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.
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
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
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
powdered sugar (optional)
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♥
Source: Better Homes and Gardens