Happy 2nd Advent everyone. I hope you had time to cherish this Christmas season, baking tons of cookies, drinking hot chocolate and snuggling in front of the fire place. Unfortunately, my Christmas market/cookies/hot chocolate-intake has been far too low so far, so I´m spending this weekend at home, trying to squeeze 4 weeks of Christmas season into 72 hours. Halleluja!
I get overly excited during Christmas season. It´s like the child in me is running free and I feel like I absolutely need to bake Christmas treats. Or listen to Christmas music nonstop, preferably the ones I loved during childhood. And if it were to snow again, I would be the first to get the sled out of the basement. Yes, I know, Christmas is stressful and cold and basically a feast for capitalism, but I refuse to see it that way. Instead I admire the Christmas lights in the city, the smell of freshly baked cookies and look forward to spend time with the people close to me.
Today´s recipe is one of my grandma´s classics. Every year, we would get a batch of homemade cookies and I would always try to get as much Spitzbuben, Zimtsterne and Haselnussmakronen as possible. Fortunately, we all have different taste in my family, so there wasn’t that much fighting over who gets the best cookies. Haselnussmakronen are soft and tender cookies made with ground hazelnuts and egg whites. It might be a little tricky to get the right shape because the batter is very sticky but this shouldn´t keep you off making these, because they are absolutely delicious!
Makes 2 batches:
160 g egg whites (about 5 eggs, medium size)
500 g confectioners’ sugar
450 g ground hazelnuts
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
Hazelnuts for topping
1) Preheat the oven to 140°C. Beat egg whites until stiff. Add confectioners’ sugar and keep beating until creamy. Take off 5 tablespoons of the mixture and place in the fridge. Gently fold in hazelnuts and vanilla extract into the remaining mixture.
2) With damp hands, form little balls. Gently press the end of the wooden spoon into each ball, so you get a small recess. Take the egg-whites-confectioners-sugar-mixture out of the fridge and carefully fill each recess with half a tablespoon of the mixture. Add one hazelnut each and bake the cookies for 15 minutes. They will be very soft once you take them out, but they harden a little bit while cooling. Don´t bake for too long, or they´ll turn out hard.