Crisp Marzipan Chocolate Cookies

cookies-9

When I was growing up, my mom baked lots of different Christmas cookies, usually 10-16 different kinds. I try to bake some different cookies in December, but I usually don’t end up with that many.

This cookie is very tasty due to the marzipan and the use of dark brown sugar. The recipe was from the weekly advertisement from a Danish supermarket where I clipped it years ago. It is not meant to be a Christmas cookie, but I think it has a very Christmassy feel to it.

The portion is not that big (34-40 cookies or so), feel free to double it.

Ingredients: (original recipe clipped from Super Brugsen advertisement)

  • 250 g butter, softened
  • 100 g dark brown sugar
  • 300 g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g marzipan/almond paste
  • 100 g dark chocolate chips

Method:

1. Cut the marzipan into small pieces (1 cm / 1/3 inch)

2. Mix butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer.

cookies-1

3. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla sugar or extract.

cookies-2

4. Mix in the egg to a dough forms.

cookies-3

5. Use your hands to mix in the chocolate and marzipan pieces.

cookies-4

6. Roll out the dough to 2 rolls, each about 20 cm / 8 inches long.

cookies-5

7. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

8. Prepare 2-3 cookie sheets with parchment paper (or you can switch after each bake). Preheat oven to 200 C/ 392 F

9. Cut each roll into cookies, about 1 cm  / 1/3 inch thick and place on the sheets.

cookies-6

cookies-7

10. Bake for about 15 min, until golden brown at the edges. The marzipan will brown too.

11. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack.

cookies-8

As the title says, these are supposed to be crisp, not chewy at all. I think they are really tasty, and they get eaten really fast in our house.

Challah

challah-21

One of my favorite breads are challah, and I usually bake it for holiday meals, such as Thanksgiving. Challah is a traditional enriched Jewish bread flavored with honey. Sweet and rich, it is great for special meals, breakfast or anytime.

It is often made without dairy to satisfy Jewish dietary restrictions so it can accompany meals with meat, but this recipe has butter in it for a soft moist crumb. Since I am not Jewish, I happily ate this with my turkey. The recipe is from On Baking, and the crumb turns out perfect every time I have made it.

I wanted to braid it with 6 strands instead of 3, so I found this great video instructions – check it out, it really explains it well. Thanks for posting that!

Ingredients: (original recipe from On Baking)

  • 92 ml honey ( 3 fl. oz)
  • 18 g salt (0.6 oz)
  • 840 g bread flour (1 lb, 12 oz)
  • 15 g active dry yeast (0.5 oz)
  • 60 ml hot water (90 F/ 32 C) (2 fl. oz)
  • 150 ml water, room temp (5 fl. oz)
  • 4 eggs
  • 120 g butter, melted (4 oz)
  • Egg & milk/cream for egg wash

Method:

1. Mix the honey, salt and 240 g (8 oz) of flour in a mixing bowl.

challah-1

challah-2

2. Dissolve the yeast in the hot water in a small bowl.

challah-3

3. Add the yeast mixture, the rest of the water the eggs and the butter to the bowl and stir until smooth.

challah-4

4. Mix in the rest of the flour, adding a little (about 60 g/ 2 oz) at a time. Mix well after each addition. At some point, switch to kneading.

challah-5

challah-6

5. Knead the dough until elastic, about 5-10 minutes

challah-7

6. Put the dough in a bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 – 1.5 hours.

challah-8

7. Punch down the dough and divide into 2 parts

8. Divide each part into 6 strands (or as many as you want to braid). When making 6, I found it useful to weigh them to get them to be equal size.

9. Roll out 6 strands to rolls. They will contract a bit, so let them sit for 5- 10 min and rest.

challah-9

10. Meanwhile, cover the remaining 6 pieces of dough so it doesn’t dry out.

challah-10

11. Roll out the strands again, make them long and thin.

challah-11

12. Start braiding the bread. Push the dough strands together at the top and spread them in 3 and 3.

challah-12

13. Cross over the topmost strands all the way across.

challah-13

14. Take one of the top strands, and cross it over two strands. Then replace it with the strands second closest to the top on the other side. The first crossover might look a bit odd, that is ok. Gently tuck it under a bit when you get to the next one.

15. Repeat with the other side – topmost strand down in the middle (over 2) and the strand second closest to the top on the other side replaces it (ends up topmost).

 challah-15

challah-1616. Keep going until the end, gently tucking the ends under the bread in the end.

challah-17challah-18

17. Place the bread on a parchment lined sheet, and repeat with the other half of the dough.

18. Again, roll the strands and let them relax, then reroll, to get long and even ones.

19. Brush both breads with an egg wash of egg and milk. Do a second layer over the first.

challah-19

20. Let the breads rise until doubled, about 45 min.

21. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C.

22. Bake about 40 min, until golden and hollow sounding.

23. Let cool on a wire rack.

challah-20

Whether you use a 3 strand braid or 4 or 6, this challah is so delicious. I love it with butter on top for extra richness, and it great for French toast too.

Oat Rolls

rolls-12

This is a variation on the oat bread I have blogged about before. The recipe is excellent for rolls, and I enhanced them by added some honey, the sweetness works very well with the oats.

Ingredients:

  • 100 ml water ( 0.4 cups)
  • 500 ml milk ( 2.1 cups)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8.3 g active dry yeast (0.3 oz) or 25 g yeast cake (0.9 oz)
  • 150 g rolled oats (quick cook or traditional) ( 5.3 oz)
  • 150 g whole wheat flour (5.3 oz)
  • 500 g all purpose or bread flour (17.6 oz)
  • oats, milk to decorate

Method:

1. Heat the water and milk until lukewarm, about 30 C/ 90 F.

2. Dissolve the yeast in the liquid in a large bowl.

rolls-1

3. Add the honey, oats, salt and whole grain flour and mix well.

rolls-2

4. Add most of the bread flour and form a dough.

rolls-3

rolls-4

5. Turn the dough out on a work surface and knead it through (5 min), add more flour if necessary.

6. Put the dough in bowl and let it rise to double size, about 1 hour.

rolls-5

rolls-6

7. Turn the dough out on a work surface and knead well, until elastic.

rolls-7

8. Let the dough rest for 15-20 min.

9. Divide the dough into quarters, and divide each quarter into 8 pieces.

rolls-8

10. Form each piece into a ball and form a roll. Put on a parchment covered baking sheets (you will need 2 full sheets for 32 rolls).

rolls-9

12. Let the rolls rise under a tea towel for about 45 min.

13. Preheat the oven to 395 F/ 200 C

14. Brush the rolls with milk and decorate with oats, pressing them into the rolls.

rolls-10

15. Bake for about 20-25 minutes and let cool on a wire rack.

rolls-11

The honey is a great touch and I like these little rolls. They are small in size, but I think that is great  – if you prefer big buns you can make 16 bigger ones.