And a Texas Christmas Story
Robert Earl Keene, Merry Christmas from the families
Everybody is doing it: the season for baking. I don’t like to cut corners, but I also want to be fast. And I am saying it like it is: cookies are bad for you. Don’t give me no Crisco either. So let’s make the best of a “bad” thing. The results will be delicious.
Let’s make two batches of cookies in one go: Santa’s Thumbprints and Macaroons. They originated from traditional German recipes, but I had to Americanize them by necessity. Split your eggs: the yolks into the butter cookies, the egg whites into the macaroons.
INGREDIENTS (best guesses; use your own judgment):
|3 egg yolks, 1 egg white||2 egg whites|
|250 g (1 3/4 cups) white flour
1 tsp baking powder
|ca. 1 1/2 cups hazelnut flour (or pecan, walnut, almond)|
|100 g (3/4 cups) sugar||100 g (3/4 cups sugar)|
|1 packet (1 Tbsp) vanilla sugar & 1 pinch salt||zest of 1/2 lemon (lime)|
|150 g (1 1/3 stick) butter||ca. 30 whole nuts for decorating|
|red jelly (marmalade) for filling & sprinkle sugar||Dr. Oetger baking wafers (optional)|
For the Thumbprints (350F):
- Put the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, vanilla sugar, salt) in a large mixing bowl; make an indentation (dale) for the eggs in the middle.
- Separate the eggs: all 3 yolks go into your dale; 1 egg white in a small dessert bowl (fridge); 2 egg whites into a mixing bowl (fridge).
- Cut up the butter (room temperature) in small slices/flakes and drop them around the margin of your egg yolk pond. Mix up the egg yolks with a fork; once semi-blended, knead the (short bread) dough together consistently and smoothly. Wrap that “butterball” in aluminum foil and set in fridge for ca. 1 hour.
For the Macaroons (200F):
- Whip up the egg whites with sugar into a stiff mass, add lemon zest, and gently fold in the nuts meal. Use judgment about the stiffness; the mass should not flow but hold together as little “piles.”
- With two teaspoons, set little piles of dough on a baking sheet (nonstick alu foil!), decorate each with a nut.
- Bake the cookies at low heat (200F) for ca. 20 minutes. Tip slightly on their peaks to see if they are firm to touch. If needed give them another 5 or so minutes.
Back to the Thumbprints:
- On a baking surface (board), cut the butterball into four equal sections; roll these out with both hands into 1-inch thick “sausages”; cut these sausages into 1-inch pieces.
- Roll the pieces of dough into balls and set them aside on your work surface.
- Dip each little ball in egg white, then in sprinkles, set them on the baking sheet.
- With a cooking spoon, make small indentations on every ball, fill (with a dessert or baby spoon) the jelly into the holes. Done!
- Bake the cookies at 350F for ca. 25 minutes. Watch them. They might be done when their fringes turn golden brown.
Santa will bring you two bags of gifts for these, no matter how naughty you have been!