Holiday Treats with Kim Galeaz: Cookies from around the World

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Holidays are a time of indulgence and family traditions.

Baking is something millions of families make together, and sugar and chocolate chip cookies are definitely the most popular treat. If you want to travel outside of your comfort zone and try something with an international touch, Kim Galéaz is here to help!

The Dietitian has cookie recipes from around the world.

Danish butter cookies

Biscuits:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • Vanilla bean seeds, scraped from half a vanilla bean (about a 4 inch piece)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • ½ teaspoon of almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Drizzle:

In a large mixing bowl with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and slightly fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Add the vanilla bean seeds, vanilla paste and almond extract and beat until combined. On low speed, gradually add the flour, stirring and mixing until incorporated. (Avoid over-beating). Divide cookie dough in half. Shape each half into an 8 inch log. Wrap each log in waxed paper or plastic wrap and place them in a zippered freezer bag. Refrigerate to cool for about 2 hours or until dough is firm enough to slice. (Can be refrigerated overnight or several days.)

Heat the oven to 375⁰F. Cut logs into ¼ inch slices. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cookies just begin to brown around the edges and bottoms. Cool on a baking sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.

To make a drizzle, melt semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate in separate double boiler on a stovetop or in microwave-safe bowls. Stir frequently until well combined and smooth. Pour a little over the cookies using a thin icing spatula. Once the frosting has hardened on the cookies, store them in layers in tightly covered containers. Use wax or parchment paper between coats. Makes about 46 to 48 cookies.

rugelach

Pastry:

  • 1 pkg. (8 ounces) Kroger Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1 1/3 cups finely chopped toasted walnuts
  • ¾ cup of raisins
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of Saigon cinnamon
  • ½ to ¾ cup seedless raspberry jam

Egg wash:

  • 1 large egg and 1 tablespoon whole milk, beaten with a fork in a small bowl

PLUS: Raw sugar, for dusting

Make the dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat cream cheese and butter over medium heat until well combined and light. Add the sugar, vanilla and salt and beat over medium heat until combined. With the mixer on low, add the flour gradually and mix until combined and incorporated. Place the dough on a well floured board and lightly roll into a ball. Cut into 4 equal pieces, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and place all pieces in a zippered freezer bag. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to three days.

Prepare the filling: Place the nuts, raisins, sugars and cinnamon in the large bowl of the food processor. Pulse and mix until all the ingredients are very fine pieces, but not “mushy” and forming a thick mixture. You want it to be very crumbly. Store in a tightly covered container until ready to use.

Take out one ball of dough at a time (keep the others in the refrigerator) and on a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a 9-inch circle. Spread 2 tablespoons (maximum) of raspberry jam on the circle to the edges. Sprinkle with ½ cup of packed topping mixture. Press lightly in a circle covered with jam. Using a pizza cutter, cut the circle into quarters, then each quarter into thirds. Starting at the wide edge, roll up each corner. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each rugelach with egg wash, then sprinkle with plenty of raw sugar. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350⁰F when it is almost time to bake. Bake cookies for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and edges. Immediately remove cookies to cooling racks. Store in tightly covered containers between layers of parchment paper. Makes 48 cookies.

Italian ricotta cookies

Biscuits:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 container (16 oz.) Whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons of yeast
  • ¾ teaspoon of salt

Lemon frosting:

  • 5 cups of powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of whole milk

PLUS: Sprinkles, nonpareil and / or colored sugar for topping

In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat butter and sugar over medium-high heat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the ricotta cheese, eggs, vanilla and lemon zest, beating over medium heat until combined. On low speed, stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined. Refrigerate dough in a covered container for at least 2 hours or up to 5 days.

Heat the oven to 350⁰F. With a 2 teaspoon size spoon (# 60), drop dough about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, or until cookies are a very light golden brown on the bottom. They will be soft. Cool on a baking sheet just a minute, then remove to cooling racks to cool thoroughly. (Keep the dough in the refrigerator until it is placed on the cookie sheets).

Prepare the lemon frosting in a large bowl by whisking / stirring the powdered sugar with the lemon juice and milk until smooth and well combined. Adjust the juice, milk, or powdered sugar if you need the icing to be thinner or thicker so that it spreads well but doesn’t crush the cookie. Spread the icing on each cooled cookie and immediately sprinkle with nonpareil or sugars. Let cookies rest on wire racks until frosting is hardened. Store in covered containers between layers of parchment or waxed paper, in a cool, dry place for 3 to 4 days. Makes about 92 cookies.

Spicy Chai Ginger Cookies

Biscuits:

  • 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour (weigh for best results, 562 grams)
  • 4 to 4 ½ teaspoons of homemade Chai spice blend (recipe below)
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup molasses (sulfur free)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup to ¾ cup finely diced crystallized ginger
  • Private Selection of Turbinado Raw Sugar to roll

Chai spice blend:

  • 3 tablespoons of cardamom
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground Saigon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a small bowl, whisk together all the homemade Chai spices and set aside. You will have more after using the necessary amount in the cookie dough. Store leftovers in a tightly covered container at room temperature.

Heat the oven to 350⁰F. Weigh all-purpose flour for best results with these cookies, 562 grams total.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 4 to 4 ½ teaspoons of Chai spice blend, baking soda, ginger and salt. Put aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar and vanilla on medium speed until light and slightly “chewy”, about 3 minutes. Frequently scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the molasses, eggs and crystallized ginger and beat until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture, stirring on low speed, until combined. Using a 1 ½ tablespoon tablespoon, collect the dough and roll it in the raw sugar to form a ball. Place each ball on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 10 to 11 minutes, or until the top is cracked. (They will harden as they cool). Cool on a baking sheet just a minute, then remove cookies to cooling racks. Store in tightly covered containers. Makes about 46 cookies.

All Recipes by Certified Culinary Nutritionist Dietitian Kim Galeaz, RDN LD, inspired by many other bakers online.


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