Last weekend I realized that it was only just about four more weeks until Christmas! It is not even really December yet and does not feel like pre-Christmas-time at all! Never mind. Pre-Christmas time means baking, so off to the kitchen I headed.
Each year I start my Christmas-baking with Nut Wedges. This has become something of a tradition. Nut Wedges are ideal, as with one baking session I will get a big tin of cookies. This immediately gives me the feeling of having achieved something, and also of having a bit of a stock of cookies. Nut Wedges are also my son´s favorites – another reason to start my baking with them!
The list of cookies I want to bake this year is a long one! “Linzer Augen“, „Linzer Stangen“, Vanilla Crescents, Heart-Shaped Cookies with Rose Hip Jam, Star-Shaped Cinnamon Cookies, Caramelized Nuts in Chocolate, Coconut Wedges, Nut Cookies with Marzipan, and more… Let´s see how far I´ll get!
The recipe for these Nut Wedges is ancient – it is from a TV magazine from the late 80s or early 90s, I do not really remember. Nut Wedges were among the first Christmas cookies I ever made. As back then I was just getting started with baking, I found the recipe challenging, especially as there was a mistake with the measurements. Meanwhile I know how to make these cookies fast and without problems, and I have corrected the measurement-mistake long ago.
I always bake Nut Wedges according to this recipe, as I know it will work!
Short pastry / Dough:
2 cups (250 g) flour or whole wheat flour
⅓ cup (70 g) brown sugar
1 stick (125 g) butter
1 pinch of salt
½ jar of apricot jam (or another jam you like, e.g. strawberry)
3 cups (300 g) ground hazelnuts
1 stick (125 g) butter
½ cup (100 g) brown sugar
3 tbsp. water
8.8 oz. (250 g) dark chocolate, lactose-free
⅓-½ cup (80 g-100 g) butter
Short pastry / dough:
Cover a baking sheet with baking paper.
Preheat the oven to 400 ° F (200° C).
Put flour, sugar and salt onto the work surface. Cut the cold butter into small cubes. Add egg and butter to the flour mixture. With your hands, quickly knead to a dough. If possible, let the dough rest in the fridge/a cool place for half an hour.
Alternatively use a kitchen machine:
Knead the ingredients with a dough hook until you get a firm dough. I mostly use this method when making short pastry. It is fast and works well. It also keeps my hands clean!
Roll the dough into a rectangle of about 8×12 inches (20×30 cm). You can do so either directly on the baking sheet (covered with baking paper), or on a sheet of baking paper which you then transfer to the baking sheet together with the dough. Put a baking frame around the dough so you can spread the topping right to the edge.
Evenly spread the apricot jam on the dough.
For the topping, cut the butter into small pieces. Put butter, sugar and water into a small pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the oven and stir in the ground hazelnuts. Allow the mixture to cool.
Evenly spoon the hazelnut mixture over the jam. Spread with a knife or a pastry spatula and press down a little (using your hands helps!).
Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cut into small triangles while still warm. You do not have to separate the triangles yet.
Let the triangles cool on the sheet.
For the chocolate glazing, cut (or break) chocolate and butter into small pieces. Put chocolate and butter in a small pot and melt in a double boiler, or at low heat on the oven. Stir well. If the glazing is runny, add more chocolate. If it is not runny enough, add more butter.
Dip the Nut Wedges into the chocolate glazing and let them cool on a cooling rack.
Keep in an airtight cookie tin.