With the holidays fast approaching, I’d like to share with you two of my favorite recipes. Quiche Lorraine and Christmas Spice Cookies.
Quiche is a family favorite for all of our holiday breakfasts. I love it because it saves me time on the morning of the holiday. They’re great for a crowd and most of the work can be done a day or two ahead. And they make great leftovers, so I don’t have to cook the next day!
The spice cookies have become a Christmas tradition in our house since the kids were little. This recipe is terrific if you have small children. They can have fun cutting out the shapes and decorating them with currents and nuts. The dough does not have to be refrigerated and can be rolled out over and over without becoming tough. They also improve over time as the cookies actually soften and the spices permeate. And let’s not forget the yummy spiced aroma as the cookies bake, adding to the festive ambiance of Christmas.
8-inch baked pie crust
4 thin slices sautéed onion, sweet onions if available (Maui, Vidalia, Walla-Walla)
4 slices crispy bacon, chopped
8 deli-thin slices of ham, chopped
8 deli-thin slices of aged Swiss cheese
pinch of dry mustard
1 cup whole milk, or half and half
dash of nutmeg
Sprinkle bacon and onion in the bottom of the baked pie shell. Scatter half the ham over that, place thin layer of cheese over that, add the rest of the ham and the final thin layer of cheese.
(I usually make the above a day or two ahead and keep refrigerated, then on the holiday morning, I do the following and bake it while I set out the coffee, juice, rolls, etc.)
Microwave the milk. Beat the eggs and mustard. Gradually beat the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour over the filled shells. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
Bake at 350 until the custard is set. About 30 min.
I usually make up several of these for a crowd.
COUNTRY SPICE COOKIES
1 ½ cups unsalted butter
1 lb. box brown sugar (3-4 cups)
1 cup ground almonds ( 4 oz.)
2 tsp. baking soda ***( don’t forget this one! I did and it was a disaster)
4 tsp. cinnamon
4 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cloves
6 cups (1 ½ lbs. cake flour)
½ tsp. salt
1-2 egg yolks with enough water to thin slightly
Currents (smaller than raisins), blanched whole, sliced, and slivered almonds. Or whatever your imagination dreams up.
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Add remaining ingredients and knead until the dough is smooth. Roll out to ¼ inch thickness and cut into desired shapes (personal favorites: teddy bears, gingermen, xmas trees, stars, bells, hearts, angels, and sleighs). Use currents for eyes, buttons, xmas tree ornaments, etc.. Use nuts as your imagination dictates. Brush with an egg wash for shine.
Bake at 325 for 8-10 min.
Personally, I love to decorate my hearts with a blanched whole or sliced almond in the center like a tulip with a slivered almond on each side as leaves, and 3 currents in an arc over the center nut to look like stamens.
Have fun and enjoy!