Tis the season… One of the best things about the most magical time of the year are Christmas cookies. Nothing beats a cozy afternoon when the snow is falling outside your window and you enjoy wonderful moments with your loved ones nibbling on cookies and drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows. What makes me most happy is that my cookies are stored in a big acorn cookie jar which we got on our most recent trip to the US. So not only is it home to some tasty treats, it also makes me think about to the great memories we made.
This cookie recipe consists of two types of nuts and chocolate, but no flour. You will get a batch of 25 cookies.
- 2 egg whites
- 2/3 cup (150 grams) of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
- ¼ cup (50 grams) of chocolate shavings
- ½ cup (100 grams) of ground hazelnuts
- ½ cup (100 grams) of ground almonds
- ¼ cup (50 grams) of melted chocolate for dipping
Start by beating the egg white until it is stiff. Then add sugar and vanilla sugar and blend it in, while continuing to stir it with an electric mixer. Afterwards let the chocolate shavings join the mix and slowly add the ground hazelnuts and almonds. Now your dough is basically done. Use your hands to form a roll about 5 centimeters or 1,5 inches wide. Wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge or a couple of hours. Thereby you allow the dough to harden, to it is easier to cut off your cookies slices. Each cookie should ideally be 5-7 millimeters thick. Place them on a backing tray laid out with backing paper and back bake them for about 12 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees Celsius/ 390 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the cookies are out of the oven, melt the chocolate. Meanwhile the cookies have time to cool down a bit. Dip them halfway in the chocolate and let them dry.
It is no miracle that strawberry jam is so incredibly popular around the globe. Hardly anything tastes so much like summer like this. So I decided, I will use the opportunity that you can currently pick fresh strawberries on the fields near Cologne and make a new batch of my favorite homemade jam. I love making my own jam, as you can regulate the amount of sugar and the taste is so much more intense. Another plus: have you ever noticed the amount of ingredients listed on an average strawberry jam jar? Incredible. I adhere to the „less is more“ principle with this simple recipe with a mere 3 ingredients. They are really all you need. The strawberry is the queen, let her shine by not drawing too much attention to a broad variety of things that are supposedly needed to make jam taste good and last longer.
- 2 pounds (500 grams) of strawberries
- 1 cup (250 grams) of canning sugar
- ½ lemon (make sure you use an organic one)
- add a bit of vanilla if you like
After thoroughly washing the strawberries, cut them into smaller chunk and make sure to remove all stems. Place them in a pot and add canned sugar (and vanilla, if you like). Rinse the lemon well and grate some peel of ½ lemon. Then squeeze it and add the juice and the peel to the strawberries and the sugar. Let everything simmer medium heat for one hour (give or take). Make sure to regularly stir. Then let the jam cook on high temperature of approx. 5 minutes until a foam forms on top. Scoop the foam out of the pot and set aside (it won’t be used for the jam itself, though some people like to use it for baking).
After this, you will face a difficult choice: to purify or not to purify. If you prefer to remind yourself that „yes“ this is a real fruit and you like a few fruit bits in your jam, you can skip the next step. If you are more in the line of thinking „the smoother, the better“, pour the jam in a blender. Congratulations, you made your own jam. Now all that’s left for you to do is to fill it into jars. To make sure, the jars are clean and perfectly hygienic, put them in the dish washer beforehand and fill them with you jam shortly after the washing cycle ended, when the glass is still warm. If you store your jam at a cool, darker spot, it can be conserved like this for up to 2 years. Pro tip: this is also a perfect present idea. I always give away something homemade for Christmas for example. 2015 it was this strawberry jam.