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Pistachio Wreaths or Yesil Fistik Bisküvi December 14, 2007

Posted by Paula Erbay in Desserts.
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¼ lb Butter, unsalted room temperature
¼ cup Sugar
¼ tsp Cinnamon, Ground
Lemon Zest from 1 lemon, finely grated
1 Egg Yolk
¾ Cup Flour, All-Purpose
¼ lb Pistachio Nuts, Raw, Shelled, unsalted (not dyed)
16 Cherries, Candied (cut in half for 32 pieces)
Jam of your choice

Finely grind pistachios, should be about 1 1/3 Cups ground.

Beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon zest until creamy. Beat in egg yolk. Sift flour over mixture, add pistachios and mix until thoroughly blended. Divide dough in half. Sift a little powdered sugar or flour over work surface. Roll each dough portion into a log about 8 inches long (on prepared surface). Wrap rolls in plastic or wax paper. Place rolls on a baking sheet and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350F, lightly grease two baking sheets (or use parchment paper).

Cut each log into 16 pieces. Slightly flatten each piece and make a dent in center (like for Thumbprint cookies). Place on prepared baking sheet. Fill each dent with jam of your choice (I use Apricot, Raspberry, or Strawberry). Place a candied cherry half on each cookie.

Bake for 10 -15 minutes until lightly golden. Let rest in pan a couple of minutes, then transfer to wire rack until completely cooled.

Makes 32 cookies



Almond Horn Cookies December 8, 2007

Posted by Paula Erbay in Desserts.
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These cookies say “Christmas” to me and my family. The scent of almonds and sweet butter filling the house transports us to a different time and place. The warmth of Grandma’s kitchen floods our senses and marks the start of the Christmas season. Grandma would make dozens and dozens of cookies. The variety was only matched by the taste and beauty of her creations: Almond Horn, Meringue Kisses, Linzer Wreaths, Kifle, and so many more. She would bring a box filled with these delicacies to every home she visited during the season – she was invited everywhere.

While Grandma has been gone for many years, her spirit is always with us when sharing these cookies.

½ lb Almonds, whole shelled
¾ lbs Butter, Unsalted
¾ Cup Sugar, Confection (Powdered), plus additional to dust finished cookies
3 Cups Flour, all purpose
1 tsp Vanilla extract (not imitation)

Grind the almonds in a food processor to a medium-fine consistency. Be careful not to over grind the nuts, you do not want the oils to be released which can create a paste. Blanching the almonds will result in a lighter colored cookie – I have not done that step in years and have had no complaints.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, ground almonds, flour, and vanilla. Beat until well blended. Pinch a walnut sized amount of dough (or use a cookie scoop) then roll into approximately 2 inch log and shape log into a crescent (or “Horn“).

Place on ungreased cookie sheet (or lined w/parchment), about 1 – 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake about 15 minutes, they should just start to turn color.

To coat with powdered sugar:
Grandma’s method: While still warm, shake in a bag with powdered sugar to coat.
Paula’s method: Sift powdered sugar on a jelly roll pan. Place warm cookies on sugar, sift more sugar over top.

You get more broken cookies with Grandma’s method, which is great for the cook as that’s who gets to eat the broken ones!

Yields about 50 large crescents per batch.  xmas-cookies.jpg