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German Christmas Cookies


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Ingredients:

  • 1 pk (1-pound) superfine sugar
  • 1 Vanilla bean
  • 4 c Sifted all purpose flour
  • 1/2 ts Salt
  • 1/4 ts Baking soda
  • 2 c (1/2 pound) very finely chopped assorted raw nuts *
  • 2 Egg whites
  • 1 lb Unsalted butter; room temperature
  • 1 c Granulated or superfine sugar
  • 1 ts Pure vanilla extract

Directions:

My grandmother made these cookies throughout my childhood, and I always loved them. (She, in turn, got the recipe from a friend of her's, Anna Schmidt, *many* years ago in Ridgewood, Queens.) I have never seen them in any cookbook.
 
* If preferred, purchase a 1 pound package of raw assorted nuts with their shells on, shell them by hand, and chop them ... That is how my grandmother made them, as did the lady from whom she got the recipe. At least two weeks before you are going to bake these, prepare vanilla sugar. (This can also be done months in advance and stored at room temperature until ready to use.) Pour superfine sugar into a jar or other airtight container. Bury a vanilla bean inside and cover tightly. Set aside for at least two weeks (or longer, if not yet ready to make the cookies).
 
Mix cookies. When ready to bake cookies, sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. Using a fork, gently stir in nuts. Set aside. In small bowl of electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Set aside. Put into large bowl of electric mixer. Without washing beaters, cream until light and fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat until soft and creamy. Fold in beaten egg whites. Using wooden spoon, gently stir in reserved dry ingredients. Blend thoroughly. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
 
Bake cookies. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using palms of your hands, pat dough 1/4-inch thick onto counter top. Cut with canape or TINY bridge cutters. Arrange on cookie sheets. (They will not spread.) Bake until golden (approximately 12 minutes).
 
Coat cookies. Remove warm cookies from cookie sheets. Roll in reserved vanilla sugar until generously coated. Set aside to cool.
 
N. B. If anything, these cookies improve with age, and will remain fresh indefinitely if stored in an airtight container. The vanilla sugar will also keep indefinitely ... Simply continue to add more sugar upon using up the supply.)
 
Posted to TNT Recipes Digest by vsauer@juno.com (Virginia Sauer) on Apr 30, 1998