The five most popular Christmas cookies
In the houses of Upper Austria, the wonderful smell of Christmas cookies is in the air. In Upper Austria, they are as much a part of Christmas as the Christmas tree, the nativity scene or going to the Advent market. We present you the 5 most popular Christmas biscuits of Upper Austrians and tell you the recipes on top of that.
1. Linzer Augen (Linzer cookies)
150 g plain wheat flour
100 g butter
50 g icing sugar
50 g peeled and finely grated almonds
1 egg yolk
Freshly grated lemon peel (or lemon peel powder)
10 g vanilla sugar
Pinch of salt
Apricot or redcurrant jam for the filling
Quickly combine all the ingredients and knead into a dough. Refrigerate briefly if necessary. Tip: the easiest way to roll out this very crumbly dough is between two baking mats or strong freezer bags.
Press out cookie shapes of your choosing, cutting one or three holes in the centre of half of them with a very small cutter or a piping bag. Bake in a preheated oven at 165°C for about 12 minutes until golden brown.
Once cooled, stick pairs of cookies together with jam. If you like, you can then dust them with icing sugar.
2. Mostkekse (Cider biscuits)
Reduce 250 ml cider down to 40 ml
250 g plain flour
200 g butter
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
Redcurrant or raspberry jam for the filling
1–2 egg whites for glazing
Vanilla sugar mixed with finely sifted icing sugar for dusting
On a low heat, reduce the cider down to 40 ml to intensify the flavour. Add the reduced cider to the rest of the ingredients in a bowl or on a work surface. Mix using your hands and quickly work into a short dough. Cover with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for two to three hours.
Roll out the dough to a thickness of around 3 mm. Placing the dough between two baking mats or vacuum sealer bags dusted with a little flour is a great way to do this, but you can also get good results on a well-floured worktop if you roll out small amounts at a time. Using a pastry wheel or a knife, cut out round shapes with a diameter of 4–5 cm or small rectangles. Brush the edges of the rounds or rectangles with egg white, drop some jam in the centre, fold them in half and press the edges together well.
Place the biscuits on a greased or lined baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 165–175°C for 12 to 14 minutes until just golden, keeping a close eye on them to prevent burning. Dust the warm biscuits with the sugar mixture.
3. Lebkuchen (Gingerbread biscuits)
300 g rye flour
180 g unrefined or golden caster sugar
10 g cinnamon
10 g bicarbonate of soda
20 g lebkuchen spice mix
80 g honey
To glaze: milk or beaten egg
Mix all the ingredients together and knead into a dough before leaving to rest overnight at room temperature.
On a floured worktop or between two baking mats, roll out the gingerbread to a thickness of 3 mm and press out shapes using cutters of your choice (take care not to use too much flour). Brush the shapes with milk or egg and bake at 165–175°C for 10 to 12 minutes until light brown. Once removed from the oven, but while they’re still hot, you can brush or coat the biscuits with sugar glaze to give them a shiny finish. When they’ve cooled, decorate with chocolate icing, royal icing or glacé icing. Scatter with chocolate sprinkles or coloured sugar.
4. Nussbusserl (Nut kisses)
2 egg whites
200 g caster sugar
20 ml water
90 g finely ground hazelnuts
40 g plain wheat or finely ground spelt flour
40 g melted and cooled butter
Pinch of salt
Whisk the egg whites together with half of the sugar and salt until stiff. Boil the remaining sugar with water until the mixture foams. Pour into the beaten egg whites while still hot, stirring constantly. Stir until cold. Add the nuts, flour and a little cinnamon if desired before mixing in the melted butter. Pour the mixture into a piping bag with a round nozzle and pipe small peaks onto a lined baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 165–175°C for 10 to 12 minutes until light brown. If necessary, allow the biscuits to dry out a little before baking.
5. Vanillekipferl (Vanilla crescents)
300 g flour
250 g butter
120 g finely ground hazelnuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts or pumpkin seeds)
100 g finely sifted icing sugar or caster sugar
20 g vanilla sugar
Pinch of salt
Finely sifted icing sugar mixed with vanilla sugar for dusting
Use your hands to mix all the ingredients together in a bowl or on a worktop, working them quickly into a dough. Cover with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least two to three hours.
Shape into long rolls (3 cm thick) and cut off small pieces with a dough scraper. Use the flat of your hand to form rolls around 4 cm in length and bend them into crescents. Transfer the biscuits to a greased or lined baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 165–175°C for 10 to 12 minutes until just golden, keeping a close eye on them to prevent burning. While the crescents are still hot and on the tray, dust them with the mixture of icing sugar and vanilla sugar. Allow to cool before carefully removing from the tray using a palette knife. Store in an airtight container.