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Don’t Bake These Cookies

lekvar cookies
Are you a little crazed right now, rushing to finish everything before Christmas eve? You know –  decorating the house, shopping for gifts, wrapping presents, planning the feast for Christmas eve or Christmas day, and baking cookies too? Take a deep breath ….. and don’t bake these cookies.
sweet taralli cookies
 I’m posting these recipes because they’re part of my childhood cookie archive and I wanted to make sure I have the recipe written down for the future. But guess what? I’m not making them this year. These photos are from last Christmas. This year, I’m skipping them – not because I don’t love them, but because I need to schedule in some time to just relax. I baked dozens of other cookies earlier in the month for a party we held for my dad’s 90th birthday and I’m calling it quits on the cookie front.


I want to be in a state to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, not collapse and rejoice that they’re over.
I hope you manage to carve out a little time for yourself too amid the hustle and bustle of preparing for the holidays. So bake these cookies or any of your own favorites if you’ve got extra energy, or the spirit moves you, but if you need a little time to decompress –  go get a massage (as I’m doing tomorrow), attend a concert (ditto) or have coffee with neighbors (double-ditto).
Lekvar Cookies
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 jar lekvar (prune filling) or any other kind of jam you prefer
Mix everything in a mixer and roll into a disk shape. Chill for at least one hour. Roll out 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares. Fill each square with a small spoonful of lekvar. Starting from a one of the four points of the square, fold over two sides toward the center. Moisten with a little water to help the dough stick together. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 – 14 minutes. When cool, dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Sweet Taralli
5 1/2 cups flour, plus more for working the dough
1 1/2 T. baking powder
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 T. vanilla
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
4 T. water
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 t. vanilla extract
multicolor sprinkles for decoration, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the flour and baking powder, mixing well. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in the sugar, butter and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour mixture. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly to mix. Separate into four pieces. With each of the four pieces, roll into a log about 16 inches long. Cut off small pieces about one inch long and roll those until they’re about six or seven inches long. Bring the two ends together and pinch them to hold in the shape of a circle. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes until the taralli and puffed and golden brown on the bottom. They will remain pale on top.
Cool on a baking rack, then combine all the ingredients for the icing in a bowl and spread over the cookies, using sprinkles to decorate.