I love making cookies and deserts and Christmas is a great excuse to bake up a storm. So I’d like to share some of my favorite Christmas recipes with my readers this year.
In How To Fell A Timberman, Frieda, bakes a treat that her husband calls melting moments because they practically melt in his mouth. I admit I got the idea for that from a family butter cookie recipe called “Melting Moments.” I’ve always thought that would make a great romance title too!
Another one of my favorite cookie recipes is called Butter Kuchen – butter cake. When I lived in Iowa with my folks, we lived across the street from a Dutch family by the name of Tibol who had moved to Des Moines from Pella Iowa. If this town name sounds familiar it should. Ever heard of Pella Windows?
But Pella is also known for it’s annual Tulip Festival and this festival is not only know for its tulips but also the famous homemade Dutch pastries sold at the stands. I was hanging around Mrs. Tibol’s kitchen one day when she pulled out a pan of Butter Kuchen as well as her wonderful Dutch Letters filled with almond paste. YUM! I had no idea if she’d share the recipes but she did so gladly, and they have become a family favorite.
The Dutch letters take longer to make and I’ve never managed to keep a single one beyond the time it took my kids and husband to devour them straight out of the oven. They are light and flaky and the almond paste so to die for.
The butter kuchen uses a pound of butter and is always a man pleaser. You heard me right. Men can’t stay away from the cookie plate when these cookies adorn it. So if you are romantically inclined, bake some butter kuchen. And the best part? They are one of easiest cookies to make.
So here you go with the Melting Moments, Butter Kuchen and Dutch Letters. Enjoy!
2 cups flour
4 tbsp. Powdered sugar
1 cup butter room temp.
1 tsp. vanilla
- Combine ingredients in one bowl adding flour last. Mix into dough.
- Roll a heaping tsp. of dough into a ball and pinch—or roll into a ball and crisscross a fork over it. (dip fork in water each time so it doesn’t stick in the dough.)
- Place on ungreased cookie sheet and back at 375º for 15 to 20 minutes—till just touched with gold.
- Remove from oven cool 10 minutes then roll each cookie in powdered sugar and leave on cookie sheet to finish cooling.
Note: Makes a very small batch.
Alternatives: Red or Green food coloring can be added to give cookies a festive appearance. Often times, men prefer these cookies without being rolled in powdered sugar.
Dutch Butter Kucken or Butter Cake
Very rich short bread cake – Makes a large sz. batch.
5 cups flour
3 cups sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 lb. Soft butter
- Combine all of above. Knead and pat onto large ungreased cookie sheet.
- Dip fingers into milk and sprinkle or spread milk over top of dough.
- Bake 10 minutes at 400º
- Turn off oven. Leave dough to bake 7 to 10 minutes more. Will start to get golden.
Note: Do not over bake. It is supposed to be somewhat cakey. To keep cookies from getting too hard and make it taste fresh backed days later, cut into bars and individually wrap the bars in cellophane.
For Christmas: If you like you can press candy sprinkles over the top the and press into dough the last few minutes before removing it from oven.
This year I had no milk so I substituted eggnog with rum. OMG. So delicious! And they are gone! I have to bake more!
Authentic Dutch Letter Pastry
4 ½ cups flour plus 1 tsp. salt
1 lb. butter
1 egg plus 1 cup cold water
8 oz almond paste [do not use prepared marzipan. Only the paste]
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 egg whites
- Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Cut butter into ½ inch slices. Stir into flour. Batter will be in large chunks.
- In small bowl combine egg and 1 cup cold water. Add all at once to flour mixture. Mix quickly. Butter will still be chunks.
- Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead 10 times pressing and pushing pieces together to form a rough looking ball.
- On floured surface, roll dough to 15 x 10 inch rectangle. Fold the two sides to meet in center then fold it in half to form 4 layered rectangle. Should be about 5 x 7 inches. Repeat the rolling and folding process once.
- Cover dough with plastic wrap; chill 20 minutes. Repeat rolling and folding two more times and chill 20 minutes more.
- In small mix bowl combine almond paste, sugar, brown sugar & egg whites; beat till smooth. [This is a touch job. If a Kitchen Aid mixer is available, use the bread dough beater to accomplish this task more quickly—if not you can start out using your hands]
- Cut dough crosswise into 4 equal portions. Keep unused dough chilled until ready to use. Roll one of the 4 portions of dough into a 12 ½ by 10 inch rectangle. Cut into five 10 x 2 ½ inch strips.
- Spread slightly rounded Tbsp. of almond mixture down the center of each strip. Roll each strip lengthwise. Brush edge with milk and water. Pinch to seal.
- Place seal side down on ungreased bake sheet, shaping each strip into a letter S. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
- Repeat with remaining dough and filling. (There will be plenty filling)
- Bake at 375º for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on racks. Freeze tightly covered. Makes 20.
Note: I have often made shorter strips to make a greater quantity. The smaller strips are much easier to deal with too. These are best eaten the same day. I think you can put the prepared letters in the fridge covered in plastic wrap and then bake them when you want them as long as you allow the dough time to warm to room temperature.
I hope you enjoy these as much as my family does.