someone unexpected pops by you always have something to give don't you?
    Just wonderful!

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  32. You must be a photographer because the images are mouthwatering. Can't wait to try the recipes, thanks for sharing.

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  33. Very festive looking cookies! Love these! Wish I could have more time to do the same too!

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  34. These cookies would definitely restore any damages! I love hazelnuts

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  35. Hi, Meeta. What a beautiful selection of cookies!
    Could you add the recipes for two other kind of cookies that on the picture: chocolate with almonds and those with chocolate glaze?
    Thanks a lot!

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  36. Hi! I’ve just opened a blog
    http://amarantomelograno.blogspot.com/
    and I added you on my link page…I hope you’ll like it. Your blog is awesome!

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  37. this is great. love this post! i too, love to bake and give. thanks for sharing.

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  38. love your pictures!!! May i know what kind of lighting you use? Thanks =)

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  39. Danke Meeta, I lived in Germany for a long time in the Pfalz. I miss it, especially this time of year. I really miss German cookies (and baked goods in general.) They aren't as sweet as the baked goods I get here. Bright Solstice and Frohliche Weinachten!

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  40. oh ohh ohh, those hazelnut marzipan macaroons sound yummy. Going to try to squeeze them in for sure!

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  41. wow!!these hazelnut marzipan macaroons look soo yummy!!every one should try this out.thanks
    Happy holidays!!!

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  42. Wow, love your recipe. And the pictures are awesome. Thanks.

    Ann

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  43. My grandmother used to make gorgeous Spitzbuebe. They were always my favourite guetzli.

    I have half a packet of marzipan left from Christmas, and these macaroons sound like the perfect use for them!

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  44. Very yummy.Looks so beautiful.Thanks for sharing recipe.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta