Layers of crispy shortcrust pastry are slathered with apricot jam and covered with sweet almond paste. Dipped in rich dark chocolate and garnished with caramelised cashews. These cookies are a crowd-pleaser and sure to delight your family and friends over the holidays.
I've been a fan of European traditional sweets as long as I can remember. And long before I learnt how to cook, I was mesmerised by the combination of flavors and ingredients Europeans use to create such beautiful and mouthwatering desserts.
When I lived in Chicago, it became our annual tradition to visit Christkindlmarket in November.
It's a place where lots of European vendors come to sell their local products and delicious food and we were always eager to try and buy it all.
There are always a few stores that gather large crowds. One with Christmas decorations and one with German sweets. We always belonged to the second crowd. If you've ever tried German sweets, you know they are the best. Seriously.
With the abundance of Marzipan desserts, Gingerbreads and other traditional sweets, you can't help it but stock up on everything before it's gone.
Now, that we moved to Indiana, we don't visit Chicago often and this year we're missing Christkindlmarket. But since it's a holiday baking season, I decided to recreate one of the traditional German cookies at home.
They're called Hausfreunde, which means Friend of the house. I love these cookies because they have several different layers, crispy, super delicious, look festive and are a great treat for the holidays.
If you're looking for a new fun recipe for the holidays, try these Hausfreunde cookies and I promise, you will be making them again.
- In a bowl of standing mixer, combine flour, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times. Add butter, egg and vanilla extract and process until soft dough starts to form and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Place the dough onto a plastic, pat it into a disc, cover with another piece of plastic and chill for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and cover 2 baking sheets with a parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough ¼ inch thick. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Carefully transfer them onto prepared baking sheets. Gather the scrap dough, roll it out, and cut again. There should be 48 rounds.
- Bake cookies for 20 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and transfer to cooling rack.
- Put apricot jam in a microwave-safe dish and heat for about 30 seconds until jam is runny.
- Brush a thin layer of jam on half of the cookies and cover with the remaining cookies.
- Place almond paste between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it out ⅛ inch thick. Using the same 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds. You need 24 rounds.
- Brush the top of each cookie with a thin layer of apricot jam and top with almond paste round.
- Place dark chocolate in a small bowl or cup and put it in the microwave. Heat it in 30 seconds intervals stirring in between sessions until chocolate has melted. Dip the top of each cookie in the melted chocolate and carefully place it on a wire rack.
- Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat and add cashews. Toast them tossing occasionally until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and stir until the nuts are evenly coated in the melted sugar. Transfer caramelised nuts onto a parchment paper and let them cool for a few minutes.
- Roughly chop cashew and place about 1 teaspoon of chopped nuts in the center of each cookie.
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