Holiday 2016 Cookies

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  • Czechoslovakian Bar Cookies
  • Italian Pizzelles
  • Israeli Apricot Almond Rugalach
  • Israeli Apricot Almond Rugalach
  • Canadian Nanaimo Bars (no bake)
  • Egyptian Halwa Almawlid (Semsemiah)

Czechoslovakian Bar Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease one 8 inch square baking dish.
  2. Cream the butter until soft and fluffy. Add the white sugar gradually, until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks.
  3. Sift the cardamom, allspice and flour together. Gradually add it to the butter mixture and stir to combine well. Stir in the chopped pecans.
  4. Spoon 1/2 of the dough into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Top with strawberry jam and cover with the remaining dough.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 1 hour or until lightly browned. Cool then cut into 1 1/2 inch sized squares.

Italian Pizzelles

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • For chocolate pizzelles, add 1/4 cup cocoa sifted together with flour and baking powder, 1/4 cup more sugar and 1/4 teaspoon more baking powder. I find that for the chocolate mixture, the iron must be well oiled to start and then brush on more as needed.
  1. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thick. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla.
  2. Sift together the flour and baking powder, and blend into the batter until smooth.
  3. Heat the pizzelle iron, and brush with oil. Drop about one tablespoon of batter onto each circle on the iron. You may need to experiment with the amount of batter and baking time depending on the iron.
  4. Bake for 20 to 45 seconds, or until steam is no longer coming out of the iron.
  5. Carefully remove cookies from the iron. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Israeli Apricot Almond Rugalach

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cold
  • 3/4 cup apricot jam
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup toasted and chopped almonds
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
  1. To Make Pastry: Place the flour in a bowl. Cut the butter into the flour and blend until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Cut the cream cheese into small cubes and rub into the flour-butter mixture. Knead until the dough forms a ball. Cut dough in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  2. To Make Filling: Stir the apricot jam until it is spreadable. In a bowl combine the sugar with the chopped nuts and grated lemon peel.
  3. To Assemble: On a lightly floured surface roll out each half of dough. The larger and thinner the circle the crisper the cookies will be. Each circle should be at least 9 inches in diameter. Spread each circle with jam and sprinkle with the almond mixture.
  4. Cut each circle into twelve wedges. Roll each wedge up tightly from the outside edges. Turn edges slightly to form a crescent. Place crescents on a parchment lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Repeat until all cookies are shaped.
  5. Beat egg and brush cookies with beaten egg. Sprinkle with nuts.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake cookies for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Let cookies cool on wire racks then dust with sifted confectioners’ sugar.

Canadian Nanaimo Bars (no bake)


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate filled cookies such as Oreos

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil/li>
  1. Line a 9×9-inch square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place 1/2 cup of butter into the top half of a double boiler, and melt over simmering water. Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder until the mixture is smooth and the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the beaten egg and gently cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute.
  3. Remove the double boiler top from the heat, and stir in the cookie crumbs until well mixed.
  4. Press the crust into the prepared dish, and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes.
  5. In a mixing bowl, beat together 1/2 cup of butter with the vanilla pudding powder and cream with an electric mixer until the mixture is fluffy. Slowly beat in the confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until the mixture is very creamy and pale yellow, about 2 minutes.
  6. Spread the filling over the crust, and return to the refrigerator for at least 30 more minutes.
  7. For the topping, melt chocolate chips with vegetable oil in the top of a double boiler over hot water, and stir until the mixture is very smooth. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly. Then pour over the vanilla layer. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate over the vanilla layer.
  8. Place the dish in the refrigerator to cool until the chocolate loses its gloss but is not completely hard, about 30 minutes.
  9. With a sharp knife, cut into 5 rows by 5 rows (25 squares), return to refrigerator, and chill at least 15 minutes to overnight. Serve cold.

Egyptian Halwa Almawlid (Semsemiah)

  • 1/2 cup roasted sesame seeds
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • A little cold water
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Plastic wrap to cover
  1. Lightly roast the sesame seeds.
  2. Put the sugar in a pot, then, add the water on a low heat. Stir until the sugar melts.
  3. Add the lemon juice and the roosted sesame seeds. Stir on a low heat.
  4. Place oil on a cutting board. Put the hot dough on the oiled board.
  5. Roll the hot dough to one centimeter thick.
  6. Cool the dough on the cutting board until it is warm.
  7. Cut the warm dough into different shapes with a cookie cutter.
  8. Cover the shapes with plastic wrap.
  9. Put the covered Halwa into an air tight container (box).