Baking with our Elf Cookie

It's getting seriously christmassy around here. The other day I was running an errand in a region that was new to me. In front of me was this truck transporting logs which reminded me of Canada.

But you know what? In the meantime, our friends in Canada say it looks like THIS (aaaaawesome!):

Picture by AP
By the way, you wouldn't be able to guess what kind of "errand" it was. Actually you may want to call it differently. What is that on my back seat?

That's right. I took my wedding dress to a lady who is going to take it - along with her own and a handful of her friends' - to another lady who runs a wedding dress consignment boutique. 
Do I hear screaming? "How can she give away her wedding dress?" 
I am one of that rare species who wasn't into the whole wedding dress shopping. Let's see if it sells at all!

When I got home, my kitchen still smelled nicely from the cookies I baked in the morning: 

Chocolate Cinnamon Hazelnut Balls

(Find this and lots of other mouth watering cookie recipes over at Tampa Cake Girl's Cookie Recipe Swap!)

Original Ingredients (for 3 cookie sheets)

2.5   cups brown sugar
4     eggs
3.5  cups ground hazelnut
2.5  cups all purpose flour
3     tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened
2     teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°)
Beat eggs and sugar until foamy
Add hazelnuts, flour, cocoa powder and cinnamon and form a firm dough.
Roll strings, flatten them and cut into sticks.
Place on cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper
Bake for 8 - 10 minutes
Let cool

Now I didn't feel like doing the string rolling thing, so I used my mini sorbet spoon to make balls. After a couple of days that I kept them in a tin box, I didn't like how they became kind of all the way through dry-ish.

So the next time I used the mid-sized ice cream scoop, and hooray! My cookie balls were still a bit moist in the middle! Also I doubled the amount of cocoa powder and cinnamon, and I like the result!

We also made a batch of Big Soft Ginger Cookies replacing one of the two teaspoons of ground ginger by two teaspoons of freshly grated ginger. I just love the smell! Also I was hoping it'd help fight my lingering cold.

Make sure to leave enough room between the dough balls as they expand quite a bit while baking!

Lastly - for now, at least - Colin, Cookie (our elf) and I made Mailänderli, the most popular Christmas cookie in Switzerland. Never mind that Milan is actually in Italy ;-)

If you have to watch your cholesterol intake, then this recipe sadly isn't for you, cause there are a lot of butter and eggs in it.


Ingredients (yields 2 - 3 cookie sheets)

1.1 cups (250g) of butter 
1.25 cups (250g) of granulated sugar
1 lemon, grated zest
1 pinch of salt
3 eggs
4 cups (500g) of all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together
Add salt and lemon zest
Stir in one egg at a time 
Gradually mix in flour until incorporated

I like to flatten out my dough between two sheets of parchment paper before putting in into the fridge for about two hours.

Colin thought wearing an apron and a hat was completely embarrassing but was nice enough to put them on for two seconds so I could take a picture. You can tell he hated it ;-) I still think he looked cute. He'll probably sue me in a couple of years for publishing this:

Quickly, let's get rid of it. I can't believe I was wearing this. I must really love my Mommy!

Take the dough out of the fridge and give it a couple of minutes until it's rollable. 
Roll out about 0.3 inches (8mm) thick, cut out shapes and put on cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper.

Let them get firm in the fridge for 15 minutes, then paint with egg yolk (if you are going to ice your cookies, skip this step) and bake in your preheated oven for about 10 minutes at 390°F (200°C), let cool.

Let cool! I said let them cool! They are piping hot, don't touch them!!

Hubby insisted he wanted to try one. He wanted one so badly he agreed to wear the elf gear and have his picture taken (he must have known it ended up here, right?) That's how much he loves Mailänderli! Especially the first ones of the season.

The one below, left, reminds me of the black headed sheep we spotted the other day. Don't those rocking horses look like the toy store's logo? 


As we got a cookie cutter shaped as an elf's head of course we went for it!

With a simple icing made from confectioner's sugar and lemon juice we painted the tip - my friend over at Measurements of Merriment suggested to call it jingle ball, I love that name!) and the rim of the hat, the eyes and the collar. Yes, really painted. With a brand new paint brush from the crafts shop. It worked much better for me than any piping bag!

Then we added some red food coloring to the icing and painted the hat and the smiling lips.

Finally, using food coloring pencils, we drew hair and eyes. Oh, and eyelashes ;-)

Now you know why our elf is called Cookie ;-)