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Christmas Cookies

It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas!  It’s almost semi-miraculous since the cold-from-hell had made my sniffer almost worthless.  But Christmas Baking waits for no man, so Typhoid Timmy headed in to the kitchen with Victor to make a batch of Aunt Emma’s Apricot Cookies.

This was supposed to be the weekend Gino and Elizabeth baked cookies with us, but they wisely chose to stay out of the quarantine area.  There will be more cookies and other years.

(And yes, the hands were washed often and no sneezing or coughing over the cookies occurred.)

Victor had made the apricot filling yesterday and made the dough this morning.  My job this year was to roll and cut.  It’s the easy part.

The dough was perfect.  Very easy to roll and cut.

Victor did the filling and forming.  Definitely the more labor-intensive part of the job.  I know.  It’s the job I usually do.  he had me roll this year.  I immediately agreed!

Aunt Emma’s Apricot Cookies

Filling:

  • 1 pound dried apricots, chopped fine (soaked overnight – we soak in apricot brandy!)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • grated lemon rind (we use about a tablespoon – the amount was never specified)

Drain apricots. Place in saucepan with lemon rind, sugar, and water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until water is absorbed.  Be really careful — it burns easily.  Cool.

Dough:

  • 2 pkg dry yeast
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 pound lard (Yes, lard. Shortening just doesn’t cut it.)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 shot whiskey
  • Juice and rind from 1 lemon

Proof yeast with 1 tsp sugar and 1/4 cup warm water.  Cut lard into flour, as you would for a pie dough.  Make a well in the mixture and add all the other ingredients, including yeast.

Work dough with your hands and form into a ball.  (Don’t overwork.  Use a light hand.)  Refrigerate overnight.

Roll cold dough to about 1/8″ thick.  Aunt Emma would cut the dough into triangles, place a scant teaspoon of filling at the wide end, then roll up and shape into a crescent similar to a croissant. It takes a bit of practice. The easier way is to cut squares, fill, and fold over. Cut into 2″ squares or circles. Place scant teaspoon of filling, fold and seal. Shape into crescent.

Bake at 325° until golden brown on lightly greased sheets or ungreased parchment paper. (Investing in a box of parchment paper is the only way to fly!!)
Cool completely and dust with powdered sugar.

And since we were low on bread, I baked a loaf of the no-knead bread from my Mom’s cook book that I made last week.  It was really good and this one looks to be just as good – if not better!

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