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It is baking time again.

It’s the time of year that the oven sees lots of action – this year, it’s extra exciting as the new oven seems to have quite different ideas about temperatures than the old one had. Things turn out slightly… differently than I’m used to, with baking times for the cookies being significantly longer now. Seems like the old one tended to run a bit hot in the temperature range that is needed for cookies!

So, anyway, for your delight this year: Spitzbuben. These are a rather new addition to our assortment of Weihnachtsplätzchen, though they are a firm staple in German Xmas baking traditions, more or less all over Germany, though they do come under different names. Apart from Spitzbuben (which would be rascals or rogues), they can be called Linzer Augen, Linzer Plätzchen, or Hildabrötchen (literally: Hilda bread rolls). In the town where I grew up, something similar, only larger than a Plätzchen, was sold in the bakery close to my school under the moniker “Pfauenauge” (peacock’s eye, the one on the tail feather). Why those names? I have no clue at all. I can tell you, though, that these things are… delicious.

It’s a pastry dough, stuck together with red currant jelly, and traditionally  their shape is small and round with a peep-hole in the top layer, so you can see the jelly. Like this, for instance:

You might notice that there is both red and yellow stuff filling these. The yellow is apricot jam, because I happen to like that a lot as well.

So here you go, the recipe:

200 g butter
200 g flour
100 g powdered sugar
100 g almonds, peeled and ground fine
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla sugar

Beat the soft butter together with the sugar until fluffy, then beat in egg yolks. Mix in the remaining ingredients; the resulting dough is very soft and sticky and will need cooling for minimum of one hour.

Roll the dough to a thickness of about 2 mm, and cut out cookies. If you want to do the traditional German thing, they are circles, half of them with a hole in the middle (here you can get special cookie cutters with integrated hole-cutting-thing and even with a stamper to throw out the cookie, and of course with different shapes for the holes).

Bake in a fan oven for about 8-10 min at 160°C. After the cookies have cooled, spread jam on the complete circles and cover with the circles with a hole. The traditional stuff for this is, as stated above, red currant jelly (not jam!).

Makes about 70 cookies, so it’s enough to try out both kinds of filling!

The other seasonal recipes that I blogged in the past are:

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