Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Don't Bake These Cookies

lekvar cookies
Are you a little crazed right now, rushing to finish everything before Christmas eve? You know -  decorating the house, shopping for gifts, wrapping presents, planning the feast for Christmas eve or Christmas day, and baking cookies too? Take a deep breath ..... and don't bake these cookies.

sweet taralli cookies
 I'm posting these recipes because they're part of my childhood cookie archive and I wanted to make sure I have the recipe written down for the future. But guess what? I'm not making them this year. These photos are from last Christmas. This year, I'm skipping them - not because I don't love them, but because I need to schedule in some time to just relax. I baked dozens of other cookies earlier in the month for a party we held for my dad's 90th birthday and I'm calling it quits on the cookie front. 

I want to be in a state to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, not collapse and rejoice that they're over.

I hope you manage to carve out a little time for yourself too amid the hustle and bustle of preparing for the holidays. So bake these cookies or any of your own favorites if you've got extra energy, or the spirit moves you, but if you need a little time to decompress -  go get a massage (as I'm doing tomorrow), attend a concert (ditto) or have coffee with neighbors (double-ditto).   

Lekvar Cookies

3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 jar lekvar (prune filling) or any other kind of jam you prefer

Mix everything in a mixer and roll into a disk shape. Chill for at least one hour. Roll out 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares. Fill each square with a small spoonful of lekvar. Starting from a one of the four points of the square, fold over two sides toward the center. Moisten with a little water to help the dough stick together. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 - 14 minutes. When cool, dust with confectioner's sugar.

Sweet Taralli

5 1/2 cups flour, plus more for working the dough
1 1/2 T. baking powder
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 T. vanilla


3 cups confectioner's sugar
4 T. water
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 t. vanilla extract
multicolor sprinkles for decoration, optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the flour and baking powder, mixing well. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in the sugar, butter and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour mixture. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly to mix. Separate into sixteen even sections. With each of the sixteen sections, roll into a log about 12-14 inches long. Cut this piece into four pieces and roll those until they're about four or five inches long. Bring the two ends together and pinch them to hold in the shape of a circle. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes until the taralli are puffed and golden brown on the bottom. They will remain pale on top.

Cool on a baking rack, then combine all the ingredients for the icing in a bowl and spread over the cookies, using sprinkles to decorate.


  1. Loely cookies! I totally understand that you don't want to stress more by baking cookies... I made a few batches to send and for us, but that's all. I'm not going to go crazy and bake up a storm

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Merry Christmas Linda!! I will print and add the recipe to my book but aside from making potato latkes tomorrow night for a hanukkah party I don't expect to be baking any more this season...not going for the massage but definitely taking it easy!
    ♥, Susan

  3. Thanks for sharing your family recipes. Have a great holiday!

  4. Oh be quiet! Kirsten and Paul ate almost all my cookies and Matthew will need some when he comes home Friday. So I'm baking... some of them. Merry Christmas!

  5. I love the American tradition of cookie baking at Christmas. Your platter looks so generous and delicious! We have had a death in the family two weeks before Christmas so plans are very askew.Nonna Lucia will be very missed at the Christmas table.
    Boun Natale, Linda. Baci

  6. Lekvar is Hungarian for jam. My mom made these all the time whe I was gtowing up in Hungary.

  7. stellar as usual - merry christmas and a happy new year to you and yours!

  8. Merry Christmas Dear Linda!!! That massage idea sounds wonderful right now!

  9. Both cookies look delightful and I'm sure you're organized enough so that you're with your family and friends rather than stuck in the kitchen.

  10. The levkar cookies look very much like a Polish cookie eaten on Xmas Eve called Kolaczki. Any relation, I wonder…?

    And, yes indeed, a very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  11. Buone Feste to you too! Very best wishes for a Peaceful Christmas, Sally

  12. You can't fool me, the lekvar cookies are really funny shaped hamantaschen.
    I make my own lekvar for Purim because I can't find it where I live in England.
    Thanks for suggesting them.
    Happy Holiday!

  13. oh my goodness- they both look beautiful and tempting!

  14. Merry Christmas Linda...and you are right....I just decided not to go crazy and have no energy to enjoy myself. Chanukah dinner tonight....Christmas Eve and Christmas day are all mine....
    I am still smiling!

  15. Linda, have a lovely and peaceful holiday season. I send you warmest wishes for a delicous New Year, and thanks for sharing your culinary talents with us!

  16. Thank you for the recipes, Linda as the cookies look delicious and good for any time of the year!

    My husband and I are getting massages in a few weeks as we were given a gift card for a spa by my daughter and future son-in-law as an early Christmas present...they must have known we needed them ;)

    Wishing you a beautiful and peaceful Christmas!

  17. Cute! Good advice Linda! I hope you are all relaxed and enjoying Christmas Eve right now. I think I'll take that massage idea for next week :)
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and wonderful New year!

  18. Buon Natale and Buon Anno, Linda, to you and yours. You are so right to take some time to relax and decompress. There are way too many recipes to make and never enough time!

  19. Buon Anno cara Linda , auguro a te uno splendido 2012 pieno di felicità, amore ,salute e buona cucina naturalmente! un abbraccio..

  20. I'm pretty sure the sweet taralli are the cookies our upstairs neighbor used to make when I was a kid. I've been wondering what they were for decades! I'm gonna make them.