christmas cookies

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Despite having little time on my hand I made some Christmas cookies with my boys. This means that I made the dough, prepared the cookies and my boys decorated the cookies and the kitchen(!) with colorful sprinkles. But we had a lot of fun! We made two types of cookies: The classical cut out and decorated cookies in the shape of stars, angles, Christmas trees, snowmen, flowers, animals, etc, and, because at some point I got sick of rolling, cutting, decorating tray after tray (the boys had long given up), I made some truly delicious poppy filled cookies. I made some kind of hamantaschen which made for nice Christmas cookies – so much about our multi-cultural family!

Dough for cookies:

  • 375g butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 375g sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • ca. 1kg flour
  • 1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk

This makes a lot of dough! I didn’t realize it until I had this huge ball in front of me. It is good for two type of cookies. Half the amount gives you a more reasonable quantity for one kind or the other.

  1. Beat butter and sugar until well combined.
  2. Add eggs and combine well.
  3. Add lemon zest and flour. The dough will still be very soft and sticky. Transfer it to a small container and let it cool down in the fridge for several hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  5. Take out small pieces of dough at the time and roll it out on a flour sprinkled surface. Cut out cookies, transfer them to a baking sheet (well buttered or lined with baking paper), brush them with the egg-milk mix and decorate them to your liking.
  6. Bake for 5-8 minutes or until the edges start to slightly blown.
  7. Let them cool down a bit, transfer them to a cooling rack to cool down completely. Store in an airtight container.

For the poppy-seed filling I used this recipe (slightly modified):

  • 200g poppy seeds, ground
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 225 ml milk
  • 150g sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  1. Heat milk, butter, sugar and salt in a small pot and let simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the poppy seeds and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Put the beaten eggs in a separate bowl and add to it one spoon full of the poppy seed mixture at the time while whisking constantly. It is very important to add the hot poppy seed mixture slowly to the eggs while whisking or you’ll¬†scramble the eggs.
  4. When you mixed about half of the poppy seed mixture into the eggs, poor the egg-mixture into the pot and combine well with the rest of the poppy seed mixture.
  5. Bring the mixture back to a simmer while constantly steering until the mixture thickens.
  6. Let the mixture cool down completely to room temperature.
  7. Roll out the dough and cut circles (using a glass or cup) ca. 7cm in diameter.
  8. Place a small spoon full of poppy-seed filling into the center and fold the edges from three sides to enclose part of the filling. The cookies are not supposed to be closed on top.
  9. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 180 degrees Celsius ca. 10 minutes or when the cookies start to brown slightly at the edges.
  10. Keeps well in an air tight container in a cool place for at least a week (ours were eaten by then….).

Merry Christmas!

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Christmas tree decoration

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I needed very quickly a small last minute Christmas gift for my son’s educator. I wanted it to be somewhat personalized so I decided to make a small pendant for the Christmas tree to add to a small gift we bought at the Christmas market. A quick Internet search led me to this nice little birdie. Using some scrap fabrics I made a simplified form of this bird, closed it and stuffed it with wool. I enjoyed sewing it and if I have time (haha!) I will sew a couple more to give as a personal note to dear family members and friends.

It has been very quiet on this blog lately. Having a school kid and work to do and some serious sleep deprivation left me with almost no time and energy to do anything extra. My to-do list of crafting, sewing and mending is growing faster that I can pick up a needle. And if I do manage to finish something and even manage to write something about it then I still need to take somewhat acceptable photos, which is in this dark and gray weather almost impossible.

There has been a nice discussion of some German sewing blogs about (im-)perfect blogging and the the somewhat implied do-it-all-yourself perfect Christmas preparation (for example here and here and here). I admit that I also would love to present on my blog the most beautiful photos and most inspirational text, and I would really like my home to be clean and orderly and prettily decorated.¬† But I simply can’t. The day has only so many hours and “pretty” just doesn’t make it very often to the top of my priority list. And I agree – being imperfect is human, and that is what I am.

Happy 4th Advent!