"I, for one, often wonder if the true magic of Christmas is how quickly time is able to disappear."
Perhaps the swift passage of time is not the magic of Christmas, but the grand illusion of life itself. This year has gone by in a whirlwind! In 2012, I have started freelancing full-time, a totaled my car, bought a house, moved my parents out of my childhood home, traveled across Spain and broken up with my boyfriend of two years. It's been a doozy and it's been a blur (to say the least).
Which brings me to my point: the real magic of Christmas is time spent together in the kitchen and around the table*. Christmas is the one time of year that families come together and miraculously, everyone wants to help.
here). Normally I wouldn't recommend baking something that is so involved - mixing, refrigerating, rolling each cookie into a ball and then in sugar, baking in five different batches... as my Jewish grandmother would say: OY! But at Christmas my Mom mixes the batter, we drink coffee together while it chills, I roll the dough into balls and pass it down to my little cousins to dunk in sparkly sugar.
So when my friend Leah told me she was making Linzer thumbprint cookies for the holidays, I thought, "what a perfect dessert for families to make together."
-makes 50-60 small cookies
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) salted butter
3/4 cup raw cane sugar
2 large egg yolks
2t almond extract
1 cup AP flour
1 cup almond meal, divided in half
1/2 t baking powder
1t five spice
1 jar farmer's market apple butter
Preheat oven to 300. Whisk flour, 1/2 cup almond meal, baking powder, and five spice together with a fork. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks one at a time, followed by almond extract. Gently fold in dry mixture in two parts, until just combined.
Roll dough into 1t sized balls and roll each one in remaining almond meal. Place on silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Make a well in the middle of the dough with the end of a wooden spoon. You want to put what looks like too much apple butter into the well- remember, the cookies are going to spread in the oven. I'd say a heaping 1/2t is about the right amount. Bake for 18 minutes and cool on a wire cookie rack.
I made these cookies as part of the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. They went out to three bloggers: Stacy from Every Little Thing, Liz from Cooking by Moonlight and Eleana from Chou Down. Special thanks to Trippin with Tara, Life of a 'Bama Girl and Twice Charmed Gourmet for sharing their Christmas cookies with me! And of course, to my dear friend Leah, who inspired me to make these cookies.
I am also very grateful for Maria Fine and Holli Hargett, who provided me with what feels like a lifetime supply of apple butter.
And how could I forget? My beautiful friend Colleen, who is turning THIRTY today made the wooden stand that is pictured. If you would like to buy one you can email her at sayooh [at] gmail [dot] com.
*(If ever there was an appropriate time to say the much-hated-by-my-Mother word, "DUH," it would be here.)