Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Baking (and a recipe!)

We've been doing all sorts of baking and prepping around here. From the classic german Hazelnut balls to the new addition of some peppermint bark this year, the kitchen has been full of working hands and delicious sweets. Zosia is the family sampler, who, despite initially being horrified by the fact that anyone would crush perfectly good candy canes for any purpose whatsoever, decided that peppermint bark is a good thing. All the girls happily placed nuts in my hazelnut balls, sometimes two per cookie, but who's counting?

And Lily quite simply came up to the table when all the goodies were packed into jars, gathered as many jars as possible close to her little self, and declared, "Mine."

Just in case you have a few spare moments between now and Christmas, here is our family Hazelnut ball recipe, passed down through many generations of German women on Ben's side. You know they're genuine because there is no real flour, only nut flour (which I ordered here, because we don't have a nut grinder at home) AND the measurements are in grams. The result is quite tasty-- chewy and sweet, and nice and filling because of all of those nuts!

Hazelnut balls

Yield: 80 balls

  • 80 whole nuts
  • 550 grams hazelnuts, ground (about 4 1/2 cups ground)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 500 grams powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
  • 2 vanilla extract
  • 4 egg whites, slightly beaten
Mix in order given, except for whole nuts. Use hands to mix. If too sticky use more nut flour. Divide dough into 8 pieces. Make each piece into a roll, and cut into 10 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Press the whole nut into the center of the cookie, one per cookie.

Prepare cookie sheets with bees wax candles (rubbing them), paraffin, or baking parchment.

Bake at 325 for 20-23 minutes.


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