If you have been following me for some time, you know by now, that we are entering my preferred season of the year. December and Christmas time are a period I absolutely adore. The weather, the ambiance, even the short daylight make this time of the year very special to me.
Growing up in France, and especially in the East of France (a bit of geography/history: I am from Moselle, in Lorraine, which shares special laws and traditions with Alsace, all coming from the time when this part of France was regularly disputed between France and Germany), we have some very specific traditions some of which have been taken on by German traditions, such as Saint Nicolas, which is celebrated on December 6th and who is the Saint Patron of the children.
There is also the tradition of the Christmas cookies (which are not only “cookies”) which we call bredeles. I have made a tradition in our house to spend an entire day to bake those bredeles. I love everything about it, the atmosphere, the day spend to do something completely different than the normal day to day, the fantastic smell in the house.
I usually take a day off and start straight after the family has left the house, around 7:30. I have planned in advanced which sorts of bredeles I will bake so I have all the needed ingredients at home. There are couple of basics recipes which I do every year, but I love to try out some new ones as well. Of course, Christmas carols are going all day long! I stop around 6:00 if I am lucky and my kitchen at that time look like a battle field! There are bredeles every where, flour all over the kitchen work tops and a cup of tea following me. I am often exhausted, but it is the good kind of exhaustion.
I share a lot of my baking, being with friends or at work. It has happened several times, that I had to do more baking just before Xmas because I was short of bredeles.
There are many sorts of bredeles which I love, and I have shared two of them last year. Here is the recipe of some biscuits with chocolate and hazelnuts.
To make those ones, you will need:
225 grams room temperature butter
100 grams icing sugar
100 grams kamut flour (can be replaced by spelt flour)
100 grams rice flour (can be replaced by quinoa flour or millet flour)
125 grams grounded hazelnuts
40 grams cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pre-heat the oven to 160C (fan oven)/302F.
In a bowl, whisk the butter until smooth and light. Add the icing sugar, the vanilla extract, cinnamon and egg and mix all until well incorporated. In a separate bowl, put together the flours, the cocoa and baking soda. Add the dry mix to the wet mix and make sure it is well combined. Finish by adding the hazelnuts.
Let the dough rest in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes. Line several baking trays with greaseproof paper. Using a piping pouch with the biggest tip make small “logs” about 2 inches long.
Bake them for about 10 minutes and let them cool on a rack.