Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Baking

This Sunday is the cookie exchange I go to every year with a group of my good friends. We have fun getting together for some good food (and cookies), good cheer, and good company. And it's just nice to take some time to sit back and relax during the hectic holiday season. We just had a huge amount of snow dumped on us, so I hope that doesn't put a damper on the festivities. Living here in the Midwest, parties and get-togethers planned for this time of the year are often a bit tentative due to our winter weather. If you're like my DH, you will drive through any kind of weather. I, on the other hand, am a little more cautious and driving in slippery ice and snow is not exactly my idea of a good time. Usually by the time I get to my destination, I have to literally peel my hands off the steering wheel, as they seem almost fused to it due to the stressful journey.

Anyway, due to the recent snowfall I thought it was a good morning to bake the cookies for the party. I decided to make my Norwegian Grandmother's Muerbe Cookies. This is a butter cookie recipe which originated from The Settlement Cookbook (The Way to a Man's Heart) by Lizzie Black Kanders. Lizzie taught cooking classes for immigrant girls at The Settlement House in Milwaukee around the turn of the century. After noticing that the girls spent quite a bit of time copying the recipes she wrote on the chalkboard, Lizzie decided to publish them in book form to help raise money. And after all these years the book, which was originally published in 1901, is still helping to raise money for charities. This cookbook was a staple in many of our mother's and grandmother's kitchens. I still have my mother's copy of the book and cherish both the memories it holds, as well as the recipes and household tips written inside of it.

Muerbe (Basic Butter Cookies)
1 lb butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
6 cups flour
2 Tbls brandy
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup almonds, finely chopped

Cream butter and sugar. Slightly beat egg yolks with fork and add to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix well. Add brandy and flour combined with the baking powder. Chill dough for several hours, then roll out on a lightly floured surface. Cut cookies with small round biscuit cutter and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Beat egg whites slightly with fork and brush on cookie tops. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and chopped almonds. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets immediately and cool completely on wire rack. Makes 10 dozen cookies.



Anonymous said...

Yummy! Love cookies.

I totally can relate to the winter driving scenario. Don't enjoy driving in the snow. Currently we just had a deep snowfall and freezing temperatures. Glad to be indoors.

Your blog is lovely. Thank you for the wonderful comment you left on my blog.

Hope you have a nice weekend!


Twyla and Lindsey said...

Butter cookies are my favorites. This recipe is a little different from mine, so I can't wait to try yours! Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas, Twyla

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