Holiday treats with Kim Galeaz: Cookies from around the world

Recipes

The holidays are a time of indulgence and family traditions.

Baking is something millions of families do together, and sugar and chocolate chip cookies are definitely the most popular treats around. If you want to travel outside of your comfort zone and try something with some international flair, Kim Galeaz is here to help!

The registered dietitian has some cookie recipes from around the world.

Danish Butter Cookies

Cookies:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Vanilla bean seeds, scraped from ½ of a vanilla bean (about a 4-inch piece)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Drizzle:

  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 6 ounces white chocolate chips or chunks

In a large mixer bowl with paddle attachment on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and somewhat fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add vanilla bean seeds, vanilla paste and almond extract and beat until thoroughly blended. On low speed, gradually beat in flour, blending and mixing just until incorporated. (Avoid over-beating). Divide cookie dough in half. Shape each half into an 8-inch log. Wrap each log in waxed paper or plastic wrap and place in zippered freezer bag. Refrigerate to chill about 2 hours or until dough is firm enough to slice. (Can be refrigerated overnight or several days.)

Heat oven to 375⁰F. Cut logs into ¼-inch slices. Place 2-inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, just until cookies barely begin to brown on edges and bottom. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute then transfer to wire cooling racks to cool completely.

To make drizzle, melt semisweet and white chocolate in separate double boilers on stove-top or in microwave safe bowls. Stir frequently until thoroughly blended and smooth. Drizzle a little over cookies using a thin icing spatula. Once icing hardens on cookies, store in layers in tightly covered containers. Use wax or parchment paper in between layers. Makes about 46 – 48 cookies.

Rugelach

Dough:

  • 1 package (8 ounces) Kroger cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1 1/3 cups finely chopped toasted walnuts
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Saigon cinnamon
  • ½ to ¾ cup seedless raspberry jam

Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg and 1 tablespoon whole milk, beaten together with fork in small bowl

PLUS: Raw sugar, for sprinkling

Make dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter on medium until well blended and light. Add sugar, vanilla and salt and beat at medium just until combined. With mixer on low, add flour gradually and mix just until combined and incorporated. Place dough on a well-floured board and roll lightly into a ball. Cut into 4 equal pieces, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and place all pieces in a zippered freezer bag. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to three days.

Make filling: Place walnuts, raisins, sugars and cinnamon in large food processor bowl. Pulse and process until all ingredients are very fine pieces, but not “pasty” and forming a thick mixture. You want it to be fine crumbly. Store in tightly covered container until ready to use.

Take one dough ball out at a time (keep others refrigerated) and on a lightly floured surface, roll out to a 9-inch circle. Spread 2 tablespoons (maximum) raspberry jam on circle to the edges. Sprinkle with ½ cup packed filling mixture. Press lightly into jam-covered circle. Using a pizza cutter, cut circle into quarters, then each quarter into thirds. Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush every rugelach with egg wash, then sprinkle with plenty of raw sugar. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350⁰F when it’s nearly time to bake. Bake cookies 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on tops and edges. Remove cookies immediately to wire cooling racks. Store in tightly covered containers between layers of parchment paper. Makes 48 cookies.

Italian Ricotta Cookies

Cookies:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 container (16 oz.) whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt

Lemon frosting:

  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk

PLUS: Sprinkles, nonpareils and/or colored sugar for topping

In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high to high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add ricotta cheese, eggs, vanilla and lemon zest, beating at medium just until well blended. On low speed, beat in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt just until everything is thoroughly blended. Refrigerate dough in covered container for at least 2 hours or up to 5 days.

Heat oven to 350⁰F. With a 2 teaspoon size (#60) scoop, drop dough about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 9-10 minutes, or just until cookies are very pale golden brown on bottom. They will be soft. Cool on cookie sheet just a minute then remove to wire cooling racks to thoroughly cool. (Keep dough in refrigerator until scooping on cookie sheets).

Make lemon frosting in a large bowl by whisking/stirring powdered sugar with lemon juice and milk until smooth and thoroughly blended. Adjust juice, milk or powdered sugar if you need frosting to be thinner or thicker so it spreads well but doesn’t smash cookie. Spread glaze over each cooled cookie and sprinkle immediately with nonpareils or sugars. Let cookies sit on wire racks until icing is hardened. Store in covered containers between layers of parchment or wax paper, in cool, dry place 3 to 4 days. Makes about 92 cookies.

Chai Spiced Ginger Cookies

Cookies:

  • 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour (weigh for best results, 562 grams)
  • 4 to 4 ½ teaspoons homemade Chai Spice Mix (recipe below)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup molasses (unsulphured)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup to ¾ cup finely diced crystallized ginger
  • Private Selection Turbinado Raw Sugar for rolling

Chai spice mix:

  • 3 tablespoons cardamom
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground Saigon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a small bowl, whisk all homemade Chai Spices together and set aside. You will have extra after using amount needed in cookie dough. Store leftovers in a tightly covered container at room temperature.

Heat oven to 350⁰F. Weigh all-purpose flour for best results with these cookies, 562 grams total.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 4 to 4 ½ teaspoon Chai Spice Mix, baking soda, ginger and salt. Set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar and vanilla at medium speed until light and somewhat “fluffy,” about 3 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl frequently. Add molasses, eggs and crystallized ginger and beat just until thoroughly blended. Add flour mixture to butter-sugar mixture gradually, mixing on low speed, just until well blended. Using a 1 ½ tablespoon size scoop, scoop dough, and roll in raw sugar forming a ball. Place each ball on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake about 10 – 11 minutes, or until tops are cracked. (They will harden as they cool). Cool on cookie sheet just a minute, then remove cookies to wire cooling racks. Store in tightly covered containers. Makes about 46 cookies.

All recipes by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist, Kim Galeaz, RDN LD with inspiration from many other online bakers.

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