Archive for November, 2010

Florentine ew

I first made these Italian cookies for Christmas a couple of years ago and it was Love at first bite. Since then, they have become a “several times a year, kinda thing” at our house and they dissapear faster than any other cookie I make. They are nutty and crispy with a hint of orange, 2 cookies held together with a generous layer of chocolate. Orange and chocolate, does it get any better than that?



Danish Christmas Tradition: St. Lucia (Saint Lucy’s Day)

St. Lucia is believed to be a saint who suffered a martyr’s death around AD 310. The tradition of celebrating St. Lucia was imported from Sweden during WWII as a passive protest against the German occupation. St. Lucia is celebrated on December 13th and it is seen as a procession lead by one girl wearing a crown of candles on her head followed by other girls who hold a single candle in their hands. All the girls are dressed in white and they sing “Sankta Lucia” while walking slowly and carefully. The St. Lucia procession is performed in schools, hospitals and nursing homes where they bring great joy and excitement.

Bring to a rolling boil

Bring to a rolling boil

Florentine Cookies (makes 28 small sandwiched cookies)


1 3/4 cups sliced blanched almonds (200 gram or 7 oz)

3 tbsp all-purpose flour

zest of 1 orange (about 2 tbsp)

1/4 tsp fine salt

3/4 cup sugar (155 gram or 5.4 oz)

2 tbsp heavy cream

2 tbsp light corn syrup

5 tbsp unsalted butter (70 gram or 2.5 oz)

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

6 oz semisweet chocolate (170 gram)


Position a rack in the center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely chopped, but not pasty. Stir together the almonds, flour, zest and salt in a large bowl.

Put the sugar, cream, corn syrup and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a rolling boil and sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, then pour mixture into almond mixture and stir just until combined. Set aside until cool enough to handle, 30 minutes.

Scoop rounded teaspoons  (for 3 inch cookies) or rounded tablespoons (for 6 inch cookies) of batter and roll into balls. Place on prepared baking sheets, leaving 3 to 4 inches between each cookie since they spread.

Bake 1 pan at a time, until the cookies are thin and even golden brown color, rotating pan halfway through baking time, about 8 to 11 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.

Chop semisweet chocolate and place in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch water to a simmer and set bowl filled with chocolate over the saucepan, making sure bowl is not touching water. Stir chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth.

Drop a generous amount of melted chocolate (1/2 to 1 teaspoon) onto the flat side of a cookie and press together with a second cookie to form a sandwich. Return to rack and let chocolate set completely.

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥

Florentine Cookies

Florentine Cookies

Source: Food Network Kitchen

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Red Wine Gløgg

In the weeks leading up to Christmas there are many “get togethers” at work, in town, schools, clubs, friends and family stopping by to say hello. You can serve just about anything for your guests, really, or you could serve the traditional warm drink Gløgg and some warm Danish Æbleskiver. This combination is especially wonderful when you are coming in from the freezing cold outside.

Gløgg was imported to Denmark from our neighbors in Sweden and it started to take hold on the Danes in the years around WWII. There are many variations of Gløgg recipes out there and no one correct way to make it. Some contain brandy, cognac, port wine, vodka or snaps but the base is almost always red wine, although there are also some white wine versions, as well as non-alcoholic children’s versions. Back in the old days it was also thought to have some healing effects for winter depression, well at least for a short while 😉


1 bottle red wine

1 cup white port wine

1 tablespoon Cardamom pods

1 stick Cinnamon

8 whole Cloves

4 pieces crystalized ginger

1 1/2 deciliter dark brown sugar (1/2 cup)

1 cup raisins

slivered almonds


Place the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cloves, crystalized ginger and sugar in the port and red wine overnight or at least 1-2 hours before serving. Before serving, gently heat the liquid on the stove but do not allow to boil. Run the wine through a sieve to remove the spices, then add the raisins and almonds to the wine and serve warm.

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas ♥

Source: My Danish Kitchen


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Danish Æbleskiver

Æbleskiver is a tasty Danish dessert that looks like round puffy pancakes. The word æbleskive means apple slice and it first appeared in the middle ages where slices of apple were dipped in a batter and fried. When the æbleskive pan was introduce sometime in the 1700’s, æbleskiver were baked with small pieces of apple or prunes in the center. Today in Denmark æbleskiver is typically baked without anything in the center and they are served with a strawberry, lingonberry or raspberry jam or simply just dipped in sugar.

Æbleskiver are often served during the Christmas month perhaps as a special treat at a Christmas fair, when family or friends are visiting, little Christmas Eve (Dec 23rd) or maybe New Years Day. These Danish delicacies are served warm with a dusting of powdered sugar and sometimes with a warm glass of either red or white Gløgg.


Æbleskiver (makes 35)


60 gram butter (4 tablespoon) – melted and set aside

250 gram flour (2 cups)

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 large eggs

4 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon Cardamom

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup buttermilk

a pinch of salt

zest of 1 lemon


Melt butter and set aside. Sift flour and baking powder in a bowl. In a second bowl, beat eggs, sugar and cardamom until frothy and lighter in color. In a third bowl, stir together the buttermilk and cream. Taking turns, add flour and buttermilk to egg mixture while beating, mix until smooth. Add salt, lemon zest and cooled butter, stir to mix. Place batter in refrigerator and let rest 30 minutes. If batter is very thick after resting add a little more buttermilk. Use Canola oil or butter for frying.


Must have a Æbleskive pan for cooking, making sure it is well seasoned if cast iron.

Traditionally, æbleskiver are turned with a thin knitting needle (why a knitting needle ? not sure, but you can find a knitting needle in most Danish households and the metal needle works really well grabbing the æbleskive to rotate in a cast iron pan). If you don’t have a knitting needle, try using a metal skewer or it can be done with a fork although a bit clumsy.

Make sure your heat is high enough, medium heat.

Make sure to preheat your pan, 5 to 10 minutes.

Use enough oil or butter for frying.

Some source recommend turning the æbleskiver in 1/3 turns or 1/4 turns while others turn them in 1/2 turns. Try the different methods and see what you feel most comfortable with. Here is a link with a video on how to make and turn the æbleskiver.

If you’re having trouble with the æbleskiver turning out right, don’t worry, the first pan-full rarely turn out perfect, keep going.

Æbleskiver can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 4 months.

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥

Æbleskiver pan


Source: My Danish Kitchen


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Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Jam Thumbprint cookies are a regular visitor in our home at Christmas time. It has been my son’s favorite ever since he was a little boy and they always seem to simply just disappear. Use whatever your favorite jam is. What I used this time was strawberry, cherry and a wonderful jam containing apricot, peach and passion fruit which have become wildly popular here at our house. Also, it is not an accident (well it actually is….but it’s not) that the recipe calls for both vanilla bean as well as vanilla extract. I did that totally by accident one year because I misread the recipe but it turned out even better, so ever since then I have used both. But if you don’t have the vanilla bean on hand just go with the extract, they still turn out great.  🙂

Thumbprint Cookies (makes 37 cookies)


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (230 g)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 whole stick or 113 g), at room temperature

2/3 cup sugar (140 g), plus more for rolling

1 large egg

1 vanilla bean – seeds scraped from pod (optional)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup of your favorite jam (strawberry, cherry etc)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

In another bowl, whip the butter and sugar with an electrical mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla bean (if using) and the vanilla extract until combined. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing just until incorporated.

Scoop the dough into a 1 inch ball, toss in the extra sugar and roll using the palm of your hands. Place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Press a thumbprint (or I use a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon) into the center of dough ball, about 1/2 inch deep. Fill indentation with about 3/4 teaspoon jam.

Bake cookies until edges are golden, about 15 minutes. Rotate the pans from top to bottom about halfway through baking. Cool cookies on the baking sheets. Enjoy.

Store cookies in a tightly sealed container.

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥

1/2 teaspoon measuring tool makes indenting the cookies easy

Fill with your favorite jam

Source: adapted from Food Network


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Vaniljekranse is a traditional Danish cookie made in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  I have very fond memories of helping my Mom and Dad make vaniljekranse when I was a little girl. It’s a fun process of the dough coming out of the grinder into strips, cutting the strips into pieces and forming them into circles. The cookies have a sweet vanilla flavor and are slightly crunchy on the outside. Making Vaniljekranse makes for wonderful Danish family “hygge” (coziness).

Vaniljekranse are not difficult to make, however, it took some doing to actually make it happen. The reason being, that in Denmark there is an attachment to your meat grinder that has a star shape on it. So the dough is run through the meat grinder with the star attachment. I could probably just have used a pastry bag with a star tip, I tried it, but it takes a lot of muscle to get the dough out. The other option would be to use a cookie press and you can get some sort of circle pattern, but I really wanted to show the making of this cookie the authentic way.



So I described the attachment to my wonderful husband Joe, he looked at the thickness of the meat grinder discs, and him being a Blacksmith and all, he was able to fabricate the disc for me…Yeah! My wonderful husband is so brilliant, I think I’ll keep him  🙂  He helped me make this cookie the authentic way. Thanks Joe.

Update: I have since then been able to buy a star attachment in Bilka in Denmark while we were home for a visit, it fits my KitchenAid mixer perfectly.

Star attachment for KitchenAid

Star attachment for KitchenAid

Star attachment for KitchenAid

Star attachment for KitchenAid



375 grams flour (13 oz)

125 grams cornstarch (4.4 oz)

375 grams salted butter (13 oz)

100 grams slivered almonds (3.5 oz)

250 grams sugar (8.8 oz)

1 vanilla bean

2 teaspoon vanilla powder

1 egg


Place slivered almonds in food processor and blend until a powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl add flour and cornstarch, blend together. Cut butter into small pieces, add butter to flour mixture and blend together on low-speed with a handheld mixer until it starts to become crumbly. Cut open vanilla bean and scrape out seeds. Add vanilla seeds, vanilla powder, almonds and sugar, blend to combine. Add egg and mix to combine. Using your hands, press mixture together until it forms a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 390 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using the star attachment for your meat grinder, pastry bag or cookie press to form your cookies. Traditionally, you will use a star attachment for your meat grinder. Cut dough into small segments and load into the meat grinder. Run the dough through the star attachment into long strips, place dough onto floured surface. Then cut dough into 4 inch long pieces and form into circle. Place on prepared baking sheets.  Bake in the middle of oven for 8 minutes or until slightly golden. Cool on baking sheets.

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥

Ground up slivered almonds

Dough coming out of grinder

Strips of dough


Source: adapted from my Mother’s recipe


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Coconut Macaroon

Coconut Macaroon

Coconut Macaroons are one of Joe’s absolute favorite cookies and I am right there with him. They are simply delicious! Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside and they could not be any easier to make. If you like, you can dip the bottom of the cookies in melted chocolate. I do half and half since Joe likes the addition of the chocolate, I however, thinks it takes away from the coconut flavor. Coconut Macaroons do not belong exclusively to Christmas time but they are likely to show up in our house anytime of the year. If you enjoy coconut then I’m sure you’ll love these wonderful little treats.

Coconut Macaroon

Coconut Macaroon

Danish Christmas Tradition: Kalenderlyset (Calendar Candle) and Juledekorationer (Christmas Center Pieces)

In addition to the Advent Reef, in Denmark we also have Calendar Candles which play in important role in the days leading up to Christmas. This tradition became popular under the German occupation in 1942 when Denmark was blanketed in darkness. The candle has the numbers 1 thru 24 printed on it and you light it every day just long enough to burn down one number. Once the candle is burned down to the 24th, it’s Christmas. Back home in Denmark, we would light our calendar candle at the breakfast table and one of us kids got to blow out the candle before it burned down too far.

In Denmark it is also tradition to either buy or make Juledekorationer which are centerpieces with one or multiple candles. My parents always made our own and my Dad really got carried away with this task. We would typically end up with three or four beautiful juledekorationer placed at different locations throughout the house. When making the juledekorationer you can pretty much let your imagination run wild. You can use items like pine cones, cinnamon sticks, small christmas bulbs, bows and fresh greens (pine, holly etc). The juledekoration with its candles bring a calming, beautiful focal point into the room and a sense of that all important Danish “Hygge” (coziness) is created.

This juledecoration was given to me by my Danish friend Kaja

Coconut Macaroons


2 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups (9 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an insulated baking sheet (or use 2 baking sheets stacked on top of one another).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, flour and vanilla extract until well blended. Stir in coconut.

Using a 1-tablespoon measuring spoon,  drop the dough into mounds on prepared sheet, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 14-16 minutes, until they are golden brown around the edges and a few strands of coconut on the tops of the cookie start to turn golden. Cool the cookies completely on the baking sheet on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Once the cookies are cooled completely, you can dip the bottom of the cookie in melted chocolate, if you desire.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Cookies are best on the day they are made.

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥

Piled like a haystack

Right out of the oven Coconut Macaroon

Source: The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle


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Danish Pebernødder

Danish Pebernødder

Pebernødder is a natural part of Christmas in Denmark and there is almost always a small bowl of Pebernødder accompanying the afternoon or evening coffee/tea time. Pebernødder may also be found in decorative paper cones (kræmmerhuse) which are hung on the Christmas tree and pebernødder are also used in Childrens games. Although Pebernødder can be found in practically any store in Denmark, it’s really a fun activity to bake them at home, espically if you have younger children in your household. Baking with your children at Christmas time is an activity that brings closeness and hygge into the home (“hygge” danish word meaning coziness, togetherness, warmth). Kids love rolling the dough into long rolls and cutting them up into bite size pieces, not to mention the added benefit of getting first dips on tasting the cookies once out of the oven. Baking was one of my favorite activities with my parents when I was growing up and they are memories I’ll treasure forever.

Pebernødder is thought to be the oldest Christmas cookie in Denmark and it came, like so many things, from Germany (Pfeffernussen). Directly translated Pebernødder means pepper nuts. In the old days “to pepper” meant to season and they were reffered to as nuts because there was no baking soda back then and so the cookies were hard like nuts. Todays Pebernødder is not hard like nuts but rather crunchy and mildly spicy. Some Pebernødder recipes will have a small amount of white pepper in them, just enough to leave a warm sensation on your tongue, this one does not. This particular recipe is a little milder with a warm cardamom flavor.

Pebbernødder hygge

Pebernødder dough



80 gram salted butter (6 tablespoons)

225 gram sugar (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon)

1 egg

1 deciliter whipping cream (1/2 cup)

350 gram flour (3 cups) (add more flour if needed to bring dough together)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cardamom


Preheat oven to 225 degrees C (400 degrees F). Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cardomom and set aside.

In your mixer using the paddle attachment, mix together butter and sugar until creamy and smooth. Add egg and mix. Then add whipping cream and mix. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Remove dough from mixing bowl onto a floured surface. Using your hands bring dough together, adding a little more flour if needed until it holds together and forms a ball. Divide dough into smaller pieces and roll into long rolls measuring the width of your fingers. Cut into 1 1/2 centimeter pieces. Place on baking sheets about 1 inch apart and bake for approximately 12 minutes until just turning golden.

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥

Pebbernødder Christmas parade

Source: Faster Philip


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Sparkling Linzer Stars

Sparkling Linzer Stars

I first saw the Sparkling Linzer Star recipe in Better Homes and Gardens magazine many years ago. The cookies are so festive and Christmasy and the process of assembling them is a lot of fun.  The recipe calls for both regular flour and whole wheat flour which makes it a little healthier, but I suppose you could just use all-purpose flour if you’re not into that sort of thing. Make sure to use a generous portion of seedless raspberry jam to increase the “delish” factor.

Flettede julestjerne

Danish Christmas Tradition: Juletræet (The Christmas Tree)

The Christmas Tree tradition has very old roots dating back to at least St. Boniface of Geismar, Germany. There are so many variations of this tradition depending on where in the world your located. In Danmark it’s tradition to put up and decorate the tree on Dec 23rd, although a lot of people now wish to put the tree up earlier. My parents would decorate the tree in the evening of the 23rd (little Christmas Eve) after my siblings and I were sent off to bed. The excitement was so intense that I could barely sleep and waking up to see the beautiful tree the following morning was almost magical. Old tradition for the Danish Christmas Tree is to decorate it with live candles, small Danish flags on a string, the children’s homemade braided paper hearts (flettede hjerter), paper cones (kræmmerhuse), braided stars (flettede stjerner) and some glass bulbs. Christmas in Denmark is celebrated on the eve of Dec 24th. The day of the 24th is spent waiting in anticipation, snacking on fruits, nuts and candy. A light but extra delicious lunch. Family oriented Christmas programs are on TV to help pass the time and finally after a spectacular dinner the time has come. It is time to form a circle around the tree, holding hands and sing Christmas hymns and Christmas songs while dancing around the Christmas tree. The tradition of dancing around the Christmas tree dates back to approximately 1830’s and it’s a tradition seen in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. After everyone has lost their breath from singing and dancing it is finally time to open the presents. And so you see, the glorious Christmas tree plays quite an important role to help create Danish Christmas Hygge.

Sparkling Linzer Stars Ingredients

Sparkling Linzer Stars


1-1/3 cups butter

2 cups packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

powdered sugar (optional)

Star cutouts

Centers cut out

Seedless Raspberry jam


Beat butter in a large bowl on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until well combined. Beat in as much of both kinds of flour as you can, stir in remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for 1 hour or until firm enough to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll each portion of dough on a floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. Cut into shapes using star cutters (I used a 4 inch and a 1-1/4 inch). Transfer 4 inch cutout cookie dough to prepared cookie sheets. Using the smaller 1-1/4 inch cookie cutter, cut out center from half of the unbaked cookies; remove centers and reroll dough to make more cookies.

Bake in preheated oven for 7-9 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very light brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, cool.

Spread the bottom of each solid cookie with a generous amount of raspberry jam. If desired, sift powdered sugar over the cookies with the cutout centers and place atop cookies with raspberry jam, sugar side up. Store in covered container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥

Linzer Stars

Linzer Stars

Source: Better Homes and Gardens


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Danish Fedtebrød cookies

Danish Fedtebrød cookies

To me, Christmas time is the best time a year. It is filled with joy, excitement and what the Danes call “Hygge”. Hygge is a cozy, happy and relaxed atmosphere. Live candles are an important part of creating Hygge and Christmas time is filled with candles. Some of my fondest childhood memories are from the days leading up to Christmas Eve. Being in the kitchen with my mom and dad baking cookies. Yes you heard me right, my dad always took as much a part of baking and cooking as my mother and they are both excellent in the kitchen. They would bake about 4 or 5 different types of cookies and I would do my best to get in the way to help them. Fedtebrød is one of those cookies which bring me back to Christmas in Denmark. It is a soft coconut cookie with a mild rum glaze on top.

Advent reef

Danish Christmas Tradition: Adventskransen  (Advent Reef)

The Advent Reef is a round reef typically decorated with pine, pine cones, red berries etc and four candles. It is either free standing or hung with ribbons and the colors are typically a red and white combination. The first candle is lit on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, then the first and seconds candle is lit on the third Sunday before Christmas and so on, until all four Candles are lit on the last Sunday before Christmas. I should mention that Christmas is celebrated in Denmark on the Eve of December 24th. The Advent Reef has been a tradition in almost all Danish homes since the 1930’s and it’s a celebration of what is coming at Christmas, that being the Birth of the Jesus Child. Whether you are a religious person or not, it’s a beautiful tradition to make the reef and lighting the candles every Sunday in anticipation of Christmas. It brings a sense of joy, Hygge and excitement into those hectic days.

Fedtebrød Ingredients

Fedtebrød Cookies


For cookie dough:

125 gram flour (1 cup 2 tablespoons)

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

125 gram butter (9 tablespoons) cut into small pieces

65 gram sweetened coconut (3/4 cup loosely packed)

65 gram sugar (5 tablespoon)

For glaze:

100 gram powdered sugar (1 cup)

2 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon rum

1 teaspoon flour

Roll dough into cylinder

Roll dough into a rectangle


Preheat oven to 200 degrees C ( 392 degrees F ) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place flour, baking powder, butter, coconut and sugar in a medium bowl and mix with a hand-held mixer. The mixture will be crumbly. Dust flour on working surface and on your hands. Then press mixture together using your hands until it forms a ball of dough. Divide dough into three balls of dough. Using your hands, form ball of dough into long rolls approx 9 x 1 inch long. Place on floured surface and using your rolling-pin gently roll dough into a 12 x 2 1/2 – 3 inch rectangle. Move the dough (with the help of a spatula) onto prepared baking sheet and using your hands and spatula press dough edges to make a more uniform edge. Repeat with two remaining dough balls.

Bake until golden brown, approx 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 4-5 minutes. While cookies are cooling, mix glaze together. While cookies are still warm, spread the glaze over cookies. Cool for another 4-5 minutes and then cut cookies diagonally. Complete cooling on baking sheet.

Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas♥

Put glaze on while still warm

Cut diagonally

Source: adapted from my Mother’s recipe


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