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Cookies For Winter

Jan 7, 2013

Winter Cookies Special Edition
This was supposed to be a special new year's edition I wanted to publish before new year's in order to surprise my readers to frantic happiness, as you can tell from the subtle decoration in photos (not as a product of my elegant taste but due to lack of decoration items I own) but since it's way past the intended date I named it Winter Cookies Special Edition instead. I hope it will come handy to warm up cold and dark days of winter a.k.a. my most favourite days of the year. 

We Turks don't celebrate Christmas as we are not Christians but interestingly make use of every beautiful tradition associated with it for our new year's celebrations: from christmas tree to exchanging gifts, from Santa to jingle bells. But what is even stranger is that we eat turkey on new year's eve dinner, a custom adapted from the completely irrelevant American Thanksgiving. I guess we are a little confused about new year's eve.

During those years when I thought receiving gifts was the single ultimate thing that makes a person happy and pitied adults because they didn't receive as many gifts as we kids did, new year's eve was an occasion to look forward to. In one of such eves, delighted by the sight of the gift pile under the tree, I had asked my aunt how she was bearing with not being on the receiver end of the gift cycle. She had told me that there are other things that make adults happy, such as spending time with the people they love. What a crappy reason to be happy about, I had thought.

Today, new year's eve is reduced to a survival effort for us adults, from finding a taxi to reach the people you've planned to spend the evening with, to coming back home one piece, terrorized by crowds of hysterical people who save up their whole year's drinking quota for that night. When last year, the taxi I was driving back home in got involved in a mild traffic accident and I waited for an hour under pouring rain with fifty drunk teenagers for another taxi, I made my first resolution of the year: to never go out on a new year's eve again. Ever.

That's what I did this year. I spent a lazy, peaceful eve in the safety of my apartment, enjoyed a simple dinner of bistro style whole grilled chicken (not turkey), brussels sprouts and potatoes and lemon meringue pie. I was genuinely happy although there were no gifts in sight which had me reminiscing my aunt's words: being with the people one loves is a reason more than enough to be happy. 

Happy new year everyone!

  Spicy Cookies
Crescent Shaped Spicy CookieCookies with five spices

Night, Cookies and a CatWhen you wake up at night for a cookie bite, there is a cat who always sneaks at your back. 

Cats Bıdık and LokumI fought the urge to dress Bidik and Lokum with Santa hats in photoshop but thought one new year's post cliche at a time.

Making of Chocolate CookiesNestle's confectionary chocolate conveniently separated in 10 gram pieces.

Chocolate Filled CookiesThe only christmas related ornament I own: a heart-shaped cookie from old times that's gotten as stiff as a stone.''Sretan Bozic'' means Merry Christmas in Croatian. 

Chocolate Filled Cookies in A Gift BoxSprinkle chololate filling with three grains of sea salt to maximize chocolote flavor.

The Making of Linzer CookiesI used raspbery and my favourite ginger-orange marmalade as filling for the linzer cookies. 

The Milky WayThe Milky Way

Marmelatlı Yıldız Kurabiyeler

Yıldız Linzer KurabiyeleriHappy new year!   

Cookies with Five Spices

Ingredients:

  • 200 g (1.5 cup) flour, sifted
  • 30 g (1/4 cup) powdered sugar
  • 120 gr (1/2 cup) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • a pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and combine them with your hand to form a dough. Cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 170C/340F. Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.
  3. Flatten and roll the dough into a 3 mm thick disc on a clean, floured suface. Cut out cookies using cookie cutters. Combine left overs and repeat the process.
  4. Bake cookies in batches for 12-13 minutes or until they are light golden.
  5. You can freeze a portion of the dough and use it another time.

Chocolate Filled Cookies

makes 12 cookies

Recipe: adapted from Elle à Table magazine

Ingredients:

  • 200 g (1.5 cup) flour, sifted
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 80 g (1/2 cup) powdered sugar
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) ground almonds
  • 1 egg
  • For the chocolate filling:

  • 50 g dark chocolate
  • 50 ml (3 tablespoons) whipping cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

  1. Beat butter and powdered sugar with a pinch of salt until creamy. Add egg, beat briefly. Add flour and ground almonds and bsing your hand combine everything to obtain a homogeneous dough. Form a ball, cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven 175C/350F. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper.
  3. Flatten and roll the dough into a 3 mm thick disc on a clean, floured surface. Cut out cookies using a round cookie cutter. Combine left overs and repeat the process.
  4. Arrange cookies in the baking tray and pierce holes on them by using chopsticks. Bake them for 15 minutes or until they are lightly golden. Let cool on a wire rack.
  5. Prepare the filling while cookies are in the oven. Chop chocolate coarsely and transfer to a deep bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a small sauce pan. Pour it over the chocolate and whisk until chocolate has melted and you have a smooth chocolate filling. Let cool at room temperature.
  6. Spread a spoon of chocolate filling on half the cookies. Sprinkle with 3 grains of seasalt and sandwich it with another cookie. Let chill in the fridge for 1 hour for the chocolate filling to thicken.

Star Cookies with Marmalade

makes 10-12 cookies

Recipe: adapted from Bon Apetit and Elle à Table

Ingredients:

  • 200 g (1.5 cup) flour, sifted
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 80 g (1/2 cup) powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons for dusting
  • 40 g ground almonds or ground hazelnuts
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • two of your favourite marmalades

Directions:

  1. Beat butter and powdered sugar with a pinch of salt until creamy. Add egg and vanilla extract, beat briefly. Add flour and ground almonds and by using your hand, combine everything to obtain a homogeneous dough. Form a ball, cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 175C/350F. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper.
  3. latten and roll the dough into a 3 mm thick disc on a clean, dusted surface. Cut out cookies using a star cookie cutter. Cut out small holes using a bottle cap from the center of half the cookies using a bottle cap. Combine left overs and repeat the process.
  4. Arrange cookies on the baking tray and bake in batches for 11-12 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool on a wire rack.
  5. Prepare the filling while cookies are in the oven. Bring jam and 1 tablespoon of water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Let cool slightly at room temperature.
  6. Spoon whole cookies with a teaspoon marmalade. Dust stars with holes with powdered sugar. Set them on cookies with marmalade, align star points and press gently.
  7. All of these cookies stay fresh for 5 days in an airtight container.