Tag Archives: Christmas cookies

Holiday Cookie Countdown: Russian Tea Cakes

Russian tea cakes are a delicious cookie that are commonly eaten at wedding and Christmas celebrations.

Many Russians celebrate Christmas on New Year’s Eve when Grandfather Frost arrives with his daughter, the Snow Maiden, to listen to children sing songs and recite poems before giving them presents and bags of candy.

Russian families decorate their homes with Christmas trees and pine leaves.

Orthodox Russians celebrate Christmas in early January. On Christmas Eve, they do not eat or drink until the first stars appear in the sky. Once the star is sighted – a reminder of the star that led the Magi to the Baby Jesus – the family eats a meatless dinner together, called the “Holy Supper”. The meal typically includes 12 dishes, which represent the 12 Apostles.

After dinner, the family does not wash the dishes right away (good idea!). Instead, they open presents and prepare to go to mass, which lasts several hours. Families usually do not return home until 2 or 3 in the morning.

It’s interesting to note that Russians had to adapt their religious traditions to New Year’s Eve after the Russian revolution in 1917 when religion was outlawed. So they moved their Christmas traditions to New Year’s Eve and re-characterized many of their customs in order to maintain their faith.

But since 1992, Russians have been free to celebrate as they wish. So, like them, you can enjoy some Russian tea cakes whenever you would like. Try this fantastic recipe from Cooking Clarified.

 

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Holiday Cookie Countdown: Besitos de Coco

Besitos de coco, also known as “coconut kisses,” are a traditional Puerto Rican dessert and are commonly served at Christmas (Navidad).

Christmas in Puerto Rico is a family-centric holiday. Some celebrations begin in early December and do not end until the Dia de los Reyes, the Feast of the Three Kings, or three wise men.

Singing also plays an important role in traditional Puerto Rican Christmas celebrations. A group of friends will gather, along with their musical instruments, and surprise another friend at home. They will sing songs and celebrate for several hours.

In addition, many families celebrate by roasting a whole pig on a spit. The pig is placed on the spit as early as four o’clock in the morning and two people have to watch it cook for hours to ensure that it does not burn. In the meantime, others prepare side dishes while children play games. Guests may bring desserts such as besitos de coco or flan.

Make some besitos de coco with your family using this recipe from Cooking Clarified and enjoy!

 

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Cookies 21: Belgian Christmas Cookie

Belgium’s Christmas cookie is a bar that resembles a sugar cookie but includes almonds.

A lot of care and attention is put into the decorations which almost always include green and red sugar.

This Belgian Christmas cookie recipe is from MomsWhoThink.com.

Belgian Christmas Cookies

Ingredients:

2/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped unblanched whole almonds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons red sugar crystals
2 teaspoons green sugar crystals
Directions:

Cream butter with almond extract. Add brown sugar gradually, creaming until fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together; add in thirds to creamed mixture, mixing until blended after each addition.

Turn into a greased 15 x 10 x 1 inch jelly roll pan and spread evenly to edges.

Sprinkle a mixture of almonds and cinnamon over batter, then sprinkle with a mixture of red and green sugar.

Bake at 375 degrees F 10 to 12 minutes. Cut into bars while still warm.

Makes 5 dozen cookies.

 

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